By Aglaia Staff

The Christmas shopping season will kick off in earnest as British retailers bid to kickstart spending by adopting the American tradition of “Black Friday” discounting.

The first weekend in December is always a high spending period as the nation collects its last pay packet before Christmas Day. Online retailers are used to seeing a surge in sales on “Cyber Sunday” and “Mega Monday” as shoppers try to ensure they get the presents they want delivered in time for the big day.

But now the US tradition of Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when shops slash prices to encourage sales, is gathering pace in the UK. It is being driven by US retailers with a foot on this side of the Atlantic including Apple, Amazon and Asda, which are offering special discounts.


Amazon has been offering discounts all week while Asda, owned by US retailer Walmart, is planning a sale in its stores including offers of up to 70% off a range of products including plasma TVs and tablets. John Lewis is running a one-day Black Friday sale in stores and online partly because Apple will be offering discounts and its “never knowingly undersold” price pledge means it must match cheaper prices elsewhere. Apple’s iPad Air is expected to be one of the department store’s bestsellers this Christmas.

Andrew Moore, Asda’s chief merchandising officer for general goods, said: “The last weekend in November is always a critical trading period in retail and with our Black Friday deals – a first for a UK supermarket – we’re anticipating the busiest shopping day of the year so far.” He said Asda would also be offering online deals on Monday.

The focus on discounting during retailers’ biggest sales period when many stores make the majority of their annual profits is a risky new trend. It comes as retailers expect shoppers to spend £40.3bn in the runup to Christmas. That total is just 3.5% more than last year, as wage rises have failed to keep up with inflation.

More than 25m British consumers are expected to spend in pre-Christmas sales this year, spending an average £174 each according to research from RedEye, which claims that more than half of shoppers will shun the January sales in favour of finding discounts in November and December.

Mark Patron, chief executive of RedEye, said: “Britain has become a nation of discount junkies.”

Mark Lewis, online director at John Lewis, said that the retailer had decided to launch its own deals this year, as well as price-matching competitors’ discounts, because the Black Friday idea was catching on with British shoppers.

“Black Friday has really caught the imagination of our customers. Last year we felt they really engaged with it and so we would go a step further.”

He said that interest would kick off early in the morning as shoppers used their mobile phones to get the best deals as soon as they woke up in the same way as they did during the recent launches of the games console XBox One and Apple’s latest gadget, the iPad Air. Online sales are expected to peak on Sunday and Monday, but shoppers are increasingly prepared to spend closer to Christmas as delivery services become more reliable. Many stores will now deliver up until 23 December.



 High Street Unveils American Style Shopping
share save 171 16 High Street Unveils American Style Shopping