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Black or not, Friday sales boom in Pakistan – Pakistan



KARACHI: The country celebrated its biggest Friday shopping bonanza of the year, with online retailers offering huge discounts as major stores and brands tried to compete with bumper sales.

Though this year’s Black Friday garnered too much negative publicity, with a viral social media campaign against it, the response to the sale was anything but subdued.

Retail stores at malls were offering up to 70 per cent discount on clothing items and up to 50pc on electronics – choosing to market it as ‘Blessed’ or ‘White’. Some retailers have continued the sales over the weekend. Online retailers were seen offering huge discounts for items ranging from crockery, TVs, mobile phones, etc. The newly launched app Veon offered a 32-inch LED for a little above Rs3,000, almost 87pc of its original price. The stock for the said item sold out within minutes.

Photos and videos shared on social media show that malls in three urban centres – Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad – had endless queues of cars with eager shoppers, mostly women. Not to be left behind were pizza and burger joints – slashing meal prices by more than 50pc.

Talking to Dawn, Naiyer Saifi, Director Marketing and Public Affairs for TCS Holdings, the parent company of Yayvo.com, said the company was anticipating sales of around Rs500 million from its ‘White Friday’, with at least 140,000 shipments from Yayvo.com.

“Add to it, we will also be handling deliveries for various other platforms, which will be around 500,000 at least,” he added.

When questioned if the connotation associated with Black Friday was affecting business, Mr Saifi said, “It’s a sensitive issue and there has been some strong backlash this year, with a writ petition already filed in the Islamabad High Court. However, pre-emptively, almost everyone changed the name to ‘Blessed Friday’, ‘White Friday’ or ‘Big Friday’,” he said, adding that, “For the past two years, there has been a huge awareness about Black Friday and people associate it with huge sales and were eagerly awaiting it.”

“It is business as usual and so far there has been a great response,” he stressed. “The bigger task now is delivering all these orders as 90pc of the deliveries are done by TCS.”

Sharing similar sentiments, Salah­uddin Mahmood, PR and Partnership manager at Daraz.pk, downplayed the Black Friday name controversy.

While Daraz.pk was instrumental in launching and massively publicising Black Friday in Pakistan 2015 onwards, it changed the name to ‘Big Friday’.

“The very people who are commenting on the issue are also the ones buying. This hasn’t affected the business aspect. People now know the term (Black Friday) means massive sales.”

“People rush towards good discounts, and in that scenario this day translates into big sales. If anything, it has created more awareness and more sales,” he stressed, adding that a culturally appropriate name was taken so that no one was offended.

On the sales front, Daraz.pk aims to cross the Rs1 billion benchmark set in 2016.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2017



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