Moz the Monster and Paddington show retailers’ marketing power, as shops wise up to Black Friday

The likes of Moz the Monster and Paddington may have stolen the hearts of youngsters this Christmas, but they are also signs of increased marketing spend which retailers feel will benefit the entire sector, a new report suggests.

Retail confidence ahead of Christmas remains strong, with bigger marketing outlays – including those on cuddly characters by John Lewis and Marks & Spencer – expected to yield results for the under-pressure sector at its key time of year.

A third (34%) of retailers who responded to the Barclays Christmas Confidence Survey say they have increased their marketing spend, despite rising cost pressures, and 43% predict that increased marketing across the industry will have a positive impact on Christmas trading.

Confidence for Christmas is holding up against 2016 levels, with 71% more confident or equally confident, while 49% expect to see revenue growth.

Three-quarters of traders are taking part in the early discount day Black Friday, but are becoming more nuanced in their approach, with 50% limiting offers to certain channels and more than a third (36%) limiting the number of products on offer.


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Looking at the wider Christmas period, 70% of retailers are planning discounts more carefully to maximise margins, with more discounting of select products over a longer period this year rather than heavy discounting on Black Friday being the preferred strategy for many.

Tim Seeley, head of corporate banking in East Anglia, said: “The truth is that most retailers don’t like Black Friday, with less than one in five believing that discounting generates increased sales.

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“Consumers now expect heavy price cuts across the board in the middle of the retail industry’s most important season, so the evolving approach, with two-thirds of retailers telling us they are planning discounts more carefully this year, reveals that retailers are focused on finding ways to make Black Friday work for them.

“The importance placed on marketing spend is really striking and along with ensuring the online and multichannel strategy is carefully planned, getting marketing campaigns right can really help attract customers to retail brands at this time of year.”

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