Mixed reaction to Black Friday

Mixed reaction to Black Friday

HOPPERS lined up waiting for stores to open for Black Friday bargains.

They queued up early outside Marks & Spencer and were quick to search Churchill Square in Brighton looking for a cut-price steal yesterday.

Larger chain stores in Sussex such as Tesco did a brisk trade other town centres were more subdued as shoppers turned to the internet.

The Open Market in Brighton took Black Friday more literally – slashing its black clothing to half price.

Black Friday even led Sussex Police to issue a warning after several crashes on the A23 and A27 during the morning rush-hour.

The force tweeted: “Let’s keep Black Friday in the shops and off our roads. Keep focused folks.”

But not everywhere was feeling the fever.

Chris Goldfinch, centre manager of Market Place in Burgess Hill, said: “In the town centre there’s not the excitement that you would associate with Black Friday.”

Elsewhere, the backlash to Black Friday has well and truly begun.

Shop trader Clive Gross, based in Marine Court, St Leonards, became so incensed by the hype of Black Friday that he ran a special No Discount Day instead.

Court, St Leonards, became so incensed by the hype of Black Friday that he ran a special No Discount Day instead.

He said: “I have had loads of support and that’s been good. We are fortune here that we are not a chain dominated area and most people who live here are keen to see that carry on. There’s a local desire to see independent businesses succeed.”

He opened his shop, St Leonards Central, in 2014 as a showcase for local designers and makers.

Mr Gross said: “Events like Black Friday may look great for the consumer but in reality they just further undermine independent local businesses who are trying to trade sustainably.

“They help to drain the life-blood from local shopping centres and the money out of local economies.

“Things are cheap for a reason, usually because someone somewhere in the world is paying for it by working for poor wages in unsafe conditions that working people in this country rightly would not accept. Or because production methods that harm or environment are being exploited.”

Going a step further is Michael Smith, who lives near Arundel.

Veering away from rampant capitalism, he runs the Buy Nothing Day UK website.

Buy Nothing Day is not a new concept but was realigned to coincide with Black Friday.

Mr Smith told The Argus: “I don’t think the retailers were prepared for Black Friday and the customers went a bit over the top. A lot of them have learnt from it.
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“I wasn’t surprised to see people fighting in shops. The sort of stuff that was on the TV wasn’t good and retailers realised last year that they got some of it wrong.

“If you have to shop on Buy Nothing Day, at least support your local shops.”

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