Fashion Retail and the ‘Black Friday’ Love Affair

Fashion retail and the 'Black Friday' love affair

As if Halloween wasn’t enough, the latest American import, ‘Black Friday’, has gone from non-event to seasonal shopping extravaganza in the last few years, and you know what – British fashion retailers love it!

Black Friday started out in the US as a nickname for the day after Thanksgiving, when turkey-stuffed consumers would take advantage of the holiday season to do a spot of shopping. The ‘black’ part of the moniker comes from the fact that retailers would finally go into the black (i.e. make a profit) on this day after losing money for much of the year.

Fittingly, for what is now the official start of the festive shopping season, Black Friday snowballed, and has since become a global phenomenon. In the UK, Black Friday is probably best known for fights over discounted televisions, but fortunately, in the fashion industry, it’s a rather more civilised affair.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

Having initially shunned the concept, fashion retailers are now coming around to the idea that Black Friday could be the most wonderful time of the year for them too. Regardless of its origins, the fact is that Black Friday falls just four weeks before Christmas, when present-buying is in full flow. Conveniently for fashion retailers, this is also the time when revellers are out looking for the perfect Christmas party outfit. The result is a perfect retail storm that even the leading labels can’t ignore.

With deals in store and online, and extra discounts available across selected items, fashion retailers expect to see a surge in traffic from their existing customer base, as well as additional interest from the new customers the Black Friday sales attract.

Putting the preparations in place

With such rewards on offer, fashion brands are now beginning their preparations months in advance, planning marketing campaigns and creative deals that will grab the attention of consumers who are spoilt for choice. Leading labels such as Karen Miller and Avenue 32 are all competing for a share of the spoils, offering discounts of 25 and 30 percent respectively on selected products on Friday and over the weekend.

The key decisions labels need to make is what products to include in the sale, and how the discounts will be communicated. According to the retailers, items that do particularly well in the Black Friday sales are handbags, which are often given as gifts at this time of year, and shoes, with plenty of shoppers on the lookout for a new pair of heels for the party season.

A week-long shopping event

Black Friday has also become more than a one-day shopping event, with many retailers putting on sales for the whole week. At the very least, most labels have a sale that lasts the entirety of the final weekend of November, ending on ‘Cyber Monday’, the busiest day of the year for online sales. For many fashion brands, particularly those that rely heavily on their online presence, Cyber Monday will be their best performing day of the year.

However, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not the be all and end all for fashion retailers. The department stores Browns and Harrods will not be participating in the pre-Christmas discounting at all. Instead, they will be focusing on the more traditional (and certainly more British) Boxing Day sales.

Become part of our commonKIN

If you’re a smaller label looking to boost your bottom line, the Black Friday sales are certainly one way to do it. However, to give your business a more sustainable boost, contact commonKIN today. We help fashion brands run all aspects of their business and benefit from the economies of scale usually associated with large fashion houses.