Black Friday frenzy begins! Retailers brace for impact as UK’s busiest shopping day of year dawns

Bargain-hungry Brits are set to spend £2.44billion in the Black Friday sales today, as shoppers battle it for cut-price TVs and electrical goods online and in stores up and down the country.

Thousands braved the near-freezing conditions overnight to queue outside stores from Newcastle to Birmingham to beat other shoppers to the biggest discounts.

However some of the best deals had already sold out before much of the UK had even woken up this morning, with retailers starting their offers overnight.

More than £1billion will be spent on internet stores alone, with shoppers expected to part with £13.4million every minute on everything from clothing to cosmetics.

Amazon, together with Debenhams, House of Fraser, Argos, Currys PC World and many others have been running sales all this week with plans to step up the discounts today, promising savings of 60 per cent.

Early-morning Black Friday shoppers in Newcastle battle it out in the electronics isle of a Tesco shortly after it opened its doors at 5am

Early-morning Black Friday shoppers in Newcastle battle it out in the electronics isle of a Tesco shortly after it opened its doors at 5am

Early-morning Black Friday shoppers in Newcastle battle it out in the electronics isle of a Tesco shortly after it opened its doors at 5am

Thousands braved the near-freezing conditions overnight to queue outside stores up and down the country, including Tesco in Newcastle, to beat other shoppers to the biggest discounts

Thousands braved the near-freezing conditions overnight to queue outside stores up and down the country, including Tesco in Newcastle, to beat other shoppers to the biggest discounts

Thousands braved the near-freezing conditions overnight to queue outside stores up and down the country, including Tesco in Newcastle, to beat other shoppers to the biggest discounts

Shoppers are taking advantage of the annual Black Friday sales early this morning, with this couple pictured walking out of the Tesco Extra store in Gorton, Manchester

Shoppers are taking advantage of the annual Black Friday sales early this morning, with this couple pictured walking out of the Tesco Extra store in Gorton, Manchester

Shoppers are taking advantage of the annual Black Friday sales early this morning, with this couple pictured walking out of the Tesco Extra store in Gorton, Manchester

Bargain hunters who headed straight to the electronics aisle at Tesco in Newcastle this morning to buy an Xbox were left disappointed when it appeared only six games were on sale

Bargain hunters who headed straight to the electronics aisle at Tesco in Newcastle this morning to buy an Xbox were left disappointed when it appeared only six games were on sale

Bargain hunters who headed straight to the electronics aisle at Tesco in Newcastle this morning to buy an Xbox were left disappointed when it appeared only six games were on sale

Eager bargain hunters wait in the near-freezing conditions in Gorton, Manchester for Tesco Extra to open ahead of a busy day of Black Friday madness

Eager bargain hunters wait in the near-freezing conditions in Gorton, Manchester for Tesco Extra to open ahead of a busy day of Black Friday madness

Eager bargain hunters wait in the near-freezing conditions in Gorton, Manchester for Tesco Extra to open ahead of a busy day of Black Friday madness

A couple cannot hide their glee after securing a 49 inch TV at a Tesco in Newcastle. Britons are predicted to spend £2.44billion in the Black Friday sales today, as shoppers battle it for cut-price TVs and electrical goods

A couple cannot hide their glee after securing a 49 inch TV at a Tesco in Newcastle. Britons are predicted to spend £2.44billion in the Black Friday sales today, as shoppers battle it for cut-price TVs and electrical goods

A couple cannot hide their glee after securing a 49 inch TV at a Tesco in Newcastle. Britons are predicted to spend £2.44billion in the Black Friday sales today, as shoppers battle it for cut-price TVs and electrical goods

A shopper heads back home after a particularly early start this morning to pick up a new television from Tesco Extra in Gorton, Manchester

A shopper heads back home after a particularly early start this morning to pick up a new television from Tesco Extra in Gorton, Manchester

A shopper heads back home after a particularly early start this morning to pick up a new television from Tesco Extra in Gorton, Manchester

Stacked televisions are pictured ahead of doors opening at a Tesco in Newcastle. Britain's retailers are hoping Black Friday discounts will get shoppers spending again after a torrid year for much of the sector

Stacked televisions are pictured ahead of doors opening at a Tesco in Newcastle. Britain's retailers are hoping Black Friday discounts will get shoppers spending again after a torrid year for much of the sector

Stacked televisions are pictured ahead of doors opening at a Tesco in Newcastle. Britain’s retailers are hoping Black Friday discounts will get shoppers spending again after a torrid year for much of the sector

Some of the best deals had already sold out before much of the UK had even woken up this morning, with retailers starting their offers overnight (electronics retailer GAME was already sold out of its Nintendo Switch and two game deal this morning)

Some of the best deals had already sold out before much of the UK had even woken up this morning, with retailers starting their offers overnight (electronics retailer GAME was already sold out of its Nintendo Switch and two game deal this morning)

Some of the best deals had already sold out before much of the UK had even woken up this morning, with retailers starting their offers overnight (electronics retailer GAME was already sold out of its Nintendo Switch and two game deal this morning)

The event has proved to be a curse for many retailers, given angry crowd scenes in past years and the fact that the price cuts savage potential profits during a crucial sales period

The event has proved to be a curse for many retailers, given angry crowd scenes in past years and the fact that the price cuts savage potential profits during a crucial sales period

The event has proved to be a curse for many retailers, given angry crowd scenes in past years and the fact that the price cuts savage potential profits during a crucial sales period

Yesterday, stunned shoppers were stuck in queues on the streets and on the internet as thousands of online customers tried to bag bargains in the Black Friday sales – hours before they officially began.

