British stores and retail websites are awash with discounted goods as shoppers chase ''Black Friday'' deals in a spending spree that is expected to top last year's record level. Kate King reports.
The advertising was aggressive, the shoppers less so Britons choosing to get their bargains online, leaving the shop floor all but empty. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DIRECTOR OF RETAIL RESEARCH, MINTEL, RICHARD PERKS, SAYING: "I think Black Friday is much more of an online event in the UK, I think you will still find that there are more sales in store than online, but it's much more important for online simply because it is a normal working day." British retailer Debenhams says it expects online orders to hit 250 per minute during peak hours. Once just a single day of discounting - many UK stores are now extending their sale period in order to capture more of the market. 5. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DEBENHAMS MARKETING DIRECTOR, RICHARD CRISTOFOLI, SAYING: "Well, customers are saying to us you know, actually we want to shop through the week, not just on the Friday itself, it enables us to make sure we manage the online for that period because that intense Friday peak is, sometimes can be challenging to manage." Maintaining profit margins is also a challenge And retail analysts say heavy discounting may in fact do more harm than good. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DIRECTOR OF RETAIL RESEARCH, MINTEL, RICHARD PERKS, SAYING: "Where it does most damage to the retail sector is it is part and parcel this emphasis on price which is actually acting to undermine consumer trust in retailers' prices. We did some research last year, 6 percent of people actually trust retailers, that's an appalling indictment I think of the hole that retailers have dug themselves into." Some stores have already decided Black Friday isn't worth their while. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER KATE KING SAYING: "Twenty-five percent fewer retailers are said to be taking part this year, none the less sales are expected to exceed the 1 billion reached last year." UK consumer spending has held up since June's vote to leave the European Union, but many believe those looking for bargains are doing so before prices rise in 2017. .