The death of Black Friday mayhem: British high streets are eerily quiet as shoppers shun queuing from 4am and brawling over TVs for snapping up Xmas bargains online – with £3billion set to be splurged
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Britons are set to spend £3billion on Black Friday today – but scenes of mass chaos on high streets are unlikely as more than 60 per cent of purchases are made online.

Queues were seen on London‘s Oxford Street outside John Lewis and the newly-reopened HMV store – and Nationwide reported that its customers had made 9 per cent more transactions up to 9am this morning compared to Black Friday last year.

But research by VoucherCodes suggested over the four-day weekend including Cyber Monday, shoppers will spend £8.74billion both in-stores and online – only 0.4 per cent more than 2022, despite the ONS inflation rate still running at 4.6 per cent. 

High streets and shopping centres in cities including Leeds, Manchester, Bristol and Worcester today also appeared to be quiet in photographs taken this morning. 

Spend on Black Friday itself is expected to be at £3.01billion today, roughly the same as last year – but down 6 per cent when compared to the £3.2billion total in 2021 before the cost-of-living crisis really took hold and began impacting spending.

The £3.01billion still equates to Britons spending £2.09million a minute. Some 62 per cent of sales today are forecast to be online, and the remaining 38 per cent in store.

The report also estimated shoppers will spend £3.34billion on Cyber Monday, a 6 per cent annual increase compared to the £3.17billion spent on Cyber Monday in 2022.

When looking at the entire two-week Black Friday period – including the week before and the week following the day – retail sales are expected to be at £22.67billion this year, roughly in line with the figure of £22.62billion for the same period in 2022.

Black Friday sale signs from JD Sports on a bus stop on a quiet Oxford Street in London today

Black Friday sale signs from JD Sports on a bus stop on a quiet Oxford Street in London today

A quiet shopping arcade in Leeds city centre today on the morning of Black Friday

A quiet shopping arcade in Leeds city centre today on the morning of Black Friday 

Small numbers of shoppers at Cabot Circus in Bristol this morning as Black Friday begins

Small numbers of shoppers at Cabot Circus in Bristol this morning as Black Friday begins

Nationwide said that by 9am today its customers had made 1.49 million transactions – 15 per cent up on a typical Friday. The number of purchases is 9 per cent higher than on Black Friday 2022, and 16 per cent higher than on the same day in 2021.

VoucherCodes, which releases an annual Shopping for Christmas report compiled with GlobalData, has looked at data for Black Friday – which is said to have been exported from the US to Britain in 2009 before gaining momentum from 2014.

Experts say the day now spans a two-week period, the week before and the week after Black Friday, including Cyber Monday – the day for online discounts.

Some 45.5million people are expected to visit their local high street and shop in-store this Black Friday weekend – a rise of 1.8 per cent compared to last year.

This marginal rise in high street shopping numbers this year is being put down to shoppers working harder to find the best deals and benefitting more from in-store sales.

The most popular day for shopping looks set to be Cyber Monday, when 14.7million people are expecting to make a purchase.

Black Friday itself is set to see 11.8million consumers hitting the high street followed by 10.2million on Saturday and 8.8million on the Sunday.

Also today, HSBC UK said that it was investigating ‘as a matter of urgency’ as customers have been struggling to access banking services on Black Friday.

The bank apologised to customers and is working to restore its mobile and online banking service, including the authorising of online card purchases via the app.

Research by VoucherCodes suggested over the four-day weekend from Black Friday to Cyber Monday this year, Britain's shoppers will spend £8.74billion both in-stores and online

Research by VoucherCodes suggested over the four-day weekend from Black Friday to Cyber Monday this year, Britain’s shoppers will spend £8.74billion both in-stores and online

Shoppers get their Black Friday deals along Market Street in Manchester City Centre today

Shoppers get their Black Friday deals along Market Street in Manchester City Centre today

Black Friday in Worcester city centre today with shoppers walking along the high street

Black Friday in Worcester city centre today with shoppers walking along the high street

A message posted by the bank on X said: ‘We understand some customers are having trouble accessing banking services as usual right now. We’re investigating this as a matter of urgency and will share an update as soon as possible.’

The disruption has happened as the Black Friday shopping bonanza gets under way, with retailers slashing their prices.

Some people may want to access their banking to check how much money they have left to spend in the sales.

With November 24 being the last Friday of the month, it will also be payday for some.

One X user responded to HSBC UK’s message: ‘Literally the worst timing ever. People got paid and have bills to pay.’

Another said: ‘Got to move some money so I can buy some Black Friday purchases (that I don’t need) Maybe it’s a sign!’

HSBC UK said in a statement: ‘We’re working hard to restore HSBC UK’s mobile and online banking service, including the authorising of online card purchases via the app.

‘We understand this is really frustrating for some of our customers, and we are really sorry for the inconvenience.’

HSBC UK said the issues its customers are having are not affecting customers of the brands First Direct or M&S Bank.

Meanwhile, HMV swung open the doors of its historic Oxford Street store today after a four-year absence, with the retailer’s boss saying it is a ‘great moment’ in the chain’s recovery.

Shoppers on Oxford Street today as they head to London's West End for Black Friday shopping

Shoppers on Oxford Street today as they head to London’s West End for Black Friday shopping

People enter the John Lewis store on Oxford Street in London today as Black Friday begins

People enter the John Lewis store on Oxford Street in London today as Black Friday begins

Shoppers wait to enter the John Lewis on Oxford Street in London today as Black Friday begins

Shoppers wait to enter the John Lewis on Oxford Street in London today as Black Friday begins

The entertainment chain will host a raft of bands with live performances today, as it welcomes customers to the shop it first opened in 1921.

Owner Doug Putman said he hopes the shop can have ‘crowds which will shut down the street’ again, harking back to memorable visits including Michael Jackson, the Spice Girls and Sir Paul McCartney.

HMV shut the store in 2019 after the retail chain tumbled into administration and was forced to axe stores and jobs.

The retailer was rescued from insolvency by Canadian Doug Putman’s Sunrise Records business.

The entrepreneur, who recently attempted to buy fellow high street chain Wilko from collapse, said the chain has returned after striking a better deal with the shop’s landlord.

HMV said the shop will become the largest entertainment store in London and is expected to draw appearances and signings by renowned musicians to its ‘purpose-built performance floor’.

It will stock more than 4,000 popular culture merchandise lines, some 20,000 vinyl albums and CDs, in excess of 8,000 4kUHD, Blu-rays and DVDs, as well as music technology products.

In other Black Friday news today, Amazon workers walked out on strike on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, in a long-running dispute over pay.

Members of the GMB union at the online giant’s site in Coventry mounted an early morning picket line outside the centre.

People queue for the opening of the new HMV store on Oxford Street in London this morning

People queue for the opening of the new HMV store on Oxford Street in London this morning

HMV is swinging open the doors of its historic Oxford Street store after a four-year absence

HMV is swinging open the doors of its historic Oxford Street store after a four-year absence

Amazon defended its pay rates and said the strike will not affect customers.

Strikes and demonstrations are also being held in other European countries and the US, which unions say will be the biggest day of action in Amazon’s history, and a protest will be held outside the company’s London offices.

The GMB said more than 1,000 workers at the Coventry site were striking, making it the 28th day of action in the dispute.

Amazon said its pay rates were well above the national living wage and the voluntary real living wage, while benefits included private medical insurance, life assurance, subsidised meals and an employee discount.



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