ONLINE purchases surged in the UK during the Black Friday sales as more consumers shunned standing in queues to buy cut price goods.
Yesterday consultants Experian and retail group IMRG said that online sales in the UK were on course to pass £1 billion on a single day for the first time.
Last year’s Black Friday saw shoppers in the UK fighting over bargains, websites crashing and delivery companies struggling to cope.
The discount day originated in the US, where it takes place the day after Thanksgiving, traditionally kick-starting the Christmas shopping period.
Shopping centres and stores across Scotland experienced a slow start to the day in contrast to the scenes of chaos on the same day last year. Patient customers and minimal queuing replaced the hostile crowds witnessed in some Scottish shops in 2014. About 60 bargain hunters, some in pyjamas and dressing gowns, queued for more than an hour at Tesco Extra in Silverburn, Glasgow, which had closed between midnight and 5am in preparation for Black Friday.
Staff gave out tickets on arrival and only allowed ten people in at a time to avoid any disturbances.
In 2014 hundreds of shoppers descended on the same store, which had to be closed amid chaotic scenes.
A police car patrolled the surrounding area in case of a repeat of last year’s scenes.
On this occasion, the queue had disappeared within half an hour, although one casual customer who arrived at 4:55am complained he was not able to buy a pint of milk due to the wait.
The most popular items being wheeled out of the store included TVs and other household appliances.
The Braehead shopping centre in Glasgow saw a minimal increase in footfall, with only Currys PC World welcoming customers early.
About 20 people waited for the store to open at 6am and were given free tea or coffee and teacakes to help battle the cold.
Christine Macdonald, marketing manager for intu Braehead, said: “We always like to look after our shoppers, so we thought we would go the extra mile for the hardy souls who had been queuing outside our Currys PC World store.
“Our free cups of tea and coffee were well appreciated by the shoppers waiting to bag a bargain at the store. The shopping centre opened earlier than normal at 8am and there were some fantastic bargains to be had right across the range of shops we have.
“We even had our Game store open at midnight and there were plenty of customers coming out in the wee small hours to take advantage of the discounts on computer game consoles and the games themselves.”
Ryan Manson, general manager of Union Square in Aberdeen, said: “Throughout the day we have seen shoppers flock to Union Square, keen to find a bargain. Our car parks have been full since 11am.”