As the last Friday in November draws near, the Traditionalists among us may have been looking forward to the start of the Christmas shopping spree. This always happened on December 8th., the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. On this day, country people, especially farming folk, would take a day off from their duties and head to the ‘big smoke’ to spend their few bob – all that is no more.
We have succumbed to the vagaries of our Transatlantic cousins and now we ‘celebrate’ “Black Friday” ! Why..? Who knows ! But, in the haste of our multinational department stores to make money, it appears as though the indigenous Irish stores may have shot themselves in both feet while trying to keep up. December, which was one of the busiest months in the retailers year, has taken a significant hit as customers do the majority of their Christmas shopping on Black Friday. The Winter Sales have taken a huge hit; after all, if you bought a new 48″ TV in November you’re not going to buy another one in January. Retail figures in the weeks leading up to Black Friday have slumped – would you buy anything when you’re told “we’re having massive discounts in two weeks time” !
All this is followed by “Cyber Monday” which, naturally, takes more money away from the High Street trader and your Local Independent Retailer. What are the consequences..? It won’t happen overnight, but the demise of your local store where you generally get that little bit more attention, that little bit more informed opinion, certainly that much more expertise will become a thing of the past (just like Holy Days of Obligation) and your friendly online store won’t be interested in what’s going on in your life!