The retailer famed for helping introduce the US holiday sales event to the UK is scaling back its participation this year. WGSN Senior Editor Petah Marian reports
Two years after the launch of Black Friday in the UK, is the death knell for the shopping event already being sounded?
Retailers have spent the last year fretting about whether Black Friday adds value to the holiday shopping season, and how to manage the logistics of this with the spike in demand, while also maintaining margins.
But, the chief executive of the supermarket that helped to introduce Black Friday to the UK has decided to scale back its participation in the shopping event after the promotional frenzy caused fights in stores last year.
The supermarket chain said customers were fed up with quick sales on pricy, non-essential items such as TVs. Instead of cramming discounts into the 27 November, Asda said it would cut prices by a total of £26m on toys, gifts, food, drink and household items over several weeks in the run up to Christmas.
Asda president and CEO Andy Clarke said: “The decision to step away from Black Friday is not about the event itself. Over the last two years we’ve developed an organised, well-executed plan, but this year customers have told us loud and clear that they don’t want to be held hostage to a day or two of sales. With an ever changing retail landscape, now more than ever we must listen carefully to exactly what our shoppers want and be primed and ready to act the minute their needs change.”
“When it comes to putting customers first, Asda has always led the way, which is why we’re just as confident in our decision to step away from Black Friday as we were in introducing it to the UK.”
Meanwhile, Tesco, Argos, Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Boots and Amazon are set to offer special promotions on Black Friday.
Amazon plans to offer a week of offers, while Tesco plans to go ahead, stating that it was “incredibly popular” last year. Sainsbury’s said it will take a “very moderate” approach to the shopping event.
STAY UP TO DATE: You want the need-to-know news, right? Our journalists deliver a daily curation of the most important industry happenings. Sound good? Join WGSN.