The apparent poor turnout for Black Friday in the U.K. this year may be because some traditional retailers don't know how to manage the new landscape, according to the former chief executive of Tesco, one of the world's biggest retailers.
"Traditional retailers are unsure what to make of Black Friday. The kind of discounts which are around may still hit the bottom line," Terry Leahy, former chief executive of Tesco, told CNBC.
After a big boost to sales volumes last year, and scenes in the U.K. of shoppers getting into physical fights for the best bargains, this year's Black Friday seemed to attract fewer customers into shops, although online sales are believed to have performed better.
Leahy, who spent 14 years at the helm of the U.K.'s largest retailer before leaving in 2011, is credited with turning Tesco from also-ran to the dominant force on the country's retail scene, and the world's third largest retailer. Since his departure, the supermarket giant has suffered from declining profits and a scandal over alleged mis-stating of its accounts. Leahy has focused on start-up investments and is chairman of discount retailer B&M.
He was optimistic about the overall recovery of the U.K. consumer market, despite deflation or near-deflation in the country for most of the year.
"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," he predicted.
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