Consumers’ spending intentions have been running three weeks behind last year, Asda chiefs have revealed.
They hope Black Friday will kick-start more typical shopping patterns, which have been disrupted by the warm autumn.
Asda chief customer officer Stephen Smith said the grocer’s consumer research indicated that people’s spending mindset was behind last year primarily because of unseasonable weather.
A hot September followed by the warmest Halloween on record at the end of October meant that winter and Christmas seemed a more distant prospect to shoppers as they sunned themselves. He said spending intentions were behind last year on categories ranging from fashion to toys.
However, he observed that yesterday’s ONS retail sales data, showing a bigger than expected rise in volumes of 0.8%, gave grounds for optimism. “It’s starting to look like it’s moving,” he said.
Smith believed next week’s Black Friday promotion would bring consumers out in droves. Asda pioneered the promotion, a US import, in its stores last year when stores were mobbed by bargain hunters.
He said: “People are holding off. It’s going to be a lot bigger than last year and we own it.”
After the scale of consumer demand for Black Friday deals at Asda stores last year the retailer has spent months planning how to ensure the day passes smoothly and safely for customers.