Is Black Friday going to save Christmas?

What is usually the most manic shopping day of the year didn’t turn out how it was expected. Cheltenham’s Black Friday was quite an underwhelming affair along the high street as shops remain closed.

Cheltenham high street stores have been baron following the UK’s most recent lockdown, and with Black Friday now spanning for three weeks, shoppers have been forced to shop online in time for Christmas.

Fast food restaurants are empty, bus stops… lifeless, Cheltenhams residents not to be seen. UK Fudge Co was one of the few stalls braving the weather today, throughout lockdown they have kept their business going and have found online retail a huge help to their sales.

“It’s been a bit tough, it’s not been as good as what we expect normally, we’ve done reasonably okay but we’ve relied heavily on online sales.”

The fudge company have found that their online presence has increased their sales significantly during the lockdown period and has brought them more customers than ever before.

“The figures from this year compared to last year for the online sales are up 250%, some are regular purchasers and some are just opportunist buyers”

Unmasked news correspondant Lucy-Ann Humphreys on Black Friday

Not only have small businesses been affected, Arcadia’s Topshop is on the brink of collapse following the pandemic, putting 13,000 jobs at risk. In an interview with the BBC Arcadia said they “would be the biggest British corporate collapse of the pandemic if it does enter voluntary liquidation”

Major shops across Cheltenham are taking part across the high street yet havent recieved the response they were expecting. With the UK in national lockdown until the 2nd December, stores across the county are seeing a short influx of buyers, yet with black friday deals lasting after the original date, maybe shoppers will start to appear come the end of lockdown.

NEW YORK, USA – NOVEMBER 28: People shop during the Black Friday, an informal name for the Friday following Thanksgiving Day, at the Best Buy in New York, United States on November 28, 2019. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Originating from the US regarding retailers recording of profits, (black being positive earnings and red indicating a loss) black friday has increasingly become more popular in recent years, along with its online twin ‘cyber monday’ sweeping up afterwards.

Since the 50s, the fourth friday of November each year has become a shoppers dream, to snatch a deal at very little cost, but surely this can’t be the only day for bagain hunting? Following COVID-19 perhaps this black friday has been the savior for many families. Chrsitmas is just around the corner and for those on furlough and businesses not being able to claim loss of income on their insurance, this day could help many to finish 2020 on a positive note.

Now with the ever increasing online sales following COVID-19, Black Friday has merged with cyber-monday, with deals spanning a week prior and after. In 2019, an estimated 1.92 billion people purchased goods or services online. During the same year, e-retail sales surpassed 3.5 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide, and according to the latest calculations, e-commerce growth will accelerate even further in the future. Could shopping become entirely online?

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