Black Friday “the Grinch that stole Christmas for many smaller retailers” – High Streets Task Force expert, Dr Jackie Mulligan

by Rebecca Tomes

With Black Friday just two weeks today, for many smaller UK high street retailers the next fortnight is make or break time as they take on the might of the online retail giants in the battle for Britons’ Christmas spending.

This year, according to, Dr Jackie Mulligan, expert on the Government’s High Streets Task Force and founder of the local shopping platform, Shopappy, it’s more important than ever that Brits avoid being sucked into the hype and shop local — or the future of the UK high street could be at risk:

“Black Friday is the Grinch that stole Christmas for many smaller retailers.

“The big beasts of online shopping have used this American import as a battering ram to grab people’s attention and drive a surge in revenue long before the traditional Christmas shopping rush.

“Black Friday purchases made on Amazon or other online giants are often a black eye to the small high street retailer. So this year, after the turmoil of the pandemic, we’re encouraging everyone, whenever possible, to shop local.

“With online stores already accounting for 28% of every Pound spent by British shoppers, high street shops risk being frozen out once again.

“After pandemic restrictions made last Christmas a brutal one for bricks and mortar stores, the next four to five weeks will be make or break time for many smaller retailers.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that the future of countless small businesses, and potentially many local high streets, will depend on sales in the weeks ahead. From the daily conversations we have with thousands of small retailers around the UK, that’s how serious things have become.

“But the headline-grabbing discounts being offered online are often illusory. An analysis by Which? of Black Friday deals being offered in previous years found that 95% of tech, home and personal care deals were available at the same price, or cheaper, in the six months after the big day.

“Fortunately there are signs that many shoppers are starting to see through the crude commercialism, and huge environmental cost, of this annual festive shopping event, with a recent survey showing only a third of adults plan to support it this year.

“It’s great to see that more people are realising it will be better for people and the planet this year to have gifts from small local businesses under their trees rather than spending their hard-earned cash to propel billionaires into space.”

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