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Asda’s Black Friday rejection ‘may spark revolt'

Retailers may follow Asda’s lead and step back from Black Friday promotions next year, industry observers have said.

The prediction follows Asda’s confirmation on Tuesday that it will not participate in the November 27 discounting day, citing “shopper fatigue”.

The supermarket said it had listened to feedback from customers and decided in invest £26m in delivering savings across the Christmas season, rather than flash Sales.

Anusha Couttigane, senior fashion consultant at retail research agency Conlumino, said it could spark a revolution.

“Asda’s move is quite surprising, but I don’t think it will miss out, as the reduction in sales will be made up by higher profitability. Black Friday is a big bugbear for retailers and next year we will see a lot more following Asda’s lead.

“Prices have already dropped, so marking them down further will really hit margins and retailers need to protect their bottom line.”

James Miller, senior retail consultant at Experian Marketing Services, agreed: “We may see other retailers follow Asda’s lead and look to regain control of the Christmas season. There is a chance the Black Friday phenomenon will fizzle out in the UK over time.

”However, we can’t forget it is also a major online sales day. I can’t see Amazon giving up on it, so maybe we’ll see it become more about online sales than offline in the future.

”I suspect most people would prefer to buy online than have a fight in a supermarket.”

This week, data from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG showed retailers suffered a slowdown in sales during October as shoppers began to hold out for Black Friday discounts.

While clothing did relatively well, driven by mid-season Sales, overall retail sales fell 0.2% compared with the same month last year.

From now until early 2016, Asda shoppers will see more offers in store and online on products including gifts, Christmas food and drink and household basics.

Asda president and chief executive 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.”






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