Where once you might have saved your pennies for the January sales, Black Friday at the end of November has, in recent years, leapfrogged the latter in terms of popularity. Not only does Black Friday give you the chance to nab some great gifts online and on the high street right before Christmas, but it is ideally timed for those other items you find you could do with at this time of year. Perhaps you want to update your furniture before you invite have the family over, invest in some new kitchenware ahead of the great Christmas feast, bag some big deals on party wear, update your warm winter wardrobe, snap up some baby deals before a little one arrives, even book ahead for some summer sun.
Born in the USA
Black Friday has its origins in the United States of America, where it falls each year on the day after Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is on the fourth Thursday of November, which makes Black Friday this year the 23rd November 2018. The event takes its name from the fact that retailers would find themselves overwhelmingly ‘in the black’ following the frantic spate of shopping activity which traditionally reversed their fortunes and took them out of the ‘red’ and into profit. In fact, since 1952 in the United States Black Friday has often been used to introduce the Christmas shopping season, initially with gifts and increasingly with all retail sectors looking to entice those people ready to snap up the best deals they can find.
Retailers encourage and reward this activity by holding incredible sales and promotions, by opening their doors early – and increasingly through the night – to entice more people by remaining open to catch all living patterns. You’ll see a great volume of promotion screaming out the biggest deals on flyers and in-store advertising, on the television and radio and, of course, the Internet, where banner adverts, emailers and deals scream out for your business around the clock with all manner of discounts and deals. You’d better shop smartly rather than blinded by the deals – the best bargains are often snapped up by those who know what they want to buy and take the time to scout around for that item – often doing their research ahead of time so they know where – and when – to have their money ready.
The pace on Black Friday sales in the UK really started to gather around 2010, very much driven by American brands such as Amazon and Walmart (Asda) for their American customers living this side of the pond. Activity in stores hit its peak around 2014, where scenes reminiscent of those in the States of people battling over giant televisions, huge snaking queues waiting for shops to open, rows of shelving stripped bare and even violent riots were all over the news. This point triggered a tide-turn in the way Black Friday was marketed, with recent years seeing a relatively more sedate approach. Of course, offers are just as prolific but today tend to be reflected by the online stores so shoppers didn’t feel so tempted to bundle at the shop doors or with deals stretching across the weekend and into Cyber Monday.
Mouse at the ready for Cyber Monday
Cyber Monday, also known as ‘Black Monday’, again has its roots in the post-Thanksgiving shopping trends in the United States. The day was so dubbed to encourage people to shop online – presumably after the chaos of Black Friday on the high street, in retail parks and in the supermarkets. In 2018 Cyber Monday falls on Monday 26th November and many leading online retailers will be reserving their best eCommerce deals for the flurry of activity (often by shoppers stuck at work but keen to cash in on the bargains)!
It pays to shop around
Of course, most physical shops and online retailers will be bridging the gap by offering price deals all across the weekend, while we’re seeing spikes in ‘spot deals’ too, with retailers like Amazon offering limited Black Friday offers for a short window of time in time slots running all day and all night on the web. There has also been a trend in ‘countdown’ campaigns, with retailers bringing their sales ever further forward to ‘catch’ the keen spenders before their money has gone!
The shopping centres, high streets and supermarkets of Bournemouth, like all places in the UK, offer Black Friday deals in their physical stores as well as their equivalents online. This gives shoppers who like to view the physical goods the chance to order online and collect in person – as well as return any web-based impulse buys! Like every type of sale it can really pay to shop around – whether you compare the high street to the web or offers on the same product from several different retailers. Some stores or brands will reserve special prices or offers for their online equivalents while you might just manage to nab a ‘sold out online’ item in a physical branch or get a manager’s special on top of the advised deal if you go into the shop.
Bournemouth and its surrounding towns have several branches of all nation-wide supermarket brands – from Aldi to Waitrose and everything in between. Many of these are the ‘superstore’ types of business, selling furniture, electricals, clothing, homeware and garden goods, sports equipment and toys to white goods on top of your weekly grocery shop and it’s in these venues that you will find the best Black Friday supermarket markdowns. Don’t forget of course what these places are best known for. You might well bag some great price on roasting joints, wines, spirits and champagnes while you’re scouring the grocery aisles too.
