Business development · 27 November 2015

Black Friday calmer than last year on the British high street

The West End was ten per cent busier than last year on Friday morning
The West End was ten per cent busier than last year on Friday morning
Analysis by consultancy Springboard predicted that footfall would be 11.5 per cent higher on 27 November than last year but the first statistics to emerge have suggested that UK high streets were around seven per cent quieter during the first four hours they were open, according to Retail Week.

The New West End company reported on Friday afternoon that London’s main shopping area had been ten per cent busier than last year though the BBC pointed to the absence of a queue outside Debenhams on Oxford Street in the morning.

Black Friday 2014 saw police called to supermarkets when shoppers fought each other for bargains while John Lewis reported the busiest week in its 150 year history.

Chain retailers planned promotions more cautiously this year Tesco Extra stores opened at 5am rather thanmidnight to give staff more time to prepare for shoppers. And despite the presence of extra security staff in some Tesco stores, there has so far been no repeat of last year’s tumultuous crowds. The Financial Times reported that the Tesco Extra in Neasden was deserted? on Friday morning.Of course, Asda announced earlier in November that it would not take part in Black Friday this year and claimed it would provide 26m worth of savings for shoppers across the Christmas period rather than “be held hostage to a day or two of sales.

Small organisations have also been more restrained. Henry Morland, inventory management system Brightpearl’s chief product officer, said: “Canny independent retailers have learnt the lessons of last year. They are being careful about how they approach Black Friday. They have analysed their data and are being very selective, discounting specific products on specific selling channels, in order to strike a balance between attracting bargain hunters and maintaining margins.”


 
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Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics as well as running a tutoring company.

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