Woodbridge businesses slam Black Friday as boycott announced
Business owners in Woodbridge have slammed Black Friday for ‘fuelling hyper-consumerism’ in favour of offering respectful retailing in the lead up to Christmas.
A number of independent traders in the town believe the trend encourages irresponsible production and poses a risk to smaller businesses who cannot compete with the larger discounts for retail giants.
All have agreed to boycott the practice which can be seen as one of the biggest shopping periods of the year.
Mandy Leeson, who runs Vanil in The Thoroughfare, is among those encouraging businesses to boycott Black Friday.
Her store specialises in Scandinavian-inspired accessories, furniture and home décor.
She said: “We will not be supporting Black Friday because it depletes the value of our brands and is not what we stand for.”
This sentiment was echoed by Sam Denny-Hodson, owner of New Street Market.
She said: “We are totally against Black Friday and champion fair prices for our ethically made clothing and homewares.
“We are a small, independent store offering a carefully selected range of beautiful products.
“We leave Black Friday to big store groups who buy cheaply and add a big mark up.”
Susannah Chenevix-Trench, of Chenevix Jewellers, in Market Hill, also joined the call.
A qualified gemologist, she said the products her store offered were ‘not conductive to mass-market promotions’.
She said she was sure larger firms would take advantage of Black Friday marketing, but she was more concerned with pooling resources into quality and customer care.
However, Rebecca Brooker, of Little White Box, a gift shop in The Thoroughfare, said she did not believe in the practice of hiking prices, only to slash them for Black Friday deals.
Another supporter of the boycott, Kerry Ferrar, of the toy shop Pocket Kids, in Church Street, said: “Our customers get something different.
“It’s the personal touch which the big stores simply cannot offer.”
Another Woodbridge business taking a shot at Black Friday is homeware store The Merchant’s Table, also in Church Street.
Owner Susanna Cook said: “Black Friday undermines our proposition as a retailer which sells goods with enduring value, a strong sense of provenance and the influence and heritage of craftsmanship skills.
“By not taking part we are embracing respectful retailing – respect for our makers and respect for our customers.”
Bigger brands have also boycotted Black Friday in recent years, which was introduced to the UK by Amazon in 2010.
Black Friday refers to the Friday after thanksgiving in the US. This year, it is this Friday, November 24.
These include Next, Arket, Ganni, Monki, Rixo and Veja.
Ikea also shunned the practice in favour of Green Friday in previous years.
Suffolk’s own Paddy and Scott’s, based in Ipswich, shut for four days over the Black Friday period last year.
Kris Parker, from Melton-based Infotex, said it was not uncommon to see false discounting – and even fake sites – during the Black Friday period.
He believes these could help catch out the unsuspecting consumer.
He added: “Boycotting Black Friday could actually help your business, communicating that you have confidence in the value of your product at full price and, in doing so, building trust with your customers.
“Many see Black Friday as fuelling hyper-consumerism, irresponsible production and damaging smaller companies who cannot compete with the discounts on offer from bigger retailers which is absolutely understandable.
“I genuinely think that if you are going to participate in the nationwide discount extravaganza, you should consider your offer and why you’re doing it, keeping your customer experience and business values in mind.”