Shop Local: How did Suffolk stores fare on Black Friday?

Coes said they had experienced good results so far from their first Balck Friday sale. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Coes said they had experienced good results so far from their first Balck Friday sale. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Ipswich-based Coes said it saw a Black Friday boost in online sales - but other independent retailers warn it is another area where online retail giants have an unfair advantage.

Antonio Bellini, owner of The Italian Shirt Shop in Ipswich Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Antonio Bellini, owner of The Italian Shirt Shop in Ipswich Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

The Norwich Road clothes store’s sales were “crazy” during the day, with orders even coming from overseas for its 20% discount deals.

Fiona Coe, marketing manager, said: “The sales have been really, really good. And I think people are taking advantage of our offer.

“And it’s not just local people, we’ve had quite a lot of national and international orders come through as well.

“This is the first time we’ve really done a Black Friday branded offer.

René van den Oort, owner of Beautiful Beers in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: GREGG BROWN

René van den Oort, owner of Beautiful Beers in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown


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“Before the lockdown came in we decided we were going to test it and see how it went, and it’s been a really good way of generating sales.

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“When you’re shut and limited to online trading only everyone likes an offer.

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“Obviously our online trading would have continued, but it’s been at a much higher rate because of the discount.”

Fiona Coe, marketing manager at Coes Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Fiona Coe, marketing manager at Coes Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Charlotte Bond

The offer runs until Cyber Monday, with loyal customers given early access so they could snap up the first bargains.

However, other independent retailers say the lockdown means they cannot take advantage of any Black Friday rush.

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Antonio Bellini, who runs The Italian Shirt Shop in St Peter’s Street, Ipswich, said: “Even with click and collect, it’s an impossible situation.

“I’d have to list about 1,000 shirts of which I’ve only got one or two in each size. It would just be a nightmare.”

Mr Bellini said he does not believe sales are a good idea in shops like his.

“Short-term discounts don’t work in small independents shops,” he said.

“It’s just not fair on your regulars who aren’t there on that day.

“I do special deals for my regulars, but these gimmicky kind of things are not for small independents.

“Amazon can reduce the price of something for a little while, but you wouldn’t get away with it in small shops.”

Rene van den Oort, who runs Beautiful Beers in St John’s Street, Bury St Edmunds, also said Black Friday does not apply to his store.

But, he added that he was still busy, as people bought more during lockdown.

He said: “It’s been busy for the last three weeks. It’s not quite as normal, but we just keep going.”

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