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‘Black Friday’ sees weak sales in wake of war on Gaza, economic uncertainty

By Rayya Al Muheisen - Dec 02,2023 - Last updated at Dec 02,2023

photo courtesy of unsplash.com

AMMAN — Jordan experienced a stark contrast this year as some trade sector representatives reported weak sales on Black Friday, according to trade sector representatives. 

The relentless aggression on Gaza has cast a dark shadow over the Jordanian market, with consumers opting to abstain from shopping. Despite the hesitancy among retailers to embrace the term "Black Friday”, the economic conditions fuelled by the ongoing conflict have left businesses grappling with unprecedented challenges.

In the face of prevailing political challenges, retailers had hoped that the allure of Black Friday discounts would stimulate consumer interest. However, a significant number of establishments continued to resist labelling the sales as "Black Friday". This symbolic resistance stemmed from a belief that participating in an event linked to consumerism contradicted the need to raise awareness about the ongoing strife in Gaza.

Rebhi Allan, jewelry shops owners' association president, expressed deep concern over the “weak” sales during what is traditionally a bustling retail season, particularly for diamonds and precious metals. 

"The continuous turmoil in Gaza has undoubtedly affected consumer confidence, leading to a significant decline in jewelry sales,” Allan told The Jordan Times. 

Allan added that people are hesitant to indulge in luxury purchases when the region is grappling with such distressing events.

“Black Friday coincided with the first day of the truce, and sales were very close to last year’s,” Sharaf Hayajneh, furniture sector representative at the Amman Chamber of Commerce (ACC) told The Jordan Times.

"The furniture sector experienced a notable upturn last weekend; people were excited over the truce and discount sales,” said Hayajneh. 

The uncertainty surrounding the war on Gaza and its implications on the overall economy have led consumers to postpone big-ticket purchases. The timing of the truce served the commerce sector “big time”, said Hayajneh. 

Economist Khaled Salameh told The Jordan Times that the web of challenges faced by the retail sector in Jordan underscores the broader impact of geopolitical events on local economies. 

The cumulative effect of diminished consumer confidence, economic uncertainty, and a conscious effort to avoid the term "Black Friday" resulted in a subdued shopping atmosphere throughout the country, said Salameh. 

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