Belfast Telegraph

Black Friday: Record spending on the cards in pre-Xmas sales - we look at the top high-street bargains on offer

By Harriet Crawford

Get your credit cards ready for the big Black Friday frenzy - but try not to get caught up in any shopping stampedes.

British shoppers will spend £6,000 every second tomorrow as retailers offer massive savings and deals to encourage Christmas spending and boost sales.

What began as a US Thanksgiving shopping tradition has been adopted in Northern Ireland, with more and more retailers joining in every year.

High street shops are expected to bank £200m in Friday's sales - which many predict will even outdo the UK's traditional Boxing Day sales.

Last year chaotic scenes erupted at a number of stores in Northern Ireland and a woman was taken to hospital with a suspected broken arm after a stampede at a shopping centre over cut-price televisions.

Hundreds of customers had queued from the early hours outside the Asda store in west Belfast and became irate when the limited number of discounted electronic goods sold out within minutes.

This year Asda has said it will bring in extra security staff trained in crowd management to handle the influx of shoppers for its Black Friday sales.

A spokesperson for Asda said: "Given that last year was the first time we brought Black Friday to the UK, we know we didn't get everything right.

"This year we have upgraded our in-store security and ensured that there will be additional Asda colleagues specially trained in crowd management on the shop floor in all of our stores during the entire event to make sure everything runs smoothly."

It is hoped tomorrow's cut-price bargains will spur on Christmas spending, after the last few months' disappointing retail sales.

Festive shoppers are expected to spend up to £74bn in the six weeks before Christmas - with nearly one in four purchases expected to be made online.

Tomorrow, high street shops and malls will open early and slash prices as they battle with online retailers.

Visa Europe predicts that £360,000 will be spent every minute, or £6,000 a second, on its cards on Black Friday.

It is not just the supermarkets and chain stores that are offering Black Friday bargains.

Northern Ireland's independent retailers are capitalising on the opportunity to drive footfall into their stores. Kevin McCrudden, manager of S&R Electric Belfast, said: "Last year opened a lot of people's eyes in Northern Ireland.

"I think there was a bit of a skirmish in a shop.

"It brought everybody's attention that it's another opportunity for promoting deals pre-Christmas and trying to drive customers through the doors.

"Black Friday has grabbed everyone's imagination as another opportunity for great savings - not only for electrical but also for clothing and jewellery. Everybody seems to be getting in on the act."

Sainsbury's and Belfast's Victoria Square shopping centre have decided to take part in the Black Friday sales craze for the first time this year though they, like many other businesses, have refused to reveal their top bargains in advance, choosing to keep their best deals under wraps from competitors.

10 of the best bargains not to be missed

1. S&R: Toshiba 55"  Smart 3D LED TV

Was: £1,199.99

Now: £599.99

SAVE: £600

2. S&R: Hoover Washing machine

Was:£279.99

Now: £139.99

SAVE: £140

3. Boots: Micro Pedi Gift Set With Nails Inc

Was:£79.99

Now: £30

SAVE: £49.99 Online only

4. Boots: Fisher Price Rainforest Friends SpaceSaver Cradle ´n´ Swing

Was: £99.99

Now: £49.99

SAVE: £50

5. House of Fraser: Kenneth Cole Ferris Nested Suit

Was: £350

Now: £140

SAVE: £210

6. House of Fraser: Nespresso Lattissima coffee machine WAS: £250

Now: £125

SAVE: £125

7. Amazon: Rotary Men's Quartz Watch with Black Dial Analogue Display and Brown Leather Strap

Was: £199

Now: £49.99

SAVE: £144.01

8. Asda: Coleman 400 ATV 4X4 Quad Bike

Was: £6,500

Now: £3,500 (RRP) SAVE: £3,000

9. Asda: Little Tikes Activity Table

Was: £40

Now: £20

SAVE: £20

10. Amazon: AKG K452 High-Performance On-Ear Headphones with In-line Microphone

Was: £79.99

Now: £24.99

SAVE: £55.00

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