What is Black Friday?
• 03 Feb 2017
You will be aware of Black Friday - there's a lot of publicity surrounding it. But where did it come from?
America of course... it started in 1932 as the "start of the Christmas shopping season" and is always the day after Thanksgiving, a big holiday in the States. Thanksgiving is always the fourth Thursday in November so this year its Friday 25th November.
It originated in Philadelphia and the term was used to describe the chaos caused by increased pedestrian and car traffic. Shops started opening very early on the Friday but this soon crept backwards with shops opening at midnight and then in 2010 Toys R Us opened at 10pm on Thanksgiving day itself.
Philadelphia, where Black Friday started
In the UK it became prominent in 2013 when Asda (owned by Walmart) launched a campaign which introduced the concept to UK shoppers. So in 2014 more retailers such as John Lewis and Argos got on the bandwagon and there was widespread traffic and social order issues. By 2015 many UK shops downplayed it as it disrupts traditional shopping patterns but the concept is here to stay in some form or another. With the significant rise in online shopping there is now less public disruption.
Not everyone agrees with the concept; in 2014 Next boss Lord Wolfson said "Offering huge discounts in the run-up to Christmas is pointless for retailers". He added that Next had no plans to copy competitors and that their sales actually rose on Black Friday with no promotions.