What do Suffolk retailers really think of Black Friday?

All shops can open again next week. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk businesses share their thoughts around the Black Friday shopping phenomenon. - Credit: Archant

With Black Friday right around the corner, Suffolk's independent businesses have been speaking out on the effects that this time of year brings. 

While large companies are able to offer huge discounts independents often do not have the capabilities to compete with their prices. 

John Manning, from The House in Town, Ipswich said: "It's just another concept allowing marketing companies to make a fortune. In an ideal world a happy band of shoppers would head to great shops on a regular basis, not just when there is a 'sale' on. 

"I see so many places that inflate their prices, only to lower them to a sensible rate during the 'sale'." 

Cathy Frost, owner of Loveone, an independent gift shop in Ipswich, said: " Black Friday is an event that I have never subscribed to - it is an import that I really dislike.

"As a small business I cannot compete or offer the discounts that some large corporations offer - the money I make in the run up to Christmas helps me weather the lean months of January and February."

Cathy Frost, owner of Loveone outside her shop in Ipswich.

Loveone owner, Cathy Frost, says her business "cannot compete" with the discounts and offers that large corporations introduce during Black Friday. - Credit: Adrianna Keczmerska / Loveone

However, this year Mrs Frost believes that local people are changing their usual Black Friday routines. 

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"In previous years I have noticed shoppers hold back in purchasing until BF (Black Friday) has happened- and then start Christmas shopping," she said; "This year however we have seen more support though, I think the shop local message is gaining some real traction."

Another issue which local businesses have had to deal with is supply chain problems, forcing some into a change of strategy.

Jill Barrett, from Barretts of Woodbridge, said: "As well as the driver shortages and issues sourcing raw materials, we’ve noticed many price rises and extra import charges. We’ve also experienced delays due to customs issues following Brexit."

"This year with the difficulties getting stock due to the pandemic and Brexit import issues, we decided not to hold an event but we do have many wonderful things to see in store nevertheless."

The integrity of Black Friday as a concept is something which independent businesses have also questioned.

The Barretts business owner added: "We’ve found in the past that the Black Friday offers in the larger chain stores only look good as a result of inflated prices prior to the day - we offer great prices all the year round and as members of a buying group can match their prices."

Mr Manning added: "If something can be sold at a lower price, then why not just sell it for the lower price anyway? In my opinion, sales are mostly a misleading con."

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