Data shows that footfall rose the most in shopping centres nationally, and some retailers have welcomed a marked increase in toy sales.
According to data from MRI Software, formerly Springboard, at midday last Friday, footfall across all retail destinations was up 7.1% on the previous week, as shoppers turned out to hunt for Black Friday deals.
According to Retail Week, Argos reported a surge in toy sales ahead of Christmas, with substantial discounts on Lego and Duplo products proving particularly popular with customers. John Lewis also noted an increase in transactions in its toy departments.
The biggest increase was seen across shopping centres where footfall jumped 11.2%. In terms of regions, central London saw the most significant rise, with footfall traffic jumping 13.1% from last week and 1.5% ahead of Black Friday last year.
MRI Software Marketing and Insights director, Jenni Matthews, commented: “The largest rise in activity witnessed so far today came from shopping centres, which is likely to be attributed to their attraction factor with free parking in many cases alongside a variety of large brands, stores and hospitality options, allowing consumers to truly make a day of it with everything under one roof.
“Regionally, central London has seen the most significant rise in footfall today at 13.1% and is also 1.5% higher than last year, which indicates that the recent decision by Jeremy Hunt to not reintroduce a tax-free shopping policy for tourists has not dampened shoppers spirits this Black Friday.”
While online transactional data for Black Friday has yet to be published, Barclaycard figures show that the volume of transactions leading up to the event was higher this year than last (transactions were up by 1.42% year on year for the week between Thursday, November 16th and Wednesday, November 22nd). This refelcts how much earlier retailers launched offers this year.
“Over the last few years, we’ve seen Black Friday Sales arrive earlier and earlier, with shoppers spreading their spending over a longer period of time,” commented Marc Pettican, head of Barclaycard Payments. “Although the cost of living may be impacting some shoppers’ spending on non-essential items, many are still taking the opportunity to bag a Black Friday bargain. No doubt this will be welcome news to retailers, who may have anticipated a slower November as shoppers’ budgets continue to be squeezed.”
Marc added: “It’s also encouraging to see that transaction volumes this week reflect a much busier shopping period than a regular week within the year, too.”
Argos toy sales saw a marked increase; as well as a host of attractive offer prices on popular brands, the retailer offered customers an increase on Nectar points on purchases, and is offering price-promise deals across Black Friday.