Can Black Friday save retail?

The biggest shopping day of the year could increase low retail numbers.

Shoppers in a mall
Source: Bloomberg

Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year in the US and UK. Even though the annual event starts after the US holiday of Thanksgiving, the start of finding holiday bargains has spread across the pond to the UK. The occasion could make or break many retailers.

The importance of Black Friday

According to legend, the term comes from the one day of the year when retailers should make most of their profits and be ‘in the black’, US slang for profitable. Black Friday is usually the best time of the year to shop and get lower prices on electronics, clothes, and toys.

How US and UK retail hope to rebound on Black Friday

US retailers have struggled this year to attract shoppers. Many chains are closing locations because of declining sales, like Sears. Even successful corporations like Target and Macy's have seen their stocks fall. Their third quarter (Q3) reports were profitable, but still disappointing to financial analysts.

UK businesses have suffered because of a mild autumn in which customers bought less expensive formalwear. The concern about Brexit is also causing people to spend less. UK shoppers have still been spending, but many have been buying holiday items early in November. Ian Geddes, Deloitte’s head of retail, expects a sales surge for Black Friday.

‘We expect this year's Black Friday to generate record levels of UK spending, which will likely boost November's retail figures overall’, said Geddes.

Many corporations are trying to compete with Amazon, the online giant that is cutting the revenue of many brick-and-mortar businesses. They’re competing with the online company by increasing their online sales promotions , deepening discounts on the latest video game consoles and TV’s, and promising customers same-day delivery of items. Retailers on both sides of the Atlantic hope that consumers will shop in stores and online to give them a happy start to the holiday shopping season.

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