This year, chains such as Dille & Kamille and Xandres will not participate in Black Friday (25 November). Instead of offering extreme discounts on their products, they will keep their doors closed to encourage customers to think about their consumption habits.
Originally a US initiative, the Black Friday shopping day is becoming increasingly popular in Europe with many shops offering large discounts (sometimes even for the whole weekend or week). However, some companies and brands are distancing themselves from the day they call "the high mass of consumption."
"For us, happiness is not in discounts but in doing something good for nature," Dille & Kamille announced on social media. "On Friday 25 November, the day of Black Friday worldwide, we will close all our shops as well as the online shop. On this day, we do volunteer work in nature."
Dille & Kamille hopes that customers will think consciously about whether they really need something new. "Don't buy something just because it's cheap. Not buying anything is cheaper than the best discount."
'More, more, more'
The store was founded in 1974 in response to the emerging disposable society, Hans Geels of Dille & Kamille explained on Flemish radio on Wednesday. "Our issue with Black Friday is not so much the discounts but the fact that the day is all about 'more, more, more'."
The company stressed that this is not an advertising stunt as Black Friday is usually the best Friday of the year in terms of sales, especially with Sinterklaas and Christmas just around the corner. "Our DNA is in sensible consumption. This seemed like the perfect day to highlight that, although it is a very strong day for commerce."
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The Belgian fashion company Xanders is also keeping its doors and webshop closed on 25 November, citing similar reasons.
"We don't pretend to be more Catholic than the Pope, selling is what we do. But we don't agree that the speed and quantity of the fashion industry is okay," Xandres sustainability manager Jasmien Wynants said.
"Black Friday is a high mass of overconsumption where we are tempted by bargains and buy things we do not need and hardly even wear," she added. "When it comes to clothes, we don't always consider how much time and resources have gone into producing them and our respect for them is undermined by very low prices."