COMPANIES & STRATEGIES - RETAIL

4th Friday of November

Black Friday: what supporters and opponents say



Black Friday has succeeded in imposing itself on the Luxembourg commercial agenda and will be followed on Monday by "Cyber Monday", which focuses on online promotions. (Photo: Romain Gamba/Maison Moderne)

Black Friday has succeeded in imposing itself on the Luxembourg commercial agenda and will be followed on Monday by "Cyber Monday", which focuses on online promotions. (Photo: Romain Gamba/Maison Moderne)

Black Friday, a promotional operation originating in the United States, is taking root in Luxembourg's commercial calendar. However, some retailers are still resisting.

In shop windows, on the web, but also in advertisements: it is impossible to escape Black Friday. And although the event is technically only this Friday 25 November, it is tending to spread out over the calendar. "It's no longer Black Friday, but Black Weekend or Black Week," observes Marc Herber, president of the Luxembourg fashion federation Femo (Fédération luxembourgeoise de la Mode).

Coming straight from the United States, this day of promotional actions takes place the day after the Thanksgiving holiday and traditionally marks the start of the end-of-year shopping season. In Europe, the operation is increasingly becoming part of the commercial agenda, as is the following Monday's "Cyber Monday", which focuses on online promotions.

The temptation for retailers to follow the Black Friday trend is strong.

Marc HerberPresidentFemo

"The temptation is strong for retailers to follow the movement, so as not to lose customers who would opt for brands that offer Black Friday discounts," notes Herber. "Many customers are waiting for these Black Friday offers".

The Luxembourg City retailers union (UCVL) also supports and promotes the operation. "Black Friday has become an integral part of the commercial agenda and many international retailers are replacing their mid-season sales with Black Week," says Anne Darin, director of the UCVL. "The independent shops organise an action during the weekend instead,” she adds.

Combined with the capital's Christmas market and occuring ten days before Saint Nicholas' Day, the action is also an important vector of flow in the capital's shops.

Extended openings and events

Some shopping centres are playing the prolonged game this Friday 25 November with extended opening hours, until 9pm at the Cloche d'Or, until 10pm at Belval Plaza and even midnight at the Belle Etoile. Activities and competitions are planned throughout. And then, this Sunday 27 November is an exceptional Sunday opening day, the first of a long series before the end of year festivities and the winter sales.

But not all retailers are participating in Black Friday. This is the case, for example, of Smets, which specialises in the sale of luxury and top-of-the-range fashion items. "In our opinion, participating in Black Friday is an offence to the creative and manufacturing work of luxury houses,” explains Carine SmetsCarine Smets, founder of the Luxembourg family business.

However, the company will open the doors of its flagship store in Strassen on Sunday to meet the demand of customers who are keen to shop at the end of the year. "But it wouldn't make sense to give a discount on a product for a day or a weekend and then go back to the previous price the next day," the owner said.

Pall Center is also shunning Black Friday in favour of a Fashion Weekend, which runs from Friday to Sunday. The shop is announcing a 30% discount on a selection of fashion items.

An e-commerce giant in the firing line

Rituals has chosen to use Black Friday for other operations, offering a Green Friday with discounts only on refills - with a sustainable connotation - and not on its entire range of perfumes and hygiene products.

Faced with accusations of ultra-consumerism and environmental impact around the manufacture and transport of products, not to mention the question of their lifespan, Black Friday is starting to make some people cringe. On Friday at 3pm, a Make Amazon Pay rally is being organised at Place Clairefontaine to protest the working conditions and environmental impact of the e-commerce giant, which is heavily involved in Black Friday. 

The operation is jointly organised by Rise for Climate Luxembourg, OGBL, ASTM, Collectif Tax Justice Lëtzebuerg, Etika, déi Lénk, Attac Luxembourg and Youth for Climate Luxembourg.

This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.