James Moore: It really was a Black Friday, as retailers are discovering

Outlook: Andy Street wants shops to consider whether the discount day is such a good idea

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The Independent Online

John Lewis may not be alone in suffering a Black Friday hangover, and there are many who will feel a certain Schadenfreude at that.

One of the least welcome American imports to these shores, the discount day led to ugly scenes at stores up and down the country, and criticism of the retailers involved for failing to lay on sufficient security to cope.

It’s not only a few hapless shoppers that got bruised. A large number of people took advantage of the promotions touted on the day and did their Christmas shopping at the end of November rather than in December. In other words, retailers ended up cannibalising their own sales. And in some cases damaged their brands by struggling to get goods out to customers.

Now John Lewis’s managing director, Andy Street, wants shops to consider whether making the last Friday in November a discount day is such a good idea. A note of sanity at last? A sign that last year’s wretched free-for-all won’t be repeated?

Apparently not. Mr Street might be thinking about whether Black Friday is a bad idea for retailers but he says the genie is out of the bottle.

John Lewis is popular because it does things differently, and that shines through in its results. So perhaps Mr Street should have the confidence to follow the lead of the likes of Next and do things really differently next year by ignoring Black Friday altogether.

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