Marketing is the heart of any business and discounts have proved to be one of the most lucrative steps to increase the profits and brand visibility. As the brand visibility increases and the words spread, sales also steadily increase. Discounting has become an art of selling and more than any other day, it is Black Friday that results in record breaking footfalls in Canada, UK and the United States. Clothing retail stores like Wal-Mart, Macy's and e-retailers like Amazon have attracted large crowds on Black Friday in past years. The astounding discount per cent on apparel on Black Friday is a strategy that has resulted in increased sales. In 2012, apparel stores in the US offered average discount of 36 per cent on Black Friday, which was almost 50 per cent rise since 2009; the deals of 2014 are expected to remain equivalent or exceed that increase.


A discount rush to catch fancy


The prices, together with growing consumerism, have changed the concept of Black Friday shopping into a smart and well-equipped money making phenomenon. The apparel stores have recognised the opportunity that this day offers, and fashion stores both physical and online are making most of it. While customers do not need discounts or sale to go out for shopping, discounts are merely highlighted to catch the fancy of prospective customers, who do not realise that savings on Black Friday are not much as compared to daily prices of clothes. According to FactSet research system, in order to keep the profit margin stable, many apparel retail stores factor the discounts into original pricing. The reality is that Black Friday discounts lure customers to pay reasonable value for garments.


The high-end brands like Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, Liberty, etc, are yet to become a part of huge circle of retail stores that offer discounts on Black Friday. The discount phenomenon that is seen as a lucrative marketing strategy was criticised by Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld, who labelled the idea as degrading for shoppers who pay the full price for products. Apparel retailers of Canada were also forced to introduce Black Friday concept, following the fear of cross border shopping. But, this year in Canada, sales for apparel industry reflect rising restrain on part of customers. This will likely be seen in Black Friday apparel sales too. Canadian apparel retailers are not ready as yet to offer wide range of discounts on products, thus, even if some garments will have a decent discount rate, it's unlikely to extend for many products. It is predicted that discount ploy of Black Friday in Canada is more of a propaganda that will result in limited revenue this year.


The UK angle


The scene in the UK is slightly different. Black Friday, which originally started in the US, has taken over the United Kingdom's apparel market, as well. Last few years have resulted in increased sales volume and garnered good profits, which has resulted in more apparel retail players keen on participating in Black Friday sale. John Lewis, online director Mark Lewis, shared that Black Friday 2013 attracted traffic that was fourteen times more than anything the brand has ever witnessed. This year John Lewis is offering hundred proactive deals, both in store and online. Another brand that plans to capitalise on this day is Marks & Spencer, which estimates sale of approximately 1.7 million products online.