British retailers brace for a rush of shoppers on the hunt for pre-Christmas bargains on Black Friday. Hayley Platt looks at how the U.S. tradition is being embraced by British consumers.
One enthusiastic retailer trying to drum up business on Black Friday. While others wondered where all the crowds were. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNIDENTIFIED MALE SHOPPER, SAYING: "I thought Oxford Street it's going to be amazing but no, I went into Selfridges and absolutely nothing." The US export - still fairly new to the UK has been embraced by Brits. It's a chance for retailers to kick start sales before Christmas. This year, sales - both in store and online are expected to hit 1.6 billion pounds - a third more than last year . Electrical retailers Currys/PC World is optimistic. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CURRYS/PC WORLD, MANAGER, SAYING: "We are expecting 5,000 new customers a minute at peak times today on Black Friday and probably 10 orders per second at peak times on line." But after last year's mayhem many have chosen to shop online. Shannon Edwards is from Styloko.com. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SHANNON EDWARDS, SAYING: "Amazon are pushing through deals primarily through mobile, so if you're not checking your mobile device, you're going to lose out on some great deals." Still data out earlier showed consumer morale in Britain slipped to its lowest level in six months. But IHS's Jan Randolph isn't worried about the big picture. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IHS ECONOMICS & COUNTRY RISK, DIRECTOR OF SOVEREIGN RISK, JAN RANDOLPH, SAYING: "The UK economy is doing well. Unemployment continues to fall, real incomes are beginning to rise again. Consumers do have the where with all to spend. Sentiment does have an impact from time-to-time but I think that, by and large we are on a recovery track when it comes to consumption in the UK." Nonetheless "shopper fatigue" is a concern. So much so that one of the pioneers of the UKs Black Friday - Walmart's Asda - is not taking part this year.