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Black Friday UK Retail Sales Fall Despite Online Spending Boom


Despite a boom in online spending, non-essential shops remaining shut in England for the second lockdown have caused retail sales for Black Friday to plunge.

Retailers claim that they experienced record levels of sales on Black Friday, however figures from Barclaycard show that payments both online and in-store fell by over 10% in comparison to last year.

John Lewis said that sales were up 35% compared to their busiest day last year, with all its previous records for online spending having been broken.

Since the retailer started their Black Friday promotions on 20 November, over 2.5m products have been shipped - 67% more than in 2019. However, all 38 of John Lewis’ physical stores in England, and its store in Glasgow, will record zero sales.

Barclaycard processes almost a third of all the payments made within the UK. The company said that historically most Black Friday purchases are made inside physical shops, highlighting the hit that retailers have taken due to the pandemic.

Barclaycard said that in comparison to last year, there was a 16.7% fall in the overall payments made to retailers between midnight and 4pm on Black Friday itself.

On a typical Black Friday, roughly two-thirds of the transactions handled by Barclaycard come from in-store purchases.

Nationwide released separate figures showing a 21% increase in total spending by its debit card holders compared to the same day the previous week. However, compared with Black Friday last year, transactions were down 1%.

Springboard, which analyses retail footfall, said there was a 58% fall in visits to shopping destinations across the country by 3pm on Friday compared to the previous year.

Footfall fell the most in central London, plummeting a whopping 82.9%. The drop in footfall was less dramatic in Scotland and Wales where Covid restrictions are looser. Footfall in Wales was down roughly a third, whereas footfall in Scotland was down 50%.

Chief executive of Barclaycard Payments, Rob Cameron, said: “Despite the fall in transactions, the silver lining remains the growth of e-commerce. Already this month Barclaycard has seen a 32% increase in the value of online transactions processed, and this is even higher in key ‘gift’ categories such as electronics, cosmetics and jewellery.

“This growth signals both a change in consumer behaviour, with people unable to buy gifts in-store, and the fact that many retailers have been spreading out their discounts throughout November, meaning shoppers can take advantage of early bargains.”

Harry Pererra
Harry Pererra

Harry turns on his experience in journalism and programming to write about the latest news in the world of tech and the environemtn. When he isn’t writing for usave he is working towards his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and prefers dogs to cats.

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