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EDITORIAL Black Friday starts early as traders focus on offering value in difficult times

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In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter, we’re reporting as Black Friday starts early at John Lewis, as Sainsbury’s sees customer habits changing – and there are reasons for optimism about the homewares market. 

Sainsbury’s has seen many of its online shoppers return to stores to buy groceries in the wake of Covid-19 restrictions – but says it’s benefiting from the shift more than many of its competitors. While online sales fell in the first half of its financial year, sales rose in both its supermarkets and its convenience stores. Plus, its online business – which is now more than 80% larger than pre-pandemic – is fulfilling an average 118k orders each week via fast delivery services. 

In today’s guest comment, Elissa Quinby of Quantum Metric considers how retailers can best handle delivery delays ahead of Christmas – especially in the light of potential Black Friday strike action at the Royal Mail.

That may be one factor encouraging John Lewis to launch its peak Black Friday campaign three weeks out from Black Friday. The department store says it’s giving customers the chance to spread their spending. It will also hope to benefit from early spending in a year that shoppers may be more limited in the cash they have to spend. 

Secret Sales has launched a new rewards club that it says will help customers at a time when the cost of living is taking a toll. Shoppers who spend upwards of £30 on the marketplace, which serves brands looking to clear their overstocks, will be able to access discounts on meals and days out via tastecard.

The furniture market has been hard hit by falling consumer confidence and a number of retailer failures in recent months, but today there are reasons for optimism as DFS says it has seen its sales strengthen since mid-September and Bensons for Beds relaunches the Eve Sleep website, commenting on the strength of customer demand for that return. Both retailers plan to carry on investing in digital and multichannel as a path to growth. 

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