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EDITORIAL Retailers step up Black Friday discounting amid disruption and uncertainty

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting as retailers step up their discounting amid uncertainty and disruption. That follows a period in which shoppers appear to have held back from spending in the run up to today’s Black Friday event. Both ScS and Studio Retail, for example, have seen a slowing in spending in the run up to today.

Now the question is whether sales will lift over this week and this weekend in particular. Black Friday has in recent years been the biggest day of the year for online shopping, followed closely by Cyber Monday. But this year there are questions about whether shoppers will buy – and how well stocked – and staffed – retailers will be. That’s come amid high levels of disruption – in areas from London tube strikes and Amazon blockades to supply chain delays, as we report in our rolling Black Friday coverage.


ScS says it’s seeing shoppers slow down their spending when it comes to the sofas and other big ticket discretionary items it sells. Supply chain issues and delays in receiving products appear to be a key driver in that changing and less predictable behaviour. 

Studio Retail is all stocked up for peak trading – but says it’s now seeing shoppers buying more selectively than expected. The retailer says the extra costs it has incurred in stocking up and in wage rises are likely to mean price rises and it’s now predicting lower full-year profits than previously. That said, it says its mobile app is proving very successful in retaining customers, and that its credit account also brings shoppers back to the website. 

Mothercare is back in the black – two years on from closing its UK stores and website. At the time it said its business was not financially viable because it made too little profit from selling third-party brand products. Now it’s a brand itself, with plans for expansion. 

Farfetch and Clipper Logistics are launching a luxury fulfilment joint venture – to cater for what it says is a very demanding market. The new business, to be launched early next year, will operate in markets including Asia, Europe and the US. 

Marks & Spencer says its strategy of working with third-party brands is making it more relevant to its customers. The retailer has now taken a 25% stake in the brand that is most visited on its website – Nobody’s Child – and says the two have in common their approach to affordable, sustainable fashion.  

The RetailX UK Growth 2000 2021 is now available to download, with its list of the 2,000 retailers that follow the UK Top500, according to RetailX research. 

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