Black Friday 2021: live updates
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Black Friday is an American import that has spread across much of Europe, adopted by retailers and shoppers as an opening trumpet for the start of the holiday shopping season – even though Thanksgiving remains a holiday in a faraway land.
But Black Friday takes shape in different forms. With a focus on toy stores, here are three snapshots of the state of Black Friday in Europe.
Earlier this week, Clara Pascual was about to pin a poster announcing a Black Friday sale on the front door of her family-friendly toy store in central Madrid.
Her store was empty of customers – which was no cause for concern, she said, as she expected most of her customers to show up on Friday and Saturday to take advantage of the discount. 10% off toys purchased during its Black Friday event.
“In the last week I think more people have come to check that we were going to have a special Black Friday deal than to buy something,” said Ms. Pascual, whose store is called Hola Caracola, or Hello. . Snail.
For toy stores, Black Friday is a step up in their retail calendars, as Spanish tradition dictates that children receive their gifts on January 6, the feast of Epiphany, which celebrates how a star drove them. three kings to the baby Jesus.
“We have already had to adapt to the fact that more Spanish families are offering at Christmas than for kings so that their children can enjoy their toys for a longer holiday period,” Ms. Pascual said, “and now in addition to this, we know that many people will be buying their Christmas toys on Black Friday already, especially this year because everyone is worried about delivery issues.
“Obviously, Black Friday is a cultural import that has nothing to do with our own traditions and everything to do with globalization,” she said, “which is something you can welcome or no”.
Federico Corradini, CEO of XChannel, a marketing company that represents a dozen toy brands in Spain and Italy, said he expected their sales to triple this Black Friday compared to last year, supported by an increase in their advertising spending.
“Most of our businesses are betting a lot on this Black Friday to sell as much as possible, also because they already know that they will have delivery problems during the Christmas period,” he said.
In Italy, the attraction of serving customers in person.
The Dreoni toy store has been a landmark in Florence, Italy for 98 years, and it hasn’t lasted that long without responding to new trends.
A few years ago, Italians started to expect big sales on a day called Black Friday, said Silvia Dreoni, co-owner of the store and a member of the third generation to run it.
“We inevitably had to adapt,” she said. “We want to keep pace with our time, and we embraced Black Friday, just like we did with Halloween.”
However, translated into Italian, the words suggest a collapse in the stock market. Thus, the English term “Black Friday” stuck, marking its American roots.
Stepping into Dreoni is magical for children and adults alike, with a ceiling painted to resemble a blue sky crossed by puffy white clouds. A large puppet theater shows the Italian character of Pinocchio, the wooden puppet who dreams of becoming a real boy. The story of Pinocchio was written by Carlo Collodi, who was born near the store.
About 10 years ago, Ms. Dreoni and her sister realized their business needed a website, and their online store now features the 8,000 toys they have on their shelves. But face-to-face sales are more satisfying, Ms. Dreoni said.
“Online sales are good, but they’re cold, emotionless,” she said. “A lot of people still like to touch a toy or have an expert explain it. It’s not like buying a pan or a pot.
The increase in online shopping this time of year is straining courier services across the country, making life difficult for small delivery businesses.
Large domestic and international delivery companies have been inundated with online orders from Amazon and other e-commerce sites, said Marco Magli, owner of ADL SPA Corriere Espresso, a local courier in Bologna. “Every day we have to figure out who can help us deliver our goods in Milan or outside the city,” he said. “The market is totally saturated.
“Over the past two years, delivery volumes have started to increase as early as November, whereas before, it was only at the beginning of December,” confirmed Massimo Pedretti, union leader of SDA, a courier company belonging to the Italian post.
“It’s because of Black Friday week,” he said.
In Germany, another holiday season cannot escape the pandemic.
A record number of new coronavirus cases is cooling the morale of German shoppers in a year when many eagerly awaited the chance to return to holiday markets and decorated shopping streets.
In Bavaria, closing many holiday markets to curb the spread of the virus has proven to be beneficial for business at Kunst und Spiel, or Art and Play, a store specializing in German-made wooden toys and games.
“Our customers are happy that we are open,” said Florian Bartsch, who manages the store.
But given the current infection rate, only 50 people are allowed in the store in downtown Munich at a time, he added. And limited supplies hamper sales. “Wooden toys are popular this year, although we are having delivery issues,” Bartsch said. “All the wholesalers buy them. “
Supplies of some locally sourced toys are still feeling the effects of previous closures, he said, including some items produced at a workshop for people with disabilities in Germany.
“They were forced to shut down at the height of the pandemic last year and only recently resumed full production,” he said. “They are backed up for at least nine months.”
Fears that delivery delays will make it harder to find last-minute giveaways could increase sales during Black Friday promotions by 27% compared to last year, the German retail association said this week. HDE detail.
In early November, the retail association forecasted a 2% increase in sales for the last two months of the year based on strong consumer sentiment as the holiday season approached. But in the past two weeks, the country has broken record after record in the number of new infections, forcing authorities to shut down restaurants, bars and Christmas markets in eastern and southern states. country.
At Kunst und Spiel, Mr. Bartsch said sales in the last three months of the year typically accounted for 70 percent of his annual turnover. After the loss he suffered during the lockdown in 2020, he hopes he can stay open, even if that means his staff have the added task of making sure buyers are vaccinated, masked, and no more than 50 at a time. .
“If our sales remain as they are so far, I will be happy,” he said.
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