Independent businesses are "opting out" of Black Friday deals as they can't compete with big stores.

Each year the famous sales weekend sees shoppers head to stores in an attempt to find the best deals before the festive period.

But smaller businesses in Maldon aren't taking part saying they "can't compete" with larger businesses after the effects of lockdown.

Chair of Maldon business board and owner of Willow and Fox, Allison Gray said businesses had already taken a "huge financial blow".

She said: "The small independents cannot compete with the big chain stores, many of whom have been allowed to remain open.

"We don't have the purchasing power to enable us to offer such discounts and our profit margins are so much smaller.

"So, in a nutshell the majority of the independent businesses are opting out of Black Friday.

"Having been closed for a large proportion of the year we have already taken a huge financial blow.

"We hope the public understands and still wish to support us and we will promote any new initiatives as and when they happen."

Louise Harrison from Just the Thing said: "I really wish that we were in a position to offer our customers a Black Friday discount but unfortunately the timing could not be worse for a small independent business.

"We have had to shut our doors for four months this year and seen some of our Christmas sales already go to the larger stores that have been able to stay open during lockdown."

But despite businesses not taking part the high street remains positive that changes made throughout the pandemic will keep business booming.

Allison added: "What a year it's been for everyone. No one could have predicted the effect on our community and local businesses, however, we have seen great things happen to keep the local high street going.

"A great example of one that we've already done, is Fiver Fest which worked well for all involved.

"Our local independent shops and businesses have worked so hard to keep their businesses afloat and spent a great deal of money on PPE to ensure their premises are covid secure.

"We are so pleased to be reopening. Keeping our customers and staff safe is of the utmost importance."