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29 November 2019

Will Black Friday Drive High-Street Spending?

As consumer trends are continually shifting away from the high street towards online shopping, one may question whether Black Friday has the same power to propel retail spending as it has in previous years. The days of queuing in the cold, patiently waiting for one’s favourite store to open its doors, are certainly numbered. Looking at the current state of the UK high street only serves to bolster this assessment.
 
Saul Fulda, Investment Analyst at investment management and stockbroking firm Redmayne Bentley, said:

Marks & Spencer, previously at the crux of most British high streets, has witnessed a sharp fall in its fashion sales and profits, causing its share price to drop by 15% year-to-date and resulting in the company’s embarrassing relegation from the FTSE 100. M&S’s approved partnership with Ocado, due to start in 2020, demonstrates how the old-school retailer is looking to transform in this changing market.

However, while M&S has been reactive in dealing with this trend, others have been proactive. JD Sports has been one of the best performing FTSE stocks this year, with its shares up by over 120% year-to-date. Its rise has been nothing short of incredible. The formidable leadership of Peter Cowgill, who strives to understand customers’ needs, has been key in driving this success. Rather than terminating its bricks-and-mortar stores, JD Sports has revamped and refreshed its presence on the high street. Thus, the high street’s survival hinges on whether businesses can adapt to the surrounding market developments and consumer trends.

I was recently offered a choice of store vouchers from either John Lewis, Marks & Spencer or Amazon. Despite all possessing an online presence, in choosing the latter, I would consider myself a victim of this shift towards online shopping, which is certainly more convenient and economical – the all-year round online sales further suck momentum away from the Black Friday event.

Yet, online shopping cannot replicate the excitement felt by shoppers while roaming high-street department stores.”
 
Will Black Friday Drive High-Street Spending?
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