A SOLIHULL town centre fashion retailer is shunning Black Friday sales gimmicks and donating a percentage of its profits to a local charity instead.
Fat Face clothing, which has a store on Mill Lane, disagrees with Black Friday discounting and refuses to take part in the annual retail event.
Instead, the Solihull store donated almost £500 – a percentage of profits taken during the Black Friday period – to SoLO, which helps people of all ages with learning disabilities to enjoy leisure and social activities.
Black Friday is an American retail promotion, which is now widespread in the UK, and heralds the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season with sales discounts and promotions.
It was named Black Friday because it marks the end of the financial year and a time when retailers slash prices to attempt to get their accounts from the red and into the black.
Fat Face Solihull Assistant Manager Zoe Bagley, who has been with the retailer for more than nine years, explained why the charity initiative is so important to the retailer’s brand and ethos.
“We don’t really agree with the discounting and customers expecting them. As a company we try to stay strong and not discount as other brands do,” said Zoe.
“We’re trying to get people away from expecting everything to be half price all the time because we don’t believe it is doing the economy any good.
“Instead we gave money to SoLO and to our own charity – the Fat Face Foundation – to try to help improve the lives of people in the countries in which we have factories or other connections, such as contributions to the earthquake in Nepal.
“We asked everybody who came in and spent money with us during Black Friday which charity they would like to support, whether it was our Foundation, or SoLO.
“When combined with the collection bucket we had at the cash till this came to almost £500 for SoLO.
“Across the whole company’s 230 stores we shared almost £100,000 evenly to local charities.
“Our community relationships mean a lot to the store and SoLO has very similar values to us. We believe in enjoying life beyond the nine-to-five, which is something SoLO is trying to do for people who might not have the means or ability to do it themselves.
“We think they really deserve some support.”
Stuart Adams, Business Development Manager at SoLO, said: “We work to support people with learning disabilities with a range of day and evening services and all sorts of activities for people from the age of four up to pensioners.
“As we face ongoing budget cuts we rely heavily on the support of retailers and organisations like Fat Face.
“We work with some of the most disadvantaged people in the community to give them opportunities the rest of us take for granted and we would like to say a massive thank you for the support from Fat Face.”