Black Friday Madness. How Did That Happen?

Halloween. Disney films. Skateboards. The list of American ‘things’ that have come across the Atlantic is many and varied. Most of them are are very welcome (Ben and Jerry’s ice cream?) and some we could probably do without (chewing gum?).

Black Friday is the latest fad to come this way. British shoppers seem to love it (they’re forecast to spend £10 billion today and in the week leading up to it, up 3% on last year), whilst retailers are in two minds. In the first few years it caused huge disruption to their pre-Christmas stock and profits but most now acknowledge that the latest example of the ‘Americanisation’ of retail is here to stay.

Given how much stuff is now sold online in the UK then queuing outside a retail shop on a freezing Friday seems a pretty silly idea. For instance, John Lewis reported sales of just under £200 million during the Black Friday period in 2016, but its online sales during that period rose to around £6.5 billion! In fact, internet sales as a percentage of total retail sales in the UK are climbing year on year and now stand just shy of 20%, the highest in Europe.

Amazon, (another US import) which helped introduce Black Friday to the UK, kicks off its sale today but some online electrical stores –  including AO and Currys PC World – began offering discounts on Monday. Argos started on Wednesday. (So surely it should be called Black Week now?)

Still, UK retailers are big fans of the saying ‘if you can’t beat them, then join them’ and now even travel brands* are getting in on the act. Here’s a selection of well-known travel companies hoping to cash in on the Black Friday madness.

  • Ryanair is offering seven days of deals, revealing one each morning
  • Virgin Trains’s East Coast half-price sale has been launched with 300,000 tickets ‘up for grabs’
  • From November 24 to 28 you can save £5 off a 16-25 and Family and Friends Railcard
  • is offering up to 77 per cent off on luxury packages
  • Mercure and Novotel Hotels are offering 30 per cent off their standard room rate

*not forgetting well know travel insurance companies. We’re offering 10% off all travel insurance policies if booked before November 30th. Click here to take up our offer.

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