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Indies to boycott black Friday

Independent retailers across the UK are set to defy the black Friday sales for the third consecutive year, according to a survey by BIRA.

The survey has shown that 86% of independent retailers surveyed would not be participating in black Friday, a similar figure to three years ago, when 85% said they would not be taking part.

69% of those surveyed said that black Friday has a ‘negative impact’ on the high street and that 67% had not previously taken part in the event.

BIRA ran the survey to showcase the commitment of indies to stand against the black Friday tradition, citing concerns about the dominance of large and e-commerce retailers. The decision to boycott the event comes amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, and BIRA wanting to emphasise the importance of supporting local businesses and the broader economy.

Andrew Goodacre, ceo of BIRA, commented: “The results speak for themselves, that this has been consistent from our independent traders for the past three years, and no doubt will continue. It’s not about our shops lacking competitive pricing, but rather a strategic move to support the high street and foster economic growth for all.

“From an indie retail perspective, black Friday is seen as a big business, internet event. This makes it very hard for smaller retailers to compete, lacking the buying power of larger counterparts. In general, independent retailers do not see black Friday as an opportunity.”

Comments from some of the retailers taking part in the survey, included:

“Black Friday epitomises the poor retail management of the multiples and high street stores who feel the need to constantly discount, and in turn are looking for cheaper and poorer quality product to satisfy margin.”

“Black Friday has very negative connotations – we would rather celebrate great independent shops by promoting our independence of choice, and true savings, rather than blindly follow what is in effect an American important too far.”

“I would prefer to have a genuine early sale promotion in the shop to loyal and regular customers.”

Retailers said they would participate in other events including Colour Friday – launched by Holly Tucker, founder of notonthehighstreet.com – focused on celebrating the creativity and colour of small businesses.

BIRA also recently held a nationwide event called #LoveYourHighStreet to help champion local communities to support their high streets and support indies.

Andrew continued: “Our independent retailers really are the beating heart of Britain, as they can offer so much more than prices that seem low but perhaps aren’t as good a deal as they at first appear. Our traders can give an array of goods, from everyday essentials to unique, one-of-a-kind finds and we want people to support that.”

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