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Retailers face conflicting priorities as holiday shopping season begins

Black Friday shoppers wait in line to check out at the Nebraska Furniture Mart store in Omaha, Neb., Friday, Nov. 23, 2018. In Vancouver, some people are planning to stage a clothing swap in opposition to Black Friday buying. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Nati Harnik
Summary

The demand to not purchase doesn't seem to be impacting big box retailers at this point

David Ian Gray with retail consultant DIG-360 notes a sustainable approach to Black Friday isn't mainstream yet

Some people are planning to stage a clothing swap in downtown Vancouver in opposition to Black Friday buying

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Has your attitude toward Black Friday buying shifted at all with more focus on climate over the last several months?

As holiday shopping starts Thursday night, some stores are choosing to sit out the day, and some demonstrators will be in Downtown Vancouver holding a clothing swap as a sort of protest.

However, David Ian Gray with retail consultant DIG-360 says the retailers taking that stance tend to already be identified as values-based.

“In terms of the big mass, big box sellers, they are meeting a demand and their business is predicated on buying and of selling,” Gray says.

“The mass sellers have to meet the demand of their clientele, and their clientele are looking for product.”

He explains retailers face conflicting priorities: the expectation of offering deals, but also the realization that if they do in a big way, they’ll also lose in a big way.

He adds there are opportunities for how retailers can be good societal players, but at the end of the day, they’re doing their job selling products at affordable prices.

Multiple anti-Black Friday events are planned throughout Vancouver. The Sustainabiliteens are planning an “intervention” through a rally and clothing swap in front of Pacific Centre.

Meanwhile, people protesting consumerism are participating in Buy Nothing Day, while Extinction Rebellion Vancouver will be hosting a “Black Friday: Funeral for Extinction.”

With files from Alison Bailey, Mike Lloyd, Hana Mae Nassar, Martin MacMahon and, Nikitha Martins