Black Friday has played a vital role in pushing retail sales growth to levels seen 26 years ago. The biggest price-cuts seen in more than 10 years, embraced more widely by more UK retailers than ever, encouraged consumers to bring forward some of their spending on Christmas presents this year.
The ongoing supermarket price war also translated to a drop in the price of essentials such as food. A rush to buy luxury goods, furniture and carpets spurred the big department and electrical stores to see the strongest annual rise in sales since records began 26 years ago.
The ONS said food sales grew just 1.5% on the year, in contrast to department stores which saw a 15.5% rise.
70% of respondents reported sales volumes up on a year ago and sales volumes for the time of year were described as “good” by 22% of shops, with 5% of them saying they are “poor”.
Following Black Friday and Manic Monday, retailers are now preparing themselves for ‘panic Saturday.’ Brits are set to spend £1.2 billion in a single day, which would make it the biggest Christmas shopping day yet.
Yet the expectation for a bargain is to blame for encouraging shoppers to wait for a discount more than ever before, with fears that Black Friday, Manic Monday and Panic Saturday will cause a significant fall in the traditional post-Christmas period sales.
Typically, Boxing Day has been the busiest online shopping day of the year as consumers log on in search of a bargain from the comfort of their own home. Although forecasts still predict Boxing Day bargains to increase by 25% from 2013, this year they are expected to come second to Black Friday when e-retail sales reached a staggering £810 million.
While this month’s data is likely to cause a decrease in next month’s figures, economists agree that the economy is still likely to improve in the coming months.
Falling prices in oil, lower inflation and an increase in real wages results in more disposable income, helping household spending to be more sustainable and thus it may continue to drive the UK’s economy in the coming year.