Anthony Thompson, the Chief Executive of clothing retailer Fat Face, is planning to donate to local charities instead of offering steep discounts on ‘Black Friday’ in the run-up to Christmas.
Speaking to The Guardian, Thompson said:
“Cynical discounting is not a sustainable model for UK retail. It leads to a lack of creativity, newness in fashion and joy”.
He plans for the company to donate up 10% of net profits taken over the weekend at the end of November to local charities near its stores. This could total £250,000.
Fat Face did not take part in Black Friday in 2014, despite the growing popularity of the sales initiative that now dominates retail in the USA in the period before Christmas.
Clash with Giving Tuesday?
Thompson told The Guardian that he hoped to see other retailers adopting his idea. He said:
“I would love everyone to rip this off. There’s a good reason for doing something that kicks off the season and why not celebrate by helping worthy causes rather than discounting”.
The introduction of charitable giving to Black Friday, if it takes off, might dilute the impact of Giving Tuesday, an initiative that promotes giving to charity and that is designed specifically to contrast with the more materialistic focus of Black Friday. Giving Tuesday, launched in the USA by Henry Timms of 92nd Street Y and adopted by thousands of nonprofits and organisations, ran for the first time in the UK in 2014 and will run again this year.
On the other hand, assuming many retailers retain the steep discounting approach to drive sales, then Fat Face’s pioneering move could help make two days at the beginning of the Christmas shopping season benefit charities, rather than just one.
* Does your charity have a Fatface shop nearby? It might be worth asking the manager when they might choose the local charity/ies to benefit from this scheme.
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