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Customer behaviour is changing – as customers and as consumers we are developing rapidly. The way we choose where to spend our money is changing, and this means our requirements to retailers are changing, too. It is no longer enough to have a physical presence or a big billboard. Read more

Boxing Day, the day after Christmas day, got its name from the tradition of giving servants and tradespeople gifts on this day – known as a Christmas box – from their boss or their employer. The day is observed as a bank holiday in most Commonwealth nation, but known by other names too. In South Africa it is called Day of Goodwill, and in Roman Catholic tradition it is known as St. Stephen’s Day. Elsewhere, e.g. in Scandinavia, the day is simply known as the Second Day of Christmas.

These days the term Boxing Day has little of its original meaning left, as very few of us have servants. Instead, the day is becoming one of the big shopping days of the year – when the shops start their sale and Christmas presents are to be returned. This is especially true in north America, but Boxing Day sales are becoming more and more common elsewhere too. In England, the day is primarily known for its sporting events – both Premier League Football, the Scottish PRemiership and the Northern Ireland Premiership have a full program of matches on this day – as do the rugby leagues. It is also an important day in the hunting calendar in the UK and the US, and for Cricket in Australia.

Regardless of where you are – Boxing Day is a day to get out of the house and engage in other activities. In many countries Boxing Day eve is the first evening where it is appropriate to leave family behind and meet up with friends, a much needed break from crowded homes and close families. Have a look at our suggestions and see which you prefer – whatever you do, some air and space may be just what you need to last through the rest of the holiday with all family members intact.

Go for a walk

A brisk walk, a slow walk, uphill or indoors in a shopping mall – take your pick. Fresh air and some gentle movement is good not only for your temper but for your body too, following days of rich Christmas foods and drinks.

Go skiing

If you are spending the holidays in snowy parts of the world, put your skis on and head out. Skiing is the perfect holiday activity and is bound to leave you exhausted in a very good way.

Go to the cinema

Hollywood tend to plan their big releases around Boxing Day – book your family tickets and spend some quality time together without the need for talking. Our best suggestions – The Imitation Game, The Hobbit or The Theory of Everything.

Go shopping

Not for the faint-hearted, but if the shops are open you might want to go have look in the sales and return presents. Many ‘experts’ say you should avoid the beginning of the sales, but they tend to get more crowded later on due to bigger reductions and less family obligations, so you might just be better off going today.

What do you normally do on Boxing Day? Let us know in the comments. We plan to go sledging!

Black Friday is the day after American Thanksgiving, the fourth Thursday on November, and has in the last decade become the biggest shopping event of the year. Major retailers are eager to kick of the holiday shopping season which means Black Friday is a day for spectacular offers, leading to masses of spend-thrifty shoppers hitting the stores. It is comparable to Boxing Day as is observed by Britain and much of the commonwealth.

Black Friday is becoming increasingly more important for business this side of the pond too –  news channels are already reporting extreme conditions in shops and supermarkets due to the masses hunting the best offers.

The term Black Friday has several possible origins; one stems from Philadelphia in the 1960s, the term used to describe the huge masses of pedestrians the day after Thanksgiving. An alternative explanation refers to Black Friday as the start of profit making – the first day shops go from the red to the black in the books (from loss to profit). Both explanations make sense; masses of shoppers looking for good deals naturally lead to good results for retailers.

In America retailers traditionally open their doors extra early on Black Friday – as early as 5 or 6 am is not uncommon and camping outside the shops to be the first ones in was popular to the degree that the practice got banned as a result of the safety risk this posed – with masses of people blocking roads, access to hydrants and emergency exits.

With many retailers offering some serious discounts – often around 70% – there is no wonder the day has become exceptionally popular with both retailers and consumers, perfectly timed to start the shopping for the upcoming season.

If you’re headed out there, we suggest you brace yourself with a triple fill of patience, sharp elbows and optimism. Think of it as the Hunger Games of shopping – you need to be clever and strong and persevere in times of difficulty (ie. when you are trapped in a flood of moving shoppers going the opposite way you want, when the toddler behind you decides to test his or her lung capacity or when the staff is demonstrating How Not to be Efficient – a treat often saved for the busiest of times!).

Happy shopping!

It’s that time of year again – typically the busiest time of year for anyone in retail. We’re still in November – but December isn’t far away and to make the final month of the year as smooth as possible for you and your employees, there are a few things you should think about already.

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Last year British shoppers spent an astonishing £7.9bn online at Christmas, and online spending is likely to increase even further during the festive period this year. This means that spending is moving from the physical stores of our high streets to the internet. It follows that all retailers but especially those which are independent are facing a big challenge to increase consumer spending in-store. Read more