Independent retailers in the UK are steadfastly opting out of the Black Friday sales frenzy for the third consecutive year, as revealed by a recent survey conducted by the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira).

The survey disclosed that 86% of independent retailers surveyed are steering clear of Black Friday, mirroring the sentiment from three years ago when 85% abstained.

Bira, which represents more than 6,000 independent businesses, emphasised that the decision to boycott Black Friday stems from “concerns about the dominance of large retailers and e-commerce giants.” 

A resolute stand against Black Friday

Expressing their commitment, 69% of respondents declared that Black Friday has a ‘negative impact’ on the high street, with 67% having never participated in the event. 

Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, underscored the consistent stance, stating: “It’s not about our shops lacking competitive pricing, but rather a strategic move to support the high street and foster economic growth for all.”

Small retailers face challenges competing with larger counterparts during the event, as it is perceived as a big business, internet-driven occasion.

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Celebrating independence with alternative events 

Comments from survey participants highlighted a preference for alternative events such as Colour Friday, initiated by’s founder, Holly Tucker MBE. Bira said Colour Friday focuses on celebrating the creativity and uniqueness that small businesses bring to the table. 

Bira’s recent #LoveYourHighStreetWeek further underscores its dedication to championing local communities and supporting independent retail. 

Bira encourages Small Business Saturday participation

Bira is currently shifting its focus to Small Business Saturday (SBS) on 2 December, urging its members to actively engage.

Small Business Saturday, which began in 2013, has become a significant platform for supporting local businesses and Bira said it has evolved into a movement that amplifies the voices of small businesses throughout the year.

Goodacre emphasised the significance of Small Business Saturday, providing an extra opportunity for retailers to thrive during the festive period.

“As it is the first Saturday in December it also provides an extra opportunity to retailers to make the most of the busy festive period.

“Bira has supported SBS for many years and each year we want to make it bigger and stronger, even more so this year as retailers are facing the most difficult economic conditions,” said Goodacre.