People gather at the Broadway entrance of Macy’s Herald Square store. (Reuters)
Black Friday, which signals the beginning of the Christmas shopping season following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, falls on November 23. The day is one of the most anticipated events in the US as almost all stores and online portals come out with huge discounts and people stand in line for hours, even before the shops open, to grab the bargains of the year.
Online shopping giant Amazon has declared that it planned to roll out deals of thousands of items over 10 days. On the other hand, retail chain Halfords has already started offering Black Friday savings to attract as many customers eager for their Christmas shopping.
The event has evolved into a global fixture in the shopping calendar, raking in millions of pounds and features retail heavyweights like John Lewis, Argos and Currys PC World. Thousands of goods, ranging from electrical appliances to fashion and beauty products, are sold at reduced prices.
Shoppers wait in line to enter a Uniqlo store as it opens in San Francisco. (AP)
What is Black Friday?
Black Friday is the informal name given for the day following Thanksgiving in the United States and is held in the fourth Thursday of November. Since 1952, it has been regarded as the beginning of the country’s Christmas shopping season although the term “Black Friday” did not become widely recognised until the early 2000s. It is observed as a holiday in California and some other states for government employees.
While the event gained popularity in the US, retailers in the United Kingdom have also jumped on the bandwagon over the last few years, thanks to portals like Amazon and Wal-Mart-owned Asda. However, the event in the UK has become increasingly focused online, with British buyers and retailers shunning the chaos witnessed across America in brick and mortar shops.
Why the name Black Friday?
Shoppers carry bags as they cross Market Street in San Francisco. (AP Photo)
A trend in financial records showed that retailers traditionally suffered financial losses for most of the year (January through November) and made profits during the holiday season, beginning on the day after Thanksgiving which would be a Friday.
In traditional accounting practices, red ink was used to show negative amounts and black ink to show profits. Hence, the name Black Friday came up under this theory, signifying the beginning of the period when retailers would no longer be “in the red” and earn profits.
Black Friday 2018 retailers to watch
Argos (store and online) – The high street chain is a great destination for shoppers looking for discounted toys and tech items and electronics like laptops and TVs.
Amazon (online) – Expect a huge range of tech and gaming items, including the retailer’s own-branded items like the Echo speaker and Fire tablet, in the sales. Over the last few years, the brand has also featured Black Friday discounts on branded jewellery and fashion items.
John Lewis (online and store) – With their “Never Knowingly Undersold” tag, the retailer will be matching prices of its rivals on popular tech, home and fashion items.
GAME (store and online) – Huge discounts are expected on the latest console bundles and top games like FIFA and Football Manager.
Tesco (online and store) – With the closure of the Tesco Direct site, a majority of deals that the supermarket giant will offer this year will be in brick and mortar stores.
Currys PC World (store and online) – The company will offer huge savings on tech gadgets and electrical items, including discounts on top branded products like Fitbit activity trackers, Apple laptops and Dyson appliances.
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