Black Friday damages high-street sales, report shows

Black Friday damages high-street sales, report shows

Black Friday damages high street sales for weeks before the event, a report from KPMG has revealed.

Black Friday, a day roughly coinciding when many receive their last pay cheques before Christmas, has seen deep discounting online for the last few years in the UK after the 'event' began in the US, and took place this year on 25th November.

Overall sales over the period from 30th October to 26th November 2016 increased 0.6% on a like-for-like basis on November 2015, when they had decreased 0.4% from the preceding year; and rose 1.3% on a total basis, against a 0.7% increase in November 2015. 

However, in the three months running up to the November sales bonanza, while online sales grew 10.7%, in-store sales declined 0.8% on a total basis and 1.1% on a like-for-like basis.

Paul Martin, UK head of retail for KPMG, said Black Friday (25th November) deals will have "lured would-be shoppers away from the high street" in search of bargains online. He added: “The next month will be critical for retailers, providing one final push to improve and maintain sales figures against a backdrop of increasing costs and consumers’ insatiable appetite for discounts.”

Chief executive for the British Retail Consortium (BRC), Helen Dickinson OBE, called the overal 1.3% rise in sales for November "a pretty solid performance in what has been a challenging year for sales in the UK", but also commented on the shift in spending to online. 

“November plays host to Black Friday, which over the past few years has become one of the biggest shopping days of the year," she said. "This year’s event was expected to be the biggest yet, and our figures confirm that the week including Black Friday saw non-food sales up around 40% compared with the other weeks of the month. However, compared to last year there was more of a shift of spending from earlier in the month, with sales down on last year in the weeks prior to the 25th November.

“It wasn’t the same story for everyone. Retailers of goods that don’t traditionally benefit from the event, such as clothing, saw weaker Black Friday week sales this year, but made the most of the increased online traffic in the weeks building up to the 25th November by offering promotions to capture shoppers browsing for early bargains.

“Overall, consumer spending remains stable, although very much value-driven with a focus towards products on promotion as shoppers take advantage of the deals of the moment and retailers strive to offer the best choice and value to their customers. With an extra weekend to shop for Christmas this year, nerves will be tested in December as retailers choose their strategies to attract the last minute gift shoppers.”