Black Friday 2021: Sheffield residents urged to do their Christmas shopping locally to aid Covid recovery

Shoppers in Sheffield are being urged to support local businesses this Black Friday and in the run up to Christmas.

Saturday, 20th November 2021, 2:53 pm

Diane Jarvis, head of business operations at Sheffield BID, has called on residents to do as much of their Christmas shopping locally as they can to aid the city’s post-Covid recovery.

With large retailers running huge sales and discounts for Black Friday next week, Ms Jarvis says it is more important than ever to spend money on Sheffield’s high street, as well as supporting our many independents and smaller businesses.

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Diane Jarvis, head of business operations at Sheffield BID, is urging residents to shop local this Christmas and Black Friday to aid the city's Covid recovery. Photo by Dean Atkins/Canva.

She told The Star: “Traditionally, Black Friday is a huge day for national retailers but it’s not just this shopping event that’s important. Most retailers usually take a third of their annual takings over the next four weeks, so it is make or break time for many of them, particularly smaller and independent businesses.

"We would urge people to shop local this festive season to help support local businesses as well as the high street stores. The high street has taken a real beating over the past 20 months and this Christmas will be the most crucial of times for many businesses."

Last year saw most Christmas festivities cancelled due to strict Covid restrictions, with no lights switch-on or Christmas market in the city centre.

Lockdown rules also meant shops were closed for much of the end of the year, meaning more people than ever did their Christmas shopping online.

Diane Jarvis, head of business operations at Sheffield BID, on Fargate in the city centre.

This led to one of the worst performing years for the high street and local businesses – something Ms Jarvis hopes will change this year.

She added: “Online shopping is extremely popular and has changed buying behaviours, more so since the pandemic. Now more than ever people are buying and returning items online, with next day delivery and free returns a standard expectation.

"Given the benefits of online shopping, what is often overlooked is the environmental impact of more packages and multiple deliveries. That’s another reason to buy local.”

Although some local businesses and stores on Sheffield’s high street will be running their own Black Friday sales, Ms Jarvis says it is important not to get caught up in the numbers, and to remember how many other factors there are to the shopping experience.

“For the city centre high street there needs to be a bigger focus on personalised and unique experiences, not just flash sales events,” she added.

In another bid to boost retail recovery after such a difficult year, Sheffield City Council has announced an £865,000 investment in high streets across the city.

It comes from its Economic Recovery Fund, an ‘innovative and unique’ grant set up to support businesses following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Businesses in Hillsborough, Firth Park, Walkley and Broomhill came together to form their own proposals and have won £200,000 each for their areas to support a range of activity from improving streetscene and creating new seating areas to creating arts trails and shutter art, markets and new events to attract people down to local high streets.

Groups in other areas, such as Chapeltown and Totley, were also successful.