Today marks the beginning of Thanksgiving Weekend in the United States. Along with turkey and football, “Black Friday” has become a tradition many partake in.
Black Friday is the kick-off for the Christmas season…parades, local tree lighting and shopping. For retailers, it often turns their bottom line from red to black. But at what expense?
***I write this post from my perspective as a former independent retailer.
Many consumers do not realize just how difficult it is to make a living, let alone a profit, as an independent retailer. The cost of goods, especially now, has risen so dramatically, yet (often) the retail price of goods can not reflect these extra costs…there is only so much the market will bear. The Christmas season is when losses can be recovered, and hopefully, a little profit will be reflected on the financial statements.
The deep discounts consumers have come to expect on Black Friday were not a factor in Canada until recently. What happened to waiting until Boxing Day to clear seasonal inventory?
To stay competitive, many small business owners feel the pressure to slash prices at the height of the season, when full retail prices (not sale prices) are so crucial to their bottom line. This is the tightrope retailers have to walk…the stress that keeps them up through the night.
The past two years have been a nightmare for small businesses. It’s been impossible to compete with large chains and department stores that have the resources to develop and maintain online websites. Because their product lines are so unique, often one of a kind, it’s not practical for independents to input their products on a website.
Know that when you purchase from a local retailer, they feel validated for their efforts. All the hours spent combing through catalogues or travelling to showrooms, or gift shows are exhausting. Editing endless product lines to fit a vision (and budget) is risky…have they chosen wisely, and will the consumer value what they’ve created?
I encourage you to check out your local businesses before making your holiday purchases. You may be pleasantly surprised at what is available, not to mention keeping your valuable dollars in the local economy.
Shopping should be declared a “sport”. It takes years of practice to excel in the wonderful world of retail!
I began my love affair with shopping as a young girl, and in my heart, I will always be a retailer. From my experience, it doesn’t matter what side of that counter you stand on; there is a mutual appreciation for each other.
Tis the season to go shopping…Enjoy!