Retailers report ‘decent’ Black Friday sales but levels still fall shy of pre-COVID year

Black Friday sales were ‘decent’ with some businesses reaching expectations but sales still fall shy of 2019 levels

Businesses reported better sales on Black Friday this year when compared with 2020
Businesses reported better sales on Black Friday this year when compared with 2020

Retailers have reported “decent” Black Friday sales as they recorded improvements over last year, the Malta Chamber of SMEs said.

However, sales levels still fell shy of 2019, an indication that consumption has not yet overcome the ill-effects of COVID-19.

“Whilst the absolute majority of businesses did better than they did in 2020, some reached closer to their expectations of coming close to 2019 than others. It is clear that Malta's economy is still suffering the effects of COVID and also other challenges coupled with this,” the Chamber of SMEs said.

It noted that gadgets, electronics and appliances remained the most popular with businesses changing strategy and making their offers available on a longer stretch of time.

Businesses in this category will reach their expectations and some leading players “wished they had more stock in hand to sell”, the Chamber of SMEs said.

Other categories had a slower start to Black Friday but started picking up later in the afternoon.

Sales levels in these categories fell somewhere between 2019 and 2020 levels. “Some business owners report they are satisfied with a good performance while others expected better this year around,” the statement said.

Commenting on the initial findings, the Chamber of SMEs said the challenges businesses had to overcome this year were not small.

“It is clear that businesses need a sales cycle that is closer to normality in order to make up for the hard months which are now behind us… The impact of international shipping did not make it easy for our businesses to be stocked to the ideal levels, this of course apart from the cost incurred,” the lobby group said.

The heavy storm on Thursday, the chamber added, did not make last-minute re-stocking for Black Friday possible and, shopping on the day was disrupted.