Black Friday bonanza for business

Retailers around the county are in the throes of the biggest spending frenzy of the year – with Black Friday now a week-long sale in top businesses where footfall is reported to be up by nearly double in some locations.

The American marketing concept has been adopted with gusto in Galway for the last three years in a bid to encourage early Christmas shopping and splashing out for big ticket items.

In its latest Retail Monitor, Retail Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the sector, said that sales values have grown by 4.1% in the third quarter of this year, compared to the same period in 2016, with growth recorded across almost all retail categories.

Craughwell Furniture spokesman Denis Cummins said retailers are nearly afraid not to join in. “We’d have people coming in for a few weeks asking about the discounts for Black Friday so we now have a week-long sale that has really turned into one of the biggest events of the year for us,” he told the Connacht Tribune.

“Business is definitely up for it – maybe 50-60% up. Every item in the store is reduced – some by up to 50-60%. We hold a lot of stock that we get in on containers so people can come here knowing they don’t have to wait to get their new suite or bed or dresser, they’ll have it for Christmas.”

Beatty’s in Loughrea said footfall in their department store is easily up 20% for the week. They began to market a single day Black Friday sale in 2015 – now it’s on for over a week.

“We’d have 50/50 customers coming in looking for a bargain for Christmas and then the other half are regular customers who have their eye on something for a while and wait for the 20% discount on it,” spokesperson Karen Power stated.

“Our busiest departments would be the household where people are looking for Christmas gifts and electronics where people are buying things like tablets and laptops. I think it leads to a crescendo of spending up to Christmas.”

New boys to the Black Friday block are Nioclás Ó Conchubhair Teo, who run Homevalue stores in Lettermore and Casla. They became Euronics outlets this year, which offer discounts on home appliances of up to 50% for the end of November sale.

“Our footfall is already up by 20% even though we are mainly promoting it on the day. Most certainly people are holding out for the bargain – Irish people love getting deals so it certainly has caught on,” remarked Nioclás.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.