Spending on Britain's Black Friday discount shopping day is forecast to break last year's record takings, though it is expected to be predominantly an online affair this year. Saira Jaffer reports.
UK retailers are bracing themselves for the biggest discount shopping day of the year. Black Friday, a US import, has become a regular feature in the UK shopping calendar now entering its fifth year. This time it's forecast to break last year's record takings. Analysts say revenue could increase by 38 per cent to 3.6 billion dollars. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, JAMES DAVEY, SAYING: "It has become a key fixture in the retail calendar which is now focused around kicking off with black Friday which is one peak and then u get a peak few days before xmas and then another peak in post xmas sales and in between you get little values where the trade is less intense." However, this year Black Friday in the UK will be a largely online affair. Many retailers and customers were put off by the chaos in stores in 2014 when many scuffles broke out over bargains. Shoppers are expected to instead focus on finding deals online. Critics have questioned if Black Friday makes commercial sense for retailers. But companies appear to be adjusting accordingly. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, JAMES DAVEY, SAYING: "Retailers argue that if they plan it carefully and with their own supplies they can still kick start sales and get a decent margin. Analysts argue the problem with it is that it brings forward sales that they have to discount that they would have made at full prices. But retailers are looking to work around that and make a decent margin." Some retailers will extend their promotions over a few days to manage increasing demands and reduce pressure on their distribution infrastructure. As companies learn how to better manage tackle Black Friday and as shoppers' enthusiasm increases, there is no doubt the holiday event is here to stay.