Black Friday off to slow start

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Retailers reported their Black Friday sales began an underwhelming start amid a waterfall of complaints of fake offers, with consumers also dissatisfied with the discount level, which averages 20%.

Shopkeepers were banking on the World Cup coinciding with this year’s Black Friday to boost their sales campaigns; however, customer traffic did not hit the expected heights.

News site Philenews quoted the manager of a mall, not named, as saying footfall should pick up at the weekend.

Another shopping mall representative told the Financial Mirror that Black Friday was off to a poor start, “but this is just the first day of campaigns, as retailers extend sales to include the weekend. Let’s wait and see”.

Talking to the Financial Mirror, the general secretary of the Cyprus Retailers Association, Marios Antoniou, said traffic usually peaks later in the evening.

“We can’t say we are disappointed.

“On the contrary, early signs have us confident that we will exceed the goal set to beat traffic and sales recorded for Black Friday week sales last year,” said Antoniou.

He said last year’s Black Friday week saw an increase of 21% in retailers’ revenue, according to JCC data, compared to an average week of the year.

“This year, our target is to exceed a 28% increase compared to the average week.”

Antoniou also noted that Black Friday sales campaigns in Cyprus last longer, “so it would be wiser to wait until Monday to draw our conclusions”.

Asked about the low reductions offered by retailers, Antoniou said the percentage discount in the Cypriot market varies between 20% and 30%.

“The price a business imports goods depends on the quantity ordered; therefore, because Cyprus is a small market, retailers will never be able to reach the level of discounts of other large European countries where companies buy at much lower prices as they can put in large orders.”

In comments to news site StockWatch, the legal adviser of the consumer association Virginia Christou said phone lines were on fire all day with consumers reporting fake offers and misleading sales campaigns.

“Our phones have not stopped ringing since this morning, with complaints from consumers pouring in, such as a store announcing a discount of up to 75%, while just one product carried a price tag reduced by 75%. The rest were 20%,” said Christou.