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Last weekend retailers engaged in ‘Black Friday’, an American-inspired occasion that comes a day after Thanksgiving on which special discounts are offered.
Nicolas Chammas, Chairman of the Beirut Traders Association, expects this year’s Black Friday sales to reach $200 million.
Local retailers have slightly shifted the concept, extending the occasion over three to four days, rather than just one.
Chammas said that Black Friday became a trend in the U.S. during the recession in the 1950's and then became tradition. “Locally, discounts are being done throughout the year. This situation has been going on since 2011, when sales dropped by 30 percent”, said Chammas.
Discounts during Black Friday ranged between ten and 70 percent. “The danger is that discounts reach December and affect the season’s sales,” he said. Chammas said that the occasion crushes the profit margins of traders and retailers, consequently affecting their investment and employment abilities.
Charles Arbid, Chairman of the Lebanese Franchise Association encourages the occasion, saying that it is an incentive for consumers, especially because it works up their appetite to spend.
Khoury Home was one of the first retailers to launch Black Friday.
Joy Yazbeck, Marketing Manager at Khoury Home, said: “We can make large discounts on a big number of items because we are the agents of 12 different brands. We compensate for the low profit margin with the big sales volume.”
Yazbeck described the four-day occasion as a “big success.” Khoury Home made $5 million in 2015 and $10 million in 2016 over Black Friday. He said: “We expect to make $12 to $15 million in sales this year.”
The event constitutes close to ten percent of overall annual sales. “We have discounts all year round, such as Red Week,” he said.
Mohammad Daouk, Retail Manager at hair and beauty products trader Izzat Daouk, said that they offer large discounts, especially on slow moving items and products that have not been sold for over a year. “This event provides us with enough cash flow to buy merchandise for Christmas.” December constitutes 40 to 50 percent of Izzat Daouk’s annual sales.
The retailer has reduced the prices of some items to lower than their cost. “We make two to three times more sales than normal business day”, he said.
Izzat Daouk received 20,000 visitors during the weekend.
Reported by Fouad Chehab and Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Nov 27, 2017