European retailers hope for best on Black Friday

STORY: European retailers are hoping for the best on Black Friday (November 25).

But fearing the worst.

Shoppers have been battered by soaring inflation.

Some economists fear that could dampen spending, and make this the worst Christmas shopping season for at least a decade.

Early signs offered some hope though.

Credit card firm Barclaycard said initial data showed UK Black Friday sales were “steady”, and about in line with last year.

Early present-buying could also help.

Research by McKinsey shows about one-in-ten Britons plan to get most of their Christmas gifts on Black Friday.

Other data showed shoppers in France and Italy also planning to make use of the discounts, but less enthusiasm in Spain.

Wary shoppers aren’t the only worry for retailers though.

They’re also facing mounting discontent among staff battling the cost-of-living crisis.

Zara shop workers went on strike in Spain on Friday to demand higher pay.

In France, workers at Amazon walked out.

A union delegate said there would be action in other countries too:

“We have 35 countries in the world asking the same thing as us, because Amazon is a global company and we all have the same working conditions and the same level of remuneration, which is at the lowest of what countries are allowed to pay. We are all in the same mess, so we are all asking the same thing -- for salary increases and working conditions worthy of the 21st century.”

As for the shoppers, they may change what they buy, as well as how much.

In the UK, electrical retailer Currys said people were focusing on essentials and energy-saving devices.

One of the firm’s executives said 2022 was the year of the air fryer.