Retailers braced for Black Friday bonanza

Shoppers grab bargain christmas presents on offer at ASDA Pudsey on Black Friday last year.
Shoppers grab bargain christmas presents on offer at ASDA Pudsey on Black Friday last year.
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Black Friday could become the UK’s first £1 billion online shopping day as consumers and retailers prepare for the annual bargain frenzy.

Online retailers are braced for a shopper onslaught from midnight as deals go live, while some stores will open their doors from the early morning to customers hoping to bag a bargain.

Police have warned shops across the country to ensure they have carefully thought-out security plans in place for the sales following chaos at a number of stores across the UK last year.

The YEP revealed earlier this week almost 30 per cent of people in Leeds plan to grab a bargain on Black Friday, according to figures released by Barclaycard.

And just under half of those Leeds residents are planning to treat themselves rather than buy for others on November 27

But while stores prepare their websites and distribution centres for unprecedented demand, consumer champions warned that shoppers should exercise caution amid the rush for bargains.

Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, has warned that the majority of Black Friday deals “aren’t special” and advised shoppers to cross-check deals with items they actually need.

He said: “Above all, remember, if you don’t want something, don’t need it or can’t afford it, then don’t buy it.”

And Which? urged shoppers to be prepared by registering for alerts from favourite retailers, searching for regular prices ahead of time in order to spot genuine bargains and to be aware that many deals are already available online.

It also warned that many websites slowed to a crawl last year, and suggested consumers register for online accounts early to “get in and out as quickly as possible”.

Which? editor Richard Headland said: “There will be a whole host of deals available on Black Friday but not all of them will be genuine.”

Leeds-based Asda said it will not be part of Black Friday this year, citing “shopper fatigue” around the one-day sales event.

The retailer said customer feedback was behind its decision to invest in £26 million of savings for shoppers across the season rather than a one-off day of sales.

It claimed shopper fatigue had set in around flash sales on big-ticket, non-essential items at Christmas.

The Walmart-owned store, credited with introducing Black Friday to the UK in 2013, faced criticism for its poor handling of the event last year when shoppers fought over deals in stores.