‘Steady’ Black Friday for retailers despite cost of living crisis and rising prices

Retailers saw “steady” trading on Black Friday as firms feared rising prices and the cost of living crisis would keep shoppers away.

Barclaycard Payments said sales volumes were consistent with what was recorded on Black Friday last year.

As of 1pm, the credit card firm, which processes £1 of every £3 spent in the UK, said transaction volumes were 0.7 per cent higher year on year.

Barclaycard said this included rapid sales around lunchtime, with the firm reporting a record number of transactions per second between 12 and 1pm.

It comes after warnings that the shopping day could be muted due to pressure on consumer bills.

Currys said rocketing household energy bills have helped to boost sales of energy-efficient products such as air fryers and heat-pump tumble dryers.

Experts said sales have also been higher in the week leading up to Black Friday.

Marc Pettican, head of Barclaycard Payments, said: “Our data shows that Black Friday is off to a steady start this year, despite the challenging economic backdrop.

“When looking at spending on the morning of Black Friday, so far, transaction volumes are broadly in line with what we saw this time last year.

“We have also seen an increase in transactions in the week leading up to today, with volumes up 3.46 per cent week on week compared to the lead up to Black Friday last year.”

High street footfall was also up 4.6 per cent on Black Friday last year, as of noon, according to figures from Springboard.

UK shopping destinations saw higher shopper numbers, although this still remained 22.4 per cent lower than Black Friday in 2019, before the impact of the pandemic.

Building society Nationwide said it saw higher purchase numbers as of 2pm on Friday compared with the previous two years.

It said members have made 4.52 million transactions, which it said is 8 per cent higher than Black Friday last year and 36 per cent higher than Black Friday in 2020, which was hampered by pandemic restrictions.

Mark Nalder, director of payment strategy at Nationwide Building Society, said: “Spending continues to remain strong as shoppers search out bargains ahead of the festive period.

“Black Friday will provide a welcome boost for retailers as the number of transactions continue to exceed pre-pandemic levels.

“We expect spending to remain robust throughout the evening as people make the most of pay day and celebrate the end of the working week.”

Meanwhile, protesters marked Black Friday outside Amazon’s European headquarters in Dublin as part of an international campaign for better wages for workers.

The campaign, led by Progressive International, aimed to highlight “unsustainable environmental” practices and worker conditions within the global giant.

There was similar action by Amazon workers in Germany.

And in Belgium, Black Friday deals prompted a backlash in which some businesses rejected promotions and chose to close for the day or even offered to repair used clothes for free.

At the Xandres clothing store, in Ghent, a sign on the window read: “Green Friday – closed on November 25 – get your clothes repaired for free.”

Home and garden accessories chain Dille & Kamille closed all its shops in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, as well as its web shop, and suggested customers take a nature walk, feed the birds or volunteer at environmental organisations.

“You will find happiness in nature, not in discounts,” read a sign on its Ghent shop.