If you feel like you’re drowning in Black Friday offers, you’re not dreaming – Australia’s retail sector has amped up discounts this year like never before and shoppers are expected to splash out $6.2 billion on bargains over the next four days.
With the easing of pandemic-induced global supply chain hurdles this year, retailers have been able to bring in stock more easily and offer better discounts across a broader range of products than in the past two COVID years.
Retailers have been able to plan early for this sales event – which could be a last hurrah before spending tightens. Credit:Louise Kennerley
“Shipping and component issues have eased, and we are in a much stronger position,” said the general manager of electronics retailer Bing Lee, Peter Harris.
Unlike last year, where electronics suppliers offered deals across a narrower range of stock, he said brands had more freedom to increase the breadth of offers this year.
“Everyone is playing as hard as ever and suppliers have come to the party,” Harris said.
E-commerce platforms said while securing enough stock had still been a headache, the memory of the past few years’ challenges led brands to start planning sales campaigns early.
“While supply chain challenges are still being experienced by some Australian businesses, with Black Friday becoming such a big retail moment and Christmas around the corner, many have planned ahead and increased inventory to cater to high consumer demand,” eBay Australia’s Sophie Onikul said.
This month, the ASX-listed coffee machine giant Breville told investors it had been able to weather the storm of global instability and lockdowns in China to ensure it had enough inventory to service all its markets over the next few months. JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman are also optimistic about momentum in the lead-up to Christmas.
Chadstone centre manager Daniel Boyle is preparing to welcome 100,000 customers to the shopping centre in Melbourne’s south-east on Friday and agrees that wider economic factors are helping retailers broaden their deals this year.
“The supply chains haven’t completely normalised, but our partners are certainly in a much better position that this time last year. They are very well-prepared,” he said.
“The other thing that has been improving is the availability of retail staff – and filling of positions. That is great news for the customers.”
A last hurrah for spending?
The Australian Retailers Association is tipping consumers will fork out $6.2 billion over the next four days as shoppers bring their spending forward in hopes of finding a bargain.
Surveys of Australian shoppers show more consumers are gearing up to take part this year and they have big expectations. A survey of 1038 consumers by accounting platform MYOB suggests 63 per cent of consumers intend to shop the sales this week, up from 50 per cent last year.
More than 40 per cent of these shoppers said they were relying on the event to help them save money on their Christmas shops.
This points to another reason the retail sector is looking to go big on promotions – they know consumers are struggling with cost of living pressures and want good deals if they’re going to spend this December.
“There is no doubt that cost of living pressures and interest rates are yet to bite,” ARA boss Paul Zahra said at the start of the month.
For retail analysts, the bet is that once we all exchange gifts this year, we’re likely to give our credit cards a rest.
“We expect a material slowing through financial year 2023 and remain cautious on, in particular, household goods names such as JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and Nick Scali,” Jarden analysts said in a note this month.
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