Former Tesco boss Terry Leahy told CNBC that this year’s low turnout for Black Friday was a result of traditional retailers’ inability to adapt to the new landscape.
“Traditional retailers are unsure what to make of Black Friday. The kind of discounts which are around may still hit the bottom line,” said Leahy.
Compared with 2014’s sales increase and scenes of violence breaking out for the best deals, this year’s Black Friday was tame. While store visits decreased, retailers made up for their losses with increased online sales.
Leahy, who held the Chief Executive position at Tesco for 14 years before his departure in 2011, is accredited for building the grocer into the dominant retailer it is today. Since stepping down, Tesco has suffered from declining sales profits and an accounts scandal last year. Leahy is now Chairman of discount chain B&M.
Although a poor turnout was recorded this Black Friday weekend, Leahy remains sanguine about the overall recovery of the UK consumer market.
“There is a strong consumer recovery, masked by deflation and the drop in oil prices. A lot of traditional mid-market retailers will be struggling with the deflation in their price list, bit the underlying consumer is strong, and that will continue into 2016,” Leahy predicted.