Retailers rejoice as Black Friday looms

Myer Melbourne general manager Loucinda McCorry promoting the Black Friday sales at the Bourke Street store on Thursday. Picture: Stuart McEvoy
Myer Melbourne general manager Loucinda McCorry promoting the Black Friday sales at the Bourke Street store on Thursday. Picture: Stuart McEvoy
The Australian,

The nation’s large and small retailers, both in suburban shopping centres and online, are jostling for $2.9bn in consumer spending over the next four days as the American shopping holidays of Black Friday and Cyber Monday become an Australian tradition.

In the US the twin sales events bookend the weekend directly after the Thanksgiving holiday, and Australia consumers have adopted the shopping event.

The excitement among retailers comes from the fact Australians are expected to spend an extra 20 per cent on the period spanning Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with foot traffic at key centres also tipped to boom.

Latest data from National Australia Bank shows the event appears to be spanning four days, extending into Cyber Monday, and that in total $2.9bn is expected to be spent. On Black Friday alone, about $860m is expected to be spent by Australians, NAB predicts, about 30 per cent more than a typical Friday.

And the spending continues to increase each year. In 2019, Australian shoppers are expected to spend an additional $73m over the weekend with almost half of this, $35m, likely to be spent on Black Friday.

All the retailers are getting into the act, from supermarkets to department stores, consumer electronics and online retailers. The businesses that are traditionally boosted by the four-day sales event include department stores ($774m estimated to be spent in 2019), electronics ($237m) and homewares stores ($267m), according to NAB.

Chadstone Shopping Centre, the biggest centre in the southern hemisphere, is bracing for a 20 per cent lift in foot traffic for Black Friday. It has been an early adopter of the holiday sales after initiating a promotional program around four years ago.

Meanwhile, the Australian Cyber Security Centre has warned consumers to be mindful of online fraud and shopping scams over the festive season.

“The Australian Cyber Security Centre receives one cybercrime report every 10 minutes from individuals and businesses. The most common types of cybercrime reported are identity theft, online fraud, shopping scams, online romance scams and business email compromise,’’ the organisation said on Thursday.

“Many of the steps to stay safe this holiday season are practical and simple. This includes using strong but different passwords on important online accounts, and avoiding online payments by direct bank transfer or other unusual methods (such as bitcoin) because many scams will ask people to pay this way.”

The centre also advised Australians to be cautious about new or unknown retail websites.