Black Friday sales. Picture: REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger
Black Friday sales. Picture: REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger

Not all businesses tried to make a buck off Black Friday. A few shops in Joburg’s 44 Stanley precinct, for example, decided to steer well clear.

Elizabeth Kading, owner of Five8ths, says the handmade shirts her shop sells "cost what they cost".

"They take many hours to create. Each of them is a work of art, so we don’t push up the price to offer sales at a later time."

She also raises concerns about the ethics of production — ensuring that those who contribute to the supply chain earn decent wages.

It’s a point echoed by Nicola Luther, owner of fashion retailer Lunar. "We work our pricing out based on labour and our fabric cost. We don’t have huge margins, and we pay our labour fair wages."

Unlike large retailers, which mass-produce their products, Luther says her niche, handmade items don’t generate sufficient margin for huge discounts.

"The cost is directly related to the labour," she says. "It’s not like a big factory … it’s to respect the time the individual put in — to not commoditise that."

After five years of participating in Black Friday — and being "put under extreme pressure to mark down stock" — Mr Vinyl owner Bret Dugmore has "dropped the concept". Instead, he’s focusing on birthday specials for his record store, which he says offers him "freedom and flexibility to extend beyond the traditional concept of Black Friday".

"We have DJs playing; we make a whole event out of our birthday … There are a whole lot of records that we are marking down by 50%. Those are proper sales."