Relief for shops
Retailers on course for Black Friday shopping boost
Deep discounts have been in evidence all week (pic: Terry Murden)
Black Friday shoppers appeared on track to give retailers a much-needed boost, according to early data.
Some high streets were choked with bargain-hunters, although the drift to online trade also seemed to have continued.
Initial figures from Barclaycard, which processes nearly one pound in every three spent, said transactions on Friday morning were 12.5% higher on last year and had also been strong throughout the week.
Analysts have suggested Black Friday sales could be helped this year by its fall on the last Friday of the month, which coincides with payday for many.
Not letting go: shoppers were out in Edinburgh seeking Christmas gifts (pic: Terry Murden)
Dixons Carphone said it had seen three orders per second on its website since its Black Friday sales went live at 9pm on Thursday.
In the US, where the tradition originated, Adobe Analytics recorded a surge in online shopping which hit an all-time record $7.4 billion on Friday. But sales for brick-and-mortar stores dropped 6.2%, according to ShopperTrak.
Supply problems for UK retailers in previous Black Fridays have led many to stretch promotions over several weeks to smooth out consumer demand and reduce the pressure on distribution networks.
Families were out on Princes Street, Edinburgh (pic: Terry Murden)
The shopping bonanza has been criticised by those concerned that it encourages wasteful impulse buying and that stores use it to discount their weaker selling lines while keeping popular items at full price.
Earlier this week, consumer group Which? warned that few real deals were available, with most goods cheaper or available for the same price at other times.
It found that just four of 83 products they studied last year were cheaper during the Black Friday promotion.
Shoppers packed Princes Street on Saturday (pic: Terry Murden)
Activists across France have staged Black Friday protests against Amazon, decrying consumerism and its impact on the environment.
Dozens of protesters gathered outside the company’s French headquarters in Clichy, north of Paris.
Protesters also tried to blockade a shopping centre in Paris and a logistics centre near the eastern city of Lyon.