Black Friday and Cyber Monday - has the American invention killed Norwich?
PUBLISHED: 13:39 29 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:39 29 November 2019
Adrian Fennell from Roche Chartered Surveyors considers the impact of Christmas sales days on local shops.
With a predicted retail spend of £8.57 billion over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping bonanza, what hope does Norwich's retail centre have in competing?
Firstly, let us consider the true cost of Black Friday; internet shoppers are becoming increasingly savvy in the way they shop, and often buy multiple items with the view that there is only one end purchase and the remainder will be returned. This is inefficient and costly for the internet retailer and increasingly they are finding it difficult to maintain a competitive advantage.
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The latest Which finding reports that 87pc of the Black Friday deal items were the same price or cheaper at other times of the year, adding further evidence that online retailers have begun to hit their bottom line. There is, of course, the seeming convenience of clicking online and waiting for the item to drop through your letter box the next day, but looking at the influence of Generation Z, increasingly we are seeing a backlash at this environmental car crash where big delivery companies are sending out an armada of vans to undertake next day delivery. The resistance against wasteful packaging and the desire for upcycling is at the forefront.
Furthermore, with the increased complexity of white and brown goods product codes, it is difficult for the consumer to identify whether they are purchasing last year's model at what appears to be a great price.
So what can Norwich offer in exchange? Firstly, an immediacy of purchase with often competitively marked down prices for the Black Friday event. The ability to touch and try goods, which of course reduces retailer's returns, consumer time in repackaging and posting and the environmental impact of delivery vans. There's also consumer backlash at their genuine concerns for the demise of the high street, plus the satisfying feeling that, should the product need returning, there is actually a bricks and mortar outlet to interface with.
These are the purchasing considerations, but Norwich has so much more to offer with its plethora of 'Reasons to Visit'. The city boasts a safe retail environment, predominantly encapsulated by an attractive historic streetscape with an extensive selection of retail and leisure offers. Be that the historic Norwich Lanes with its burgeoning 'Indie' retailer scene that acts as an incubator for new innovation; Norwich Market, which has reinvented itself into an exemplar of international cuisine, intermixed with the excitement of traditional market stall holders to the extensive selection of local and multiple restaurateurs, ranging from those on St Benedicts through to national brands including The Ivy and Cosy Club - two of Norwich's more recent arrivals.
Castle Mall has rebranded as Castle Quarter and, following the very successful openings of Superbowl and Pure Gym, together with existing leisure venues such as Vue cinema, pedestrian flow has increased substantially. Combine this with the Cathedral, Norwich Castle and Theatre Royal amongst all the other significant leisure attractions, and Norwich is more than able to rise above America's cyber attack.