Irish shoppers set to print €40m on Black Friday spree

The effects of Brexit, tax changes and global supply chain issues have given Irish retailers a chance to win new customers and more spending remains local throughout the Black Friday/Cyber ​​Monday period, according to retail groups.

Around €40 million will be spent by Irish consumers on Friday alone, according to research by AIB, with this weekend now the start of the Christmas season for many stores and shoppers.

While the deep discount at the end of November is being resisted by some smaller operations, others have embraced it and are hoping it will be the launchpad for a solid Christmas.

“I think the general view is that this is the first big weekend of the Christmas period and it’s being used as a footfall driver in these more difficult times,” said Duncan Graham, chief executive of Retail Excellence.

He said he understands why some small independent retailers have resisted going so close to Christmas, but added that for others it has become a necessity.

“There have been mixed views,” he said. “In some cases it may be a matter of wanting to keep the margin for as long as possible otherwise it becomes a short season.”

He said the optimism he had seen in the retail sector at the beginning of the month had waned in recent weeks as the trajectory of Covid-19 further accelerated.

“There is a bit of restlessness and concern over what could happen in the retail sector and a lot will depend on the path of the virus,” he said.

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Bridged O’Connell of Guaranteed Irish said Black Friday should be seen as an opportunity for retailers to push locally sourced products.

“We are asking all stores to stock more Irish suppliers,” she said. “Support for local stores only goes further if all of the store’s goods come from China.”

He called on consumers to look to Irish-made products this weekend. “If you are buying a candle, I would really like to see people buy Irish luxury candles . . . and if we can all spend an extra €20 or €50 on an Irish product this year the money will stay in the country and Will make a big difference in the local economy.

Joan (sic) Mahone is going on Black Friday this year. They have two retail outlets in Kildare and their digital footprint is growing rapidly.

“Many people spend a lot of time doing research ahead of time and I think you have more eyes on your business as a result,” she said.

“I embraced Black Friday early and I could really see the impact,” she continued. “Every year it has increased and if done properly it can generate a long term custom but most people will not come back again unless they are properly encouraged to do so.”

She said she had seen a jump in business since the start of the pandemic as more people shopped locally and this continued this year as well. “I haven’t seen a drop off since April of last year. People want to support the Irish and that’s fueled by Brexit.”

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