In 2017 Tesco threw a Black Friday four-day event right through to Cyber Monday and Sainsbury’s ran special deals on electricals. Asda took a step back from the Black Friday sales in 2014 after pictures stormed the media of customers tussling for televisions but there’s every chance they’ll join the race again this year. In 2016 Morrisons ran a staggering TEN days worth of deals, with prices slashed on many wines, beers, champagnes, even kegs of beer, ideal for stocking up ready for Christmas. Expect your local Waitrose and the Co-op to offer some Black Friday bargains as well as online if you’d rather stay clear of the congested car parks and out-of-control trolleys!
High street offers
The Great British high street is still a great place to go bargain hunting – especially now retailers have to seriously up their game to entice shoppers away from their smartphone, tablet or laptop; off their couch, out of the door and into the shops! But making the effort can bring about a reward with shop windows enticing you to go in and bag the best offers.
Several high street shops around Bournemouth have already announced that they are taking part in Black Friday promotions whether they’re blazing their deals on in-store flyers or shouting about it on the Internet.
Argos always goes big on Black Friday – just like it runs many of its promotions. If you look at their website they’re offering lots of advice on bagging the best deals, the best times to shop and good strategies to make sure you end up with what you came for (swerving those impulse buys at the same time!) Argos is going all-out to make this Black Friday as stress-free as possible and will hold your purchases for seven days so you can collect them when the rush has died down.
There are several branches of Argos in Bournemouth and its surrounding towns where you can buy your Black Friday deals in person or ‘Click and Collect’ to avoid delivery charges. There’s a branch in Bournemouth Town Centre on Post Office Road, another at Castlepoint, one in the Sainsbury’s at Talbot Heath, one on Ringwood Road, another in Saxon Square in Christchurch and a branch in Poole inside Sainsbury’s. Argos takes this association with Sainsbury’s further, letting customers purchase their orders online and collect from their local Sainsbury’s, if more convenient. Participating stores in the local area are Boscombe, Ferndown and Christchurch.
Boots is another retailer that kicks off its sales season with a big Black Friday. The website is already primed with advice that they will be offering lots of gift ideas – including perfumes and aftershaves, electrical and beauty gifts at the best possible prices for a limited time on Black Friday and Cyber Monday both on the internet and in the stores.
If you want to collect an order made online you can do so at any of the local branches. There’s one in Bournemouth town centre, another at Castlepoint, one in Westbourne, one in Winton, in Poole Dolphin Centre, Poole High Street, Moordown, Parkstone, Southbourne Grove, Canford Heath, Christchurch Twynham Avenue and on Saxon Square, in Hamworthy, Ferndown, Wimborne, Bransgore, Swanage, Bransgore, New Milton and Wareham!
Staying on the chemist theme, Superdrug also often invests in Black Friday with a countdown to the event on its website and offers primed for roll-out across its local stores in Bournemouth, Castlepoint, Winton, Boscombe, Parkstone, Christchurch, Wimborne, Dorchester and Weymouth.
B&Q declared its Black Friday 2017 plans well in advance online and supported the promotions in its stores in and around Bournemouth. In 2016 the hardware giant threw a full fortnight-long promotion on its most popular products in store and on its website so we’re expecting a similar effort this year. Bournemouth has several local branches of B&Q. You’ll find a B&Q Supacentre in Christchurch, B&Q Warehouses at Castlepoint (B&Q Bournemouth), in Poole, Southampton and a mini warehouse in Salisbury.
Hardware store Robert Dyas laid on a Black Friday event for 2016 and 2017 and the page is still live on the website so be sure to watch this space to see if they embrace the sales season this time around.
Mothercare also participated in Black Friday activities in 2017. This high street baby brand stocks clothing, shoes, furniture, prams, toys, car seats and much more of those must-have effects that come hand-in-hand with parenthood. The website has a live countdown to Black Friday, building the anticipating for the inevitable offers available on the web and in the stores and promises a “showstopper” this time around.
If you can’t wait until then they are offering 50% off some of its ranges – a somewhat growing trend in shops trying to tap into the frenzy around bagging the best pre-Christmas deals. And they’re encouraging people to sign up to My Mothercare for early warning on what’s to come on 23rd November. If you prefer to shop in a physical branch you’ll find a Mothercare Superstore in Poole Retail Park in Branksome and the next nearest stores are in Salisbury and on West Quay Retail Park in Southampton.
Currys PC World
Some of the most popular purchases across the Black Friday weekend is consumer electricals and white goods. Not only are these some of the biggest ‘consumable’ expenses we incur in our adult lives but reciprocally this is where some of the best savings are to be found on all the favourite brands including Microsoft, Acer and Dell.
