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Bleak Friday as shoppers swerve the High Street

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Bleak Friday as shoppers swerve the High Street: Bitter blow as numbers remained below pre-pandemic levels

High Streets suffered a bitter blow as Black Friday deals did not lure shoppers back into stores. 

Numbers remained below pre-pandemic levels. While high streets and shopping centres were busier than last 12 months, up 4.6 per cent, overall visitors were a fifth lower than before Covid struck. 

Analysts Springboard said high streets were the worst affected, with sales – 26.5 per cent below pre-pandemic levels. 

No deal: Business was slow as High Streets suffered with Black Friday deals failing to lure shoppers back into stores

Retail parks performed best, but still welcomed 11.5 per cent fewer shoppers than on Black Friday in 2019. 

Black Friday is a US import that was taken up by British shoppers in 2010 when Amazon lured them to the event on its website. However it wasn’t until 2013 when Walmart-owned Asda took part that it really took off. 

While it has provided a sales boost for large retailers, it has been to the detriment of small shop owners. Former Marks and Spencer boss Steve Rowe was famously against it, telling reporters in 2017: ‘I bet most retailers wish it was an American import that never arrived.’ 

Shops across the country were hoping for a pre-Christmas boost from cash-strapped shoppers benefiting from the Black Friday discounts. 

However the underwhelming turnout painted a worrying picture for retailers within the run-up to Christmas amid the spiralling cost of living. 

Shares in the UK's biggest listed retailers struggled with Next (model pictured) shares rising 0.1 per cent

Shares within the UK’s biggest listed retailers struggled with Next (model pictured) shares rising 0.1 per cent

Shore Capital retail analyst Clive Black said Black Friday may not find yourself being a ‘notable turnaround moment’ as the price of living squeeze bites. 

He said: ‘Whilst shoppers will little question have a look and seek the few real bargains on the market, many will probably be holding back with essential bills rising, rates of interest on the up, council taxes to come back too. Retailers are also smarter on the Black Friday phenomenon, and so it’s a rather more muted affair.’ 

Analysts suggested spending had been spread further across the week as households prepared for the World Cup games for Wales and England yesterday. 

Shares within the UK’s biggest listed retailers struggled. 

Next rose 0.1 per cent, or 6p, to 5752p, but M&S fell 0.8 per cent, or 1.05p, to 125.7p and JD Sports sank 0.9 per cent, or 1.15p, to 124.55p. 

In the most recent blow for online fashion, Asos fell by 3.5 per cent, or 23p, to 642p and Boohoo by 3.2 per cent, or 1.32p, to 40.05p.

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