LONDON, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Britain's retailers are hoping
Black Friday discount day will get shoppers spending, though it
takes place against a backdrop of shortages of both products and
drivers to deliver them.
In Britain the Black Friday trading period is particularly
important for department store group John Lewis, consumer
electricals retailers Currys and AO World and
general merchandise retailer Argos, which is part of supermarket
While Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer, and Asda
are also participating, some major retailers, including Marks &
Spencer and Next, shun the event.
On the eve of Black Friday, UK retailers reported on
Thursday the strongest pre-Christmas demand since 2015 but also
the biggest price rises since 1990, as fears of shortages led
shoppers to buy gifts early, figures from the Confederation of
British Industry showed.
We could see a strong sales surge over the Black Friday
weekend but shoppers may find that the deals on offer arent
quite as generous as theyve been used to in the past," said
Sophie Michael, head of retail at BDO.
"Supply chain disruptions, product shortages and higher
costs will mean retailers wont feel compelled to race to the
bottom on price as they have done in previous years."
On Tuesday, AO warned of limited supplies of games consoles,
including Sony's PlayStation and Microsoft's
Xbox, and Apple iphones, blaming the global shortage of
Earlier this month, Sainsbury's similarly warned shoppers to
expect a shortage of electronics products.
Currys, however, has said it is well stocked.
Delays in international supply chains are being compounded
by labour shortages in domestic transport and warehousing
networks, with a shortage of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers
Black Friday participants are stretching promotions over
several weeks, aiming to smooth out consumer demand and reduce
pressure on logistics.
But over a decade after being brought to the UK by Amazon
the event's worth to retailers still divides opinion.
Supporters say carefully planned promotions in close
co-operation with global suppliers allow retailers to boost
sales and maintain profit margins.
Naysayers argue the discounts suck forward Christmas sales
with reduced profit and undermine consumers' willingness to pay
full price again before Christmas.
(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Susan Fenton)