Independent fashion retailers across the UK are increasingly split over the best strategy to deal with Black Friday.
Some are going bigger on the US-imported discounting day this year to try and get a head start on multiples and department stores, while others continue to resolutely avoid it.
Doncaster-based premium independent Robinsons of Bawtry launched some Black Friday promotions for existing customers last weekend, and will extend the offers to everyone on the day itself, 25 November.
“We want to get people through the door before the big guys take over,” explained its director, James Jones. “We don’t see that profit immediately on the day. We use Black Friday to bring people to the store, putting you on their radar for future spending.”
Deryane Tadd, owner of The Dressing Room in St Albans, Hertfordshire, said: “We have ramped up what we do in the past two years but we keep it contained. We also do something on Cyber Monday and try to tie both in with Christmas events.
“Black Friday is not going away, so you need to be a part of the noise. We will be running targeted promotions of gifting brands, just on Black Friday. We had considered the whole week but we are not about that.”
However, some independents still refuse to take part.
Menswear retailer Dartagnan in Chichester increases its social media activity around Black Friday, but does not discount.
“I hate the very concept,” owner Matt Horstead told Drapers. “Discounting devalues the industry and, for us small guys, it makes it impossible to compete.”
He said the past two Black Fridays were “incredibly busy”, but the following Monday and Tuesday were ”horrendous” as trade “completely dried up”.
Bruce McLaren, owner of plus-size indie Dalziel Kingsize Menswear in Woking, Surrey, said: “Starting to discount as early as Amazon [which launched its Black Friday Sale on 14 November] is ridiculous. Why sell good-quality in-season products at reduced prices? Black Friday should have stayed in America, like a lot of things. I will definitely not be taking part.”