Currys PC World for 2017 chose to channel its energies across a 10-day stretch of savings, with various discounts and one-off deals across its gadgets and gizmos to be accessed on your smartphone, laptop or tablet computer from midnight on day one. When you manage to bag that bargain (and Currys PC World Online offers several pointers to make sure you get the deals) you can get your new television, laptop, Macbook or Go Pro delivered to your house or pick it up in-store once the hubbub around Black Friday has died down.
Currys PC World stores in the Bournemouth area are Currys PC World on Mallard Road Retail Park, Currys PC World on Stoney Lane Retail Park in Christchurch and Currys PC World on Wessex Gate Retail Park in Poole.
High street fashion brand New Look has too been an early adopter in the hype around the forthcoming Black Friday. The website is already primed to offer savings and promotes the fact that its physical stores will also be running deals. Visitors to the website are prompted to sign up to a newsletter to hear the latest updates about the forthcoming sales on female, male and youth (9-15) fashion lines plus shoes, accessories and gifts.
If you’d rather hit the high street than the web or you want to collect your purchases in person there are several New Look stores in the Bournemouth area. You’ll find a large click and collect branch sitting right on Bournemouth square and another at Castlepoint. Other click and collect locations are Poole Dolphin Centre, Saxon Square in Christchurch, Swanage, New Milton and Lymington and a smaller branch in The Sovereign Centre, Boscombe.
Video games and consoles are a popular – and can be a pricey – hobby. So it’s no surprise that Game does very well when it comes to volumes of people hunting down Black Friday deals. In 2017 Black Friday started a day early, with deals on consoles, games and accessories beginning on Thursday 23rd November. They were urging customers to combine the Black Friday deals with their usual Game perks to make the best savings.
If you want to check out the physical stores over Black Friday weekend there is one in the Sovereign Centre in Boscombe, another on Poole High Street and a little further afield one in Salisbury and one in Southampton on Above Bar Street so come and grab the latest Fifa and you’ll have a great excuse to spend the rest of the month well away from the shops! The Castlepoint branch closed in 2017 but the Footlocker now in its place are bound to pick up the baton when it comes to Black Friday deals this year!
Halfords is one of those places you could easily blow a lot of money on treating yourself to car accessories, in-car audio, camping bits and pieces and cycling equipment so, again, it’s little surprise that its a popular target for Black Friday shoppers keen to snap up a saving on a coveted piece of kit. If you look on their website they’re really gearing up for 2017, promising offers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday ranging from bikes, scooters and ride-ons to workshop tools and sat navs.
There are several Halfords stores in and around Bournemouth if you want to pick up your web purchases in person or browse the Black Friday shelves, there’s a branch right by Bournemouth train station (Parkway Retail Park), another on Christchurch Retail Park, one on Ringwood Road in Poole, one on Poole High Street itself and one on Ringwood Road in Tricketts Cross (by Ferndown).
High street department store Debenhams promoted its online deals for the 2017 Black Friday holiday including big brand names, toys, games, beauty, electricals, menswear and womenswear. The company actually offered promotions for the whole week starting on Monday 20th November 2017 across all of its ranges to kick-start the Christmas shopping season. It also separately promoted its Debenhams Cyber Monday deals last year so watch this space for even more savings to be found in 2018.
If you opt to collect your Debenhams purchases from the store, you’ll find several branches within a 40-mile radius of Bournemouth’s sunny pier. There’s a branch right on Bournemouth Square, one in Salisbury, another in Southampton and a branch in Weymouth too.
John Lewis is a big player for Black Friday with deals across its home, fashion, electricals and technology department. Its ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ policy means it pledges to check and compare its prices even during the Black Friday promotion and will honour the online price if it’s not reflected in the store.
The nearest main John Lewis shop is at the West Quay shopping centre in Southampton but locals were delighted when the UK’s very first branch of John Lewis at Home opened up at Poole Retail Park in October 2009. So if you prefer to do your Black Friday shopping on the internet or you want to bank the best deals through the night you can always order for collection from this local branch in Branksome, Poole.
Making London local
The beauty of the Internet is that it gets you into shops that you would otherwise have to make quite a trek to visit. While Bournemouth and the surrounding areas have a lot of the top retailer in close proximity there are certain names that are restricted to the nearest big city (often Southampton) if not London.
Harrods is one of the big flagship London department stores and is notorious for its sales. People queue around the block for their chance to snap up a bargain for a snip of the usual price. The Harrods New Year’s Sale has been quite the event for decades so it’s no surprise that Black Friday has become another key day on the Harrods calendar. Expect deals on designer goods online and in store.
