Retailers are looking to take full advantage of a surge in shoppers today with prices slashed across the high street and online on what is dubbed Black Friday.
Online giant Amazon, which introduced the phenomenon to the UK in 2010, has been leading the charge with offers all week in the run-up to bolstered deals today.
The etailer has doubled the number of products on Black Friday deals to 1,000 with an average of 40% being offered.
Other US retailers including Apple and Walmart-owned Asda have chopped down the price of mobile devices ahead of what has been forecast as a “tablet bloodbath” as the sought-after devices go head-to-head this Christmas.
Apple’s deals are its first Black Friday promotions in the UK while rivals Currys and PC World began their sales yesterday.
Black Friday takes place the day after Thanksgiving in the US each year. Last year a record number of shoppers visited US stores over the Black Friday weekend spending $52bn in total, an average of $398 each, according to the National Retail Federation.
In London, Oxford Street and Regent Street will be closed to cars this weekend as retailers look to take full advantage of a surge in Christmas shoppers. Shoppers are expected to spend more than £100m in the area on Saturday.
The weekend will be followed by Cyber Monday, known as the busiest day for online shopping of the year.
Amazon’s UK distribution centre shipped more than 2.1 million units in one day in the run-up to Christmas last year and the etailer has hired 10,000 extra seasonal staff.
Steve Rothwell, chief executive of online payment specialist Eagle Eye, said: “No matter what kind of year retailers have had so far, the words ‘Christmas shopping’ should be glad tidings to all. A traffic-free West End is a great festive boost for the high street, so expectations are sure to be high for a spike in consumer spending in store this weekend.
“However, it’s no longer good enough for high street retailers to simply open the door to customers. Rather, they need to proactively reach consumers through their channel of choice if they want to see significant footfall.”