UK retailers set for Black Friday sales record

Bargain hunters are expected to spend freely today, on the high street and online.

Bargain hunters are expected to spend freely today, on the high street and online. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA - Credit: PA

Retail spending on Britain’s high streets and online is expected to reach nearly £1.4billion today as “Black Friday” continues to capture the imagination of UK consumers.

The Centre for Retail Research expects online purchases to total £966million, with spending at bricks and mortar stores likely to take the total to £1.39billion.

Data group Experian-IMRG believes online spending alone could reach £1.07bn, which would represent a 32% increase on last year’s Black Friday total of £810m and make today the first day ever where online retail sales in the UK have topped £1bn.

Visa Europe, meanwhile, predicts that shoppers will spend £721m online on its cards on today, up from £616m last year.

Black Friday began in the Unites States where it falls on the day after the Thanksgiving holiday – the fourth Thursday in November – and traditionally marks the start of the Christmas shopping season.

An uplift in online sales on the Monday following Thanksgiving has more recently seen it dubbed as Cyber Monday, with the entire extended four-day weekend becoming a key event in the retail calendar.

The Centre for Retail Research believes that sales in the UK over the period could reach £3.49bn this year.

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However, police have warned shops offering Black Friday deals to make sure they have adequate security in place, with last year having seen chaos at a number of stores as crowds grappled for cut-price big-ticket items, and consumer groups have warned shoppers to check regular prices, to ensure that “special” offers represent genuine bargains.