IN the few years since it arrived from the United States, the so-called Black Friday pre-Christmas sales drive has been aggressively marketed into a phenomenon by persuading consumers they are getting bargains.
Predictably enough, this turns out not to be the case. The finding by Which magazine that only one in 20 of the deals on offer was cheaper than at any other time of the year speaks of a degree of cynicism on the part of businesses which have jumped on the bandwagon.
The old dictum of ‘buyer beware’ should plainly be at the forefront of shoppers’ minds. More concerning, though, is the additional pressure that Black Friday has placed on already-struggling high streets at the end of another difficult trading year for many retailers in towns and cities across Yorkshire.
So much of the hype is directed towards internet purchases that it is driving trade away from bricks-and-mortar retailers who should be able to rely on Christmas shopping giving them a buoyant few weeks.
This is potentially a life-saver for some shops, and could make the difference between staying open or yet more empty properties disfiguring our towns and cities in 2020.
Supporting those shops, and by extension helping our communities thrive, is something we can and should all do at this time of year. High streets are doing their best to attract people, as witnessed by the launch of Otley’s Christmas video, and they deserve to succeed.
These shops offer good value and outstanding service all year round, and not just as part of a branded marketing exercise designed to part the unwary from their money.