Multiples, department stores and etailers started the countdown to Black Friday early this year, with many launching week-long deals or different discounts every day in order to stagger orders and ease pressure on their supply chains.
Following a “logistics nightmare” in 2014, many retailers extended their Black Friday offers across the weekend last year. This year, some stretched the discounts out to a week or 10 days to spread out demand and ensure they can fulfil deliveries.
Others introduced “deal of the day” offers online to keep up interest and traffic to their websites in the run-up to Black Friday on 25 November.
River Island, Clarks and Shop Direct brands Littlewoods and Very offered different deals every day this week. Asos had 50% off cold weather styles, following a 50% off partywear deal last weekend.
Similarly, New Look offered 50% off selected lines this week following 40% off coats, knitwear and dresses last weekend, for online customers.
Amazon extended its Black Friday Sale period to 12 days this year, up from five in 2015.
Meanwhile, at the department stores, Debenhams launched 50% off selected styles on Monday, while House of Fraser’s Black Friday deals, including 50% off selected fashion lines, started on Wednesday and will run until Cyber Monday on 28 November.
Chris Harle, chief operating officer of ecommerce software provider PCA Predict and former CFO of discount etailer MandM Direct, said: “Most of the major players started their Sales last week to safeguard [their supply chains] and keep their customers happy.”
“In 2014, and to some extent in 2015, shoppers delayed their purchases, waiting for a deal on Black Friday. It meant the first three weeks of November were dead and on Black Friday websites crashed and logistics firms fell over as they couldn’t cope with the demand.”
Martin Newman, global chief executive of retail consultancy Practicology, agreed: “It’s a trend that started last year and more retailers are spreading the discounts this year, and for a longer period. We’ve seen a one- or two-day event turning into a one- or two-week one.
“It makes sense from a logistics point of view, but retailers are increasingly polarised, they are either in it for the long haul or they aren’t doing it at all this year.”
As was the case last year, the bulk of Black Friday shopping is expected to take place online this year, with footfall likely to drop by 2.8% compared to 2015, according to global retail intelligence specialist, ShopperTrak.
Steve Richardson, UK director at ShopperTrak, said the extended deals will contribute to the fall in shopper numbers on the high street this Friday as there is no sense of urgency for consumers.
“While we’ve seen lots of build-up to Black Friday, this year there is a marked shift. By spreading demand over a long period, these extension strategies remove the immediacy on customers to make a purchase on Black Friday itself, meaning the urgency to go into a physical store to secure a discounted item is lessened.”