Black Friday Sheffield: Small retailers in city criticise discounts from online giants like Amazon

Independent businesses in Sheffield have condemned Black Friday deals for promoting careless consumerism that threatens to put them out of business.

Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 11:39 am

Hellen Stirling-Baker, of ethical children’s shop Small Stuff UK in Crookes said the event ‘devalues’ businesses like hers - and urged people to shop local to help them survive.

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Black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving in the United States when many stores offer discounts. It has grown to become an internet phenomenon associated with Amazon in the UK.

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Hellen Stirling-Baker of Small Stuff UK

WHY DO SMALL RETAILERS HATE BLACK FRIDAY?

Hellen said small firms like hers had very tight profit margins and were unable to offer huge discounts.

She added: “I think Black Friday totally devalues indie businesses like mine! We work so hard, and always have such tight margins anyway - the added pressure can be too much.

“This year might just be the toughest yet to gain back traction into our shops! We need everyone’s help and for people to vote with their cash if we’re to survive!”

The Moor Market is home to dozens of local retailers and uses the ShopAppy platform for online customers.

Shopping platform, Shopappy, is used by The Moor Markets and several local retailers in Sheffield.

Founder Dr Jackie Mulligan said Black Friday gave local retailers a black eye.

She added: “Black Friday is the Grinch that stole Christmas for many smaller retailers.

“The big beasts of online shopping have used this American import as a battering ram to grab people’s attention and drive a surge in revenue long before the traditional Christmas shopping rush.

“Black Friday purchases made on Amazon or other online giants are often a black eye to the small high street retailer.

“So this year, after the turmoil of the pandemic, we’re encouraging everyone, whenever possible, to shop local."

WHERE ARE PRODUCTS FROM, HOW ARE THEY MADE AND DOES THE COMPANY PAY UK TAXES?

Jamie Rackham, founder of Facebook group, NOT ON AMAZON, added: “Black Friday is a celebration of the careless: corporations that don't care about their customers or the planet, consumers who don't care about each other or how any of this affects the world and communities they live in, and billionaires who don't care about a thing because they're all off to Mars.

“When you buy from an independent producer there is a far greater likelihood that they will care about their products and their impact on the world. It's an emotive, as opposed to sterile, relationship with the end consumer. Black Friday is a dystopia of empty, soulless deals."

Michael Oszmann, founder of online marketplace, Buy Britain: “UK consumers have become increasingly sceptical about Black Friday. Are we really getting a bargain and saving money? Genuinely good deals are like needles in haystacks now. While price and value are still many people's number one purchase drivers, there are now other considerations too: where has this product come from, what is it made from, does the company pay UK taxes?”

WHAT ABOUT THE PLANET?

Amanda Rutland, founder of Gorgeous Gourds, said: “Another awful gimmick that puts the kiss of death on small local businesses. Haven't we learnt anything the past two years? We should buy local and reduce our carbon footprint.”

Rachel Hayward, managing director of the business bids and tenders specialist, Ask the Chameleon, added: “There are real humans behind a small business that just can't compete with the bigger boys but offer products and services of a much higher quality. Shop small, shop local and support Small Business Saturday on December 4 and give two fingers to Black Friday.”

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