28 November 2018, 08:23 AM
  • Speciality food and drink shop owners increased discounting by 66 per cent but revenues stalled, states report
Black Friday a bust for independent food and drink retailers

Data from retail management platform Vend shows that despite increasing discounting by 66 per cent, in-store spending for independent speciality food and drink retailers over the Black Friday shopping period remained the same as an average week.

Vend, which provides point-of-sale systems to thousands of UK-based small-to-medium and independent retail stores, notes that Black Friday provides a significant spike in the retail calendar. When looking at the Black Friday period (24th-27th November), spending increased by 28 per cent compared to the previous weeks.

According to Vend’s data, while the speciality food and drink retailers that took part in Black Friday did not experience rises in revenue, that was not the case for other categories. The data, which compares discounts and sales during the Black Friday period compared to an average week, shows that fashion and apparel shops saw the biggest increase in sales (55 per cent sales increase; 480 per cent discounting increase), while the health and beauty (50 per cent sales increase; 566 per cent discounting interest), home, lifestyle and gifts (34 per cent sales increase; 64 per cent discounting increase) and sports, hobbies and toys (11 per cent sales increase; 102 per cent discounting increase) categories all fared well, too.

Despite the huge amount of publicity the event receives, this year saw many independent retail stores take a stand against Black Friday, opting out of promotional activities and the pressures it places on margins.

Higor Torchia, UK country manager for Vend said, “Heavy discounting can be really tough for independent retailers with smaller margins, especially as we head into the most important trading period of the year. And these retailers have so much more to offer with their unique, cherishable products, compared to some of the bigger stores that can push prices low. But we’ve also seen a 62 per cent increase in discounting overall compared to the rest of October and November. So many smaller retailers are still dropping prices to try and capture footfall over the Black Friday weekend.

“Though something our data shows very clearly is that big discounts don’t necessarily equal big sales. Which means that other than a marketing exercise, it really might not be that beneficial for smaller stores to be trying to compete on price.”

By city, Bristol and London appeared to see the biggest increases in sales over the Black Friday sales period, with sales increasing by 14 per cent and 13 per cent respectively, compared to previous weeks. Sales in Brighton also increased by 8 per cent and Edinburgh by 4 per cent, while in Manchester there was no change.

Vend’s data also found a slight increase in shoppers paying by credit card this year compared to last. This Black Friday, 48 per cent of sales were taken in cash, with 27 per cent were on credit card, whereas in 2017 this figure was 54 per cent in cash and 24 per cent on credit.