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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Time to end the big Black Friday con trick

What is most tragic of all is that many retailers despise it. The former boss of fashion chain Jigsaw, Peter Ruis, once branded Black Friday as “a complete and utter deception”. 

Ex-Fat Face chief Anthony Thompson loathed it too. “Bad for customers, bad for business, and bad for UK retail” was his colourful description, accusing it of ruining the high street and hurting local traders. 

For years, giants like Next and Ikea shunned it out of principle and basic commercial logic. The main gripe is usually that genuine deals trash margins. 

Marks & Spencer boss Steve Rowe complains that it means stores have fewer customers over the Christmas period because many now do their festive shopping during that one hectic window.

Yet many chains feel compelled to join in. Perhaps some will be tempted this time around out of sheer desperation. 

With many warning of goods shortages and spiralling prices, fears are mounting that this Christmas will be another wash out after last year’s celebrations were effectively cancelled by a Prime Minister playing catch up with the virus yet again.

But surely that’s precisely the reason to avoid it. The last thing Covid-trashed retailers need is to pile further pressure on strained suppliers for demand to suddenly collapse again days later. 

The right thing to do for everyone would be to scrap Black Friday for good and return to the calmer, more sensible, more civilised traditional Christmas sales. Yet, there’s a sense that the industry has created a monster it can no longer control.

Still, look on the bright side: Morrisons is doing half-price full English breakfasts, because nothing says “Seasons Greetings” like being rushed to A&E after a cholesterol-induced heart attack. 

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