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UK Black Friday Delivers Mixed Results

Is Black Friday in the U.K. over-hyped? Depending on the sector, British Retail Consortium/Springboard Footfall Monitor reported mix results.

On a total basis, U.K. retail sales in Nov. were up 2.2% from Nov. 2013, the best performance in three months. However, household appliance and food products led the charge, rather than the high street apparel and footwear retailers, which offered some of the steepest Black Friday discounts and had the highest hopes for the occasion.

KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale said fashion and footwear retailers used Black Friday to recover some lost ground but at a cost to their margin. He said, “Sadly some retailers fell short of the mark, with websites crashing under the pressure of shoppers hunting for a bargain. Resolving these issues must be a priority: consumers go online to avoid queues, not join them.”

Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium director general, noted that some retailers took advantage of the increased footfall generated by Black Friday to sell clothing and effectively bringing forward the start of Christmas sales with reductions of autumn and winter stock.

“That being said, customers also bought full priced items and showed interest in premium ranges particularly in food and retailers who didn’t discount for Black Friday also saw increased sales,” Dickinson added. “These are encouraging signs in the run up to Christmas when consumers will likely want to push the boat out even more.”