Did the Boycott Matter to Black Friday Retail Sales?
The following post is from The Root. It was written by Danielle C. Belton.
By: Danielle C. Belton
Getting in the black got a bit harder for some retailers this holiday season, thanks to everyone from the retailers themselves to nationwide protests related to Ferguson, Mo.
In figures released Sunday by the National Retail Federation, sales were down 11 percent this past Thanksgiving weekend. That’s a nearly $7 billion drop in revenue since last year—from $57.4 billion to $50.9 billion.
Why the drop? Some blame stagnant wages in our recovering economy. Others credit online retailers with edging out Black Friday. But could it also be the nationwide protests over the nonindictment of former Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson? After a grand jury did not return an indictment against Wilson in the shooting death of teen Michael Brown, activists across the nation continued protests, including #ShutItDown, a series of protests targeting major retailers, shopping malls and areas of transit throughout the U.S.
One organizer does feel that the protests had an impact on declining sales.
“Boycotting Black Friday was something we’d been pushing for a while,” said T-Dubb-O, 26, a St. Louis-based hip-hop artist and activist who participated in Black Friday protests and was at the White House on Monday with several other Ferguson-related activists. “It wasn’t just something pushed locally. … It’s something we’ve been pushing [nationally]. The fact that other communities looked up and joined that fight, I’m not surprised.”
Saying that those involved in the Black Friday protests “wanted to make a bigger impact,” T-Dubb-O also said that retailers were specifically targeted as a way to bring the plight of communities of color to those least affected by police brutality: Madison Avenue and the consumers it targets.
“This country focuses on the power of the dollar more than anything, and corporations influence a lot of policy changes,” T-Dubb-O said, adding that organizers wanted retailers to know that they could not “continue to be fed from our pockets.”