NEWS28 November 2014

Friday turns black in the UK

News UK

UK — Despite some retailers’ websites crashing under the strain, as more UK retailers have embraced the US concept of Black Friday, today is set to be the biggest yet.


In 2013, Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving – supposedly named as it is the point at which American retailers begin to turn a profit, or go ‘into the black’ – is estimated by Mintel to have generated about £100 million sales in the UK with this year further exceeding that.

However, John Mercer, Mintel’s European retail analyst said the sales bonanza has to be seen in the context of the Christmas shopping period.

“Given major retailers like Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Shop Direct will be joining in this year, we think the value of the event could grow by between 80% and 100% for 2014. So the figures sound big, but even £100m was equivalent to only 0.4% of all November 2013’s retail sales.

“And a chunk of Black Friday sales will be Christmas spending pulled forward. With the date falling at the very end of November, it stands to capture some early Christmas shoppers on, or very shortly after, their November payday. So the event really serves as a kick-start to Christmas shopping season,” he said.

The two areas that tend to enjoy a particular Black Friday boost are electrical and online shopping. For instance, on Black Friday 2013 John Lewis said it doubled its previous record for a single day’s online purchases.

This year, some businesses appear to have struggled to cope with the online demand with reports of Argos, Tesco and Curry’s websites all crashing at various points.

“Black Friday is likely to be here to stay but it won’t reach the scale of the January Sales or the summer Sales – the date has no relevance to UK shoppers. In the UK it’s just another Friday. For retailers, we think its fundamental purpose is to kick-start the Christmas shopping season,” added Mercer.