Black Friday lifts retail sector, says Barclaycard
Consumers flocking to take advantage of Black Friday promotions has given the UK’s retail sector a welcome boost.
Barclaycard reported that sales volumes from November 25 to December 2 increased by 7.1 per cent compared to the same period in 2018, with sales value also up by 16.5 per cent. Barclaycard processes nearly £1 of every £3 spent in the UK.
The news comes after a difficult 2019 for Britain’s retail sector, with accounting firm PwC reporting a net total of 1,234 stores having closed down across the country’s top 500 high-streets in the first six months of the year.
Addressing the respite provided by Black Friday, which was first introduced in the UK six years ago, Barclaycard’s Rob Cameron said it was “welcome news” for Britain’s retail industry.
Cameron said: “This will no doubt come as welcome news to the retail sector. Consumers have not only been buying more, but also spending more than last year.”
With the Black Friday sales period now beginning to extend into a long weekend to include “Cyber Monday”, some retailers have been offering discounts on goods for even longer. This has seen swathes of consumers cash in on promotions online as well as visiting physical stores.
According to figures published by Springboard, between 2015 and 2018, the number of physical shoppers going to high street stores, shopping centres and retail parks on Black Friday continually fell. 2019, however, has seen a reverse, with a 3.1 per cent increase of physical shoppers during the period overall.
Cameron added: "Shoppers took full advantage of the discounts on offer. On Black Friday itself, sales volumes were 7.2 per cent higher compared to last year.
"This continued right though to Cyber Monday where we saw sales increase 6.9 per cent compared to 2018 data.”
The British Retail Consortium’s head of insight and analytics, Kyle Monk, said that the improved performance of sales on Black Friday compared to 2018 was expected, despite this year’s period being a week closer to Christmas.
However, he did add that sales could be affected over the next few weeks by the change in timing, which could impact a Springboard prediction that December 21 would be the busiest day for sales in the sector before Christmas.
Monk said: "It remains to be seen how this change in timings will affect sales over the next few weeks, particularly with the added election disruption that consumers will be contending with."