Representing cookshop and housewares stockists among its members, The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) has revealed that over 85% of its traders will not be participating in the Black Friday Sales.
“From our research, around 85% of independent retailers are not participating in Black Friday, which is higher than ever before. We have always known that independents don’t see much value in this event,” states Andrew Goodacre, ceo of Bira. He elaborated: “The main reasons for them not wanting to take part in this, is because they either don’t agree with this idea, there are higher prices, and there is also insufficient volume to make the large discounting work. They also need to preserve their margins. This coupled with many of our independents experiencing supply chain issues, this has proved to be a real challenge.”
Andrew acknowledges: “Christmas is going to be an incredibly important season for independent retailers. The retail sales data for October showed a promising increase with online sales falling to 27% of total sales. This trend indicates that shoppers have returned to shopping on the high street as they start to prepare for the festive period.
“Despite these positive indicators, we remain concerned about rising costs for the smaller retailers and the problems in the supply chain that are impeding the independent retailer’s ability to meet consumer demand. This current trading period is the most important one for retail, and we need stronger sales in November and December to help retailers take on the many challenges that await them in 2022.”
Highlighting the ways in which independents have adapted through the pandemic (such as using social media and implementing click and collect), Andrew also points out the “unfair playing field between high street shops and online retailers.”
Andrew reflects: “I am pleased to say that indies are always resilient, and the latest ONS retail sales figures show that online penetration has fallen again and down to 27% (from a high of 59%). This is a sign that shops are fighting back and regaining the confidence of the consumer. However, more needs to be done by the government to enable the physical stores to continue to compete, and the best way would have been to completely reform business rates. Sadly, that well known problem has been kicked into the long grass yet again.”
Top: Bira says the majority of its members are not participating in Black Friday sales. Photo by Max Fischer.