Black Friday off to slow start

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Many retailers reported their Black Friday sales campaigns were off to an underwhelming start as inflation and the worsening coronavirus landscape have taken their toll on consumer psychology.

Shopkeepers were banking on Black Friday discount campaigns to build up to the festive season; however, customer traffic did not hit the expected heights.

In comments to the news website Stockwatch, the general secretary of the Cyprus Retailers Association, Marios Antoniou, said that retailers were disappointed with the turnout.

“Unfortunately, Black Friday was not off to the start we were expecting.

“The hike in prices of raw materials, the increase in fuel prices, and the worsening epidemiological data have affected the mood.

“The only thing on their minds is how to make it to the next day,” said Antoniou.

He said that retailers were expecting to see their turnover come close to that of 2019, but so far, it had proven to be worse than last year, when Limassol and Paphos were on lockdown, and shopping malls were closed.

Antoniou said that Black Friday essentially kicks off the festive season, adding one more reason for disappointment.

He did not expect traffic to pick up later in the day.

Lena Panayiotou, head of OEB’s Industrial Relations & Social Policy Department, said the moderate turnout was expected under the prevailing circumstances, making consumers hesitant even on Black Friday.

The general secretary of the small shopkeepers’ association POVEK, Stephanos Koursaris, said: “Unfortunately the psychology of the consumers is not at its best due to the rising prices and the epidemiological image of the country”.

“Shops offer very good discounts that exceed 50% of the original price; however, consumers appear to be restrained.

“Today, businesses expected the commercial traffic would launch the festive Christmas season, but what we have seen so far is a big disappointment “.

Koursaris also argued that restrictive measures and COVID-19 checks in place had put people off from visiting shops.

Some outlets reported good business despite the gloom, especially at the recently opened Metropolis Mall in Larnaca.