As consumers and retailers across the UK prepared for the “Black Friday” shopping frenzy, John Lewis said its year-on-year sales grew by a “solid” 2.6 per cent last week.
However, its Aberdeen branch was again the worst performer north of the Border, with takings in the week ending 21 November down 17.4 per cent compared with a year earlier.
In Glasgow, sales were down 6 per cent year-on-year, while the employee-owned retailer’s Edinburgh branch saw a 5.2 per cent decline.
John Lewis said: “The business has also been preparing behind the scenes for the ramp-up in volume that Black Friday brings. On the day we will have queuing systems in place across both shops and online to ensure that customers have a good shopping experience.”
Millions of consumers are set to spend their way to the UK’s first £1 billion online shopping day today.
Retailers made cut-price deals available online from midnight and many spent the night preparing to open their doors early to customers desperate to snap up discounted stock, ranging from televisions to toothbrushes.
Police have warned shops to ensure they have carefully thought-out security plans in place for the sales following chaos at a number of stores across the UK last year, when huge crowds grappled for cut-price televisions and other big-ticket items.
Experian-IMRG believes internet spending today will hit £1.07bn, a 32 per cent increase on last year’s £810 million – the first time that online retail sales in the UK will surpass £1bn in one day.
The Centre for Retail Research expects a slightly more modest £966m online but predicts total Black Friday sales including at bricks and mortar stores will reach £1.39bn, with shopping over the entire weekend – culminating in Cyber Monday – to hit £3.49bn.
Visa Europe predicts that shoppers will spend £721m online on its cards today, up from £616m last year.