Well today’s the day – Black Friday. What many predict will be the biggest shopping day of the year.

It’s been just a few years since the discounting extravaganza truly arrived in the UK, but it has quickly become a date around which consumers plan their Christmas shopping.

However, the day has changed dramatically since it burst onto the UK retail scene.

People no longer queue all night and batter each other for a cut-price telly in their local supermarket.

Black Friday is now a more sedate affair with shoppers preferring to click away for their bargains.

In fact, footfall is expected to be down year-on-year in shopping centres and on high streets across Black Friday, Saturday and Sunday, according to Springboard.

However, the early signs show that online was busier than ever.

Sainsbury’s Argos boss John Rogers said traffic was up a whopping 50% in the early hours, while Currys PC World reported a 40% surge in order numbers against last year in early trading.

Meanwhile, Tesco UK boss Matt Davies told the BBC that he expects sales to be up 40% year on year over its 11 day sale period.

Despite these proclamations of stellar sales, we won’t know how successful Black Friday has been for another month.

With the date now etched in shoppers’ minds, many have been more tactical than ever this Black Friday and are buying the gifts they would have done in December at a sizable discount.

If, as many predict, Christmas trade has simply been brought forward, Black Friday may turn into Bleak Friday for many retailers.

Black Friday isn’t the only madness we’ve seen in retail today. Under fire Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley has invited the MPs that turned up unannounced to his Shirebrook warehouse earlier this month – and accused the retailer of spying on them -– to take part in a live televised debate.

Quote of the day

“Our people are extremely loyal and they believe passionately in Sports Direct. Some of these people are feeling scared, defensive and deeply traumatised by the criticism and abuse we have been subjected to over the past two years.”

Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley in a letter to Iain Wright MP

Today in numbers


The amount 14m UK shoppers are expected to spend per minute today


Total spend on Black Friday

Source: VoucherCodes.co.uk and the Centre for Retail Research

Monday’s agenda

The online sales bonanza continues into next week with Cyber Monday, which is expected to be one of the busiest days of the year for etailers.

Gemma Goldfingle, features editor