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Black Friday 2018: North West retailers ‘essentially giving away profits’

North West retailers are “essentially giving away profits” with significant price reductions around Black Friday.

That’s according to David Fox, head of retail agency North at Colliers International, who thinks shops should be operating at full margins in the run up to Christmas.

The annual retail happening has grown massively in popularity in recent years with UK shoppers shelling out £1.4 billon in 2017.

However, retail insight firm Springboard has forecast that this Black Friday will do “very little” to help the high street – anticipating footfall will drop by 3.7% year-on-year compared to the same day 12 months ago.

Speaking ahead of Black Friday 2018, Colliers’ Fox says: “Offering significant price reductions in what should be the prime pre-Christmas trading period can cause in-store stock shortages, returns issues and margin erosion at a critical time in the retail calendar.

“During a period in the year when North West retailers should be operating at full margins, they are essentially giving away profits in order to compete for a higher share of consumer spending.

“As Black Friday turns from a one-day promotion into an extended event, this issue will only continue to worsen.”

Colliers’ David Fox

Jonathan Thompson, director of retail & leisure agency for Lambert Smith Hampton in Manchester, believes Black Friday is just part of a growing trend for experience-led shopping.

Thompson says: “With the continued UK boom in online shopping, the North West’s high streets and shopping centres are increasingly turning their attentions to creating stand-out memorable retail experiences that extend well beyond the act of purchasing in a bid to compete.

“Black Friday is, in many ways, driving innovation in the bricks and mortar retail environment as destinations like intu Trafford Centre, Liverpool ONE and Manchester Arndale show how entertainment, events and shopping previews can be combined to create personal and memorable shopping experiences.”

The Derwent Group’s Liverpool Shopping Park

Hugo Clark, group property managing director at The Derwent Group, which has over 1.7 million sq ft retail and leisure space – primarily in the North of England, adds: “Done well, Black Friday represents a major opportunity for retailers and shoppers alike. The retail winners are typically those who can match competitive pricing and efficient supply chains to convenience.

“In this respect, operators with extensive representation on retail parks stand at a distinct advantage at this time of year enabling customers to collect their purchases at a time that suits them with the benefits of free parking, adjacent complementary retailers and a good leisure experience to round off the trip.”