Brought to the UK by Amazon in 2010, Black Friday has become a retail phenomenon and has grown dramatically in the past few years. Our American counterparts have been using the term since 1961 and religiously hit the sales on what’s considered the busiest shopping day of the year. With some stores in the US opening on the evening of Thanks Giving, and others opening in the early hours of the morning on Black Friday, they’re all eager to be the first to reach consumers with their discounted offerings.

As the UK are warming up to the idea, which brands are adjusting their retailing tactics to accommodate to the trend that took 30 years to catch on in the US?

  • John Lewis – forget the Boxing Day sales, Black Friday is set to be their Oxford Street store’s longest retailing day as they open stores at 8am and stay open until 10pm. We’re betting the best buys will be snapped up within the first few hours.
  • Sainsbury’s – participating for the first time, the Supermarket will offer discounts in as many as 485 of its stores with its 24 hour branches starting the price cuts at as early as 1am.
  • Asda – as one of the first retailers to embrace the American trend, Asda have had time to adjust to the demand and are prepared with several thousands of staff ready to work extra hours and have increased the number of discounted products on offer by 40% in comparison to 2013.
  • House of Fraser – starting early, the department store is offering up to 40% discounts on Thursday across fashion, beauty and home before bumping it up to dramatic 70% on Friday.

A sign of things to come?

Last year Amazon witnessed 4 million orders on Black Friday, which was a record for a single day in the UK and we can guarantee that it won’t be too different this Friday. Every year more and more retailers are submitting to the attractions of the retail phenomenon and, as warmer weather has led to a slump in sales, it’s the perfect opportunity to boost in-store spend.

Nevertheless, some high-end retailers are choosing to steer clear of the Black Friday clearances as they prioritise their brand’s image over the flash sales opportunity. Alongside Black Friday, the notion that ‘fashion doesn’t do discounts’ is beginning to take precedence and some retailers see sales as tarnishing to their reputation. Other retailers have opted out due to the timing. Ahead of the Christmas period, we’re venturing into one of the busiest shopping periods of the year so offering consumers the chance to buy presents at a fraction of their usual price could have detrimental effects on winter profits. Nonetheless, the prediction that £220 million will be spent on Regent Street, Oxford Street and Bond Street alone this Friday speaks for itself.

Sarah Pyatt

Account Executive