Popular websites crashed as savvy spenders attempted to get an early look at the offers at shops including JD Sports, GAME and Debenhams where perfume is VAT free and dressing gowns are half price. 

Dozens of shoppers said they were ‘locked out’ of the website as they hunted for items on sale as one shopper commented ‘I thought the point of online sales was to avoid queues’. 

Shoppers for the GAME website were shocked when they were given their number in the queue with one man from Bolton tweeting to show he was behind 107,579 others in the virtual line.

More than 200,000 people were searching for deals on the site which crashed when they went live at 6pm. 

Bargain-hungry Brits leave a Tesco in Manchester with a new TV. The country is set to spend £2.44billion in the Black Friday sales today, as shoppers battle it for cut-price TVs and electrical goods online

Bargain-hungry Brits leave a Tesco in Manchester with a new TV. The country is set to spend £2.44billion in the Black Friday sales today, as shoppers battle it for cut-price TVs and electrical goods online

Bargain-hungry Brits leave a Tesco in Manchester with a new TV. The country is set to spend £2.44billion in the Black Friday sales today, as shoppers battle it for cut-price TVs and electrical goods online

A father and son leave Tesco in Birmingham with a new television in tow following an early start this morning, as thousands of shoppers hoped to beat the crowds normally associated with Black Friday

A father and son leave Tesco in Birmingham with a new television in tow following an early start this morning, as thousands of shoppers hoped to beat the crowds normally associated with Black Friday

A father and son leave Tesco in Birmingham with a new television in tow following an early start this morning, as thousands of shoppers hoped to beat the crowds normally associated with Black Friday

Stunned Black Friday shoppers joined online queues as they tried to shop for Black Friday bargains hours before the official sales began 

Stunned Black Friday shoppers joined online queues as they tried to shop for Black Friday bargains hours before the official sales began 

Stunned Black Friday shoppers joined online queues as they tried to shop for Black Friday bargains hours before the official sales began 

Shoppers were even sat in virtual queues for their favourite stores as they attempted to take away bargains on Thursday evening 

Shoppers were even sat in virtual queues for their favourite stores as they attempted to take away bargains on Thursday evening 

Shoppers were even sat in virtual queues for their favourite stores as they attempted to take away bargains on Thursday evening 

Those trying to shop at technology and gaming store GAME were stunned to find there were more than 100,000 people in a queue in front of them 

Those trying to shop at technology and gaming store GAME were stunned to find there were more than 100,000 people in a queue in front of them 

Those trying to shop at technology and gaming store GAME were stunned to find there were more than 100,000 people in a queue in front of them 

The rise of Black Friday, which was controversially imported from the USA by Amazon, has turned the Christmas shopping season on its head by bringing forward spending to the end of November.

The event has proved to be a curse for many retailers, given angry crowd scenes in past years and the fact that the price cuts savage potential profits during a crucial sales period.

It has also created real problems for high streets, which are already struggling because of sky high business rates, with an increasing proportion of sales shifting to online stores.

Generally, internet shopping accounts for just under 20 per cent of retail spending, however it soars to more than 40per cent for Black Friday and through the weekend to Cyber Monday.

John Lewis is running its own deals across the store, as well as price matching reductions made by rivals, and eBay expects around 100million visits to its UK site over the next four days.

Gap is being particularly aggressive with a blanket reduction of 40per cent plus a bonus saving of an extra 25per cent off anything that is already in its sale.

Over two fifths – 42per cent – of Britons are planning to make Black Friday event purchases, according to research by accountants KPMG.

Social media is awash with memes and tweets from customers flaunting their bargains and joking about their purchases - before Black Friday is even underway 

Social media is awash with memes and tweets from customers flaunting their bargains and joking about their purchases - before Black Friday is even underway 

Social media is awash with memes and tweets from customers flaunting their bargains and joking about their purchases – before Black Friday is even underway 

People are already joking about the bank accounts suffering before the official sales weekend kicks off

People are already joking about the bank accounts suffering before the official sales weekend kicks off

People are already joking about the bank accounts suffering before the official sales weekend kicks off

Its UK head of retail, Paul Martin, said: ‘Retailers will naturally be keen to make the most of these events, and our survey would certainly suggest that consumers are gearing up for it.

‘Of course Black Friday’s deep discounting does offer a key time for consumers to treat themselves.

‘Our findings highlight that the promotional period is favoured by younger consumers, with 75 per cent of people aged 18 to 24 saying they’ll be shopping during Black Friday, compared to just 36 per cent of 45 to 54-year-olds, and just 24 per cent of those over the age of 55.

He added: ‘It’s unsurprising that younger generations are most excited by retail events like Black Friday. Many shoppers are likely to recall how the slashed pricing in store resulted in stampedes, which is just not what mature consumers seek out.

‘Since Black Friday was adopted by Brits back in 2013, retailers have increasingly moved offers online, and that coincidently is where a higher proportion of younger consumers can be found.’

Respected retail analyst Richard Hyman said many retailers feel forced to take part in Black Friday for fear of missing out on a share on the nation’s festive spending.

Debenhams shoppers were 'locked out' of the site and waiting in queues as bargain hunters attempted to grab the best deals

Debenhams shoppers were 'locked out' of the site and waiting in queues as bargain hunters attempted to grab the best deals

Debenhams shoppers were ‘locked out’ of the site and waiting in queues as bargain hunters attempted to grab the best deals

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