Businesses and residents in Hackney were preparing today for Black Friday. The event, which sees major retailer outlets slash the price of their goods, has grown into a huge business day for retailers in Brick Lane.
Many retailers open their stores earlier than usual and offer a range of promotional offers, discounts and sales. Major British retailers including ASDA, Marks & Spencer and Currys have adopted this tradition for the past few years.
During the UK’s Black Friday in 2014 there were reports of fighting and 5am queues in central London. This year’s Black Friday is expected to bring in more than £1 billion in revenue through online retailers and £400m in stores. Last year, it brought in a total of £810m.
Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States (the fourth Thursday of November). Since the early 2000s, it has been regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the US, and most major retailers open very early, and more recently during overnight hours, and offer promotional sales.
We asked a few shops and residents about their plans for Black Friday:
Julia Ludwig, 33, fashion manager from Brick Lane said: “I’m not participating in Black Friday because for me the shopping experience is important, especially before Christmas. It doesn’t really appeal to me as a shopper since I’m not really a bargain shopper. Shopping is all about having a good experience, so doing it properly in a relaxed environment is important.”
Cameron Gibson, 22, a retail assistant at Shop 12, from Huntingdon said: “We’ll have a few discounts on small and bigger items. It does help draw people in, especially so close to Christmas but also because it’ll be a sample sale we can rid of a few items. We didn’t really plan the day ahead but the sample sale and Black Friday have come around at the same time so it’s a lucky coincidence for us.”
Milo Manganes, 30, a retail assistant from pop-up shop Give Me More, from Brick Lane said: “The shop isn’t celebrating Black Friday because we’re not American. It’s okay from a business perspective but it’s cultural appropriation. We want to preserve some British culture, and it’s important that we do this for our customers. Most of our customers are British, and we don’t think that Black Friday makes much sense to them.”
Ed Haque, 17, student from Shoreditch, said: “I’m a huge fashion nerd so tomorrow’s a great time for me to check out the sales. It’s rumoured that Black Friday came from slavery days in the US so I’m not hell bent on spending that much money. I might shop for a bit as a way of paying homage to the holiday and it’s history. I think if people actually found out where it came from half of them wouldn’t be nearly as interested in the day.”
Ella Thompson, 29, retail assistant at Vintage Shop, from Brick Lane said: “We’re offering 20 per cent discount on our full priced items and then we have £3 and £5 buckets. We also have up to 70 per cent off sale items. We weren’t originally going to celebrate Black Friday but because everyone’s doing it and everyone’s expecting a bargain we’ve had to join in. It’s a good idea but it does put pressure on the days leading up to the event and afterwards. People aren’t spending money before the day so we’re having quiet weeks because everyone is saving up for this one weekend.”
All Pics: Emmanuella Kwenortey