Selfridges is another big-name department store with physical stores in London, Manchester (one in Exchange Square and another in The Trafford Centre) and Birmingham. If you don’t happen to live near one of these four these branches and have no plans to head into one of the cities over Black Friday weekend they also run their deals on the website so make sure you log in with plenty of time for a good browse around.
Toy store Hamley’s is every kid’s (young and old) dream, founded way back in 1760 by Cornishman William Hamley whose aim was to create the best toy shop in the world. It’s certainly the oldest and largest, moving to its Regent Street location in 1881 and today features some 50,000 different lines of toy across seven floors. There are actually ten Hamley’s outlets across the UK now including Cardiff, Dublin, Glasgow and Manchester and 60 in the USA but if you want to stay away you can always snap up some savings on the website.
Sackfuls of toys
While you’re looking for bits for the kids, it’s well worth shopping around this Black Friday festival for any deals the top toy sellers are running to help you chip a little off the inevitable rocket-high Christmas pressie bill. The Disney Store is waiting in anticipation for the sales to start, promising deals on all the big franchises and trends from Star Wars to Disney and Marvel too. The nearest branch is at The Marlands Shopping Centre in Southampton but you can save yourself the trip and buy straight from your sofa.
Smyths Toy Superstore is also embracing the occasion at its Mallard Road Retail Park home in Bournemouth and on the web and The Entertainer too, with stores in Bournemouth and Poole town centres.
Online- only retailers
Many online-only retailers are as well known and trusted today as their high street counterparts. Let’s take a look at some of the key players when it comes to making a big deal of Black Friday.
Originally known as ‘As Seen On Screen’, ASOS is a prominent fashion and beauty website based in the UK. It was founded in 2000 and now has websites serving the UK, Australia, USA, France, Germany, Spain, Russia, Italy and China and makes deliveries to 140 countries around the world. The site has been promoting its ongoing promotions in the run-up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday but the sales page is primed to promote the big deals closer to the date.
Global web-based auction website and e-Trader eBay goes all-out for a sale and Black Friday is definitely no exception. The stage is already set on the website with guides to grabbing the best bargains before they’re all snapped up and some plucky eBay shops are getting ahead of themselves and are posting pre-event deals for those of us who can’t bear to wait!
Amazon is a global success story in terms of online retail with its sale events including popular Prime weekends inspiring savvy shoppers to log in day and night to bag the biggest bargains on electricals including the popular Echo Dot and Kindle, toys, clothing, books, computers and accessories, DIY and tools and many other departments. In 2016 Amazon’s Black Friday extravaganza ran for twelve days so expect a similar event this autumn.
A play on the words ‘group’ and ‘coupon’, this US-run but locally-driven offers site does like a bargain. So it’s no surprise Groupon is getting into the Black Friday sales spirit. A preview event has been running since the start of the month and there are already Black Friday-inspired deals for the home, electronics, fashion and beauty and kids and toys shouting out from the site.
Besides the inevitably big deals on electronics, Black Friday is making a name for itself across all types of retailer. Both high-end and high-street fashion names have been known to slash their price tickets to appeal to bargain hunters looking to get kitted out for a fraction of the normal price. La Redoute has been announcing up to 40% off women’s fashion for Black Friday since the start of November and Very (formerly Littlewoods Direct) is promising a Black Friday extravaganza with deals on fashion, home, tech and gifting.
Television shopping channel and website QVC likes to tease its impending Black Friday deals which begin last year on 17th November 2017. Familiar sights on the streets of Bournemouth running special offers in store and online include River Island with stores in Bournemouth town centre, Castlepoint and The Dolphin Centre in Poole.
Another popular market to get the Black Friday treatment is holidays and travel. The November sale is the ideal excuse to book ahead for some summer sun or planning a winter escape before the cold really beds in and there are great deals to be had on package holiday deals, flight deals, hotels, car rental, excursions and more. Expedia is just one of several internet-based travel shops promising to offer great rates for all types of break this Black Friday.
There are many other holiday providers looking to Black Friday to boost their sales while giving savvy sun and snow-seekers a chance to book their dream break for less. You’ll find web-only retailers like Skyscanner alongside high street names including TUI, Thomas Cook, package holiday provider First Choice, Virgin Atlantic’s ‘Red is the new Black’ and airlines too including seasonal deals from British Airways, Ryanair’s ‘Cyber Week’ and Easyjet’s ‘Orange Weekend’.
If you want to pop into the stores to book your holiday in person, there is a TUI Holiday Store in Winton and branches of Thomas Cook in Bournemouth town centre, Poole’s Kingsland Crescent and The Square in Wimborne.
Get fit with sports kit
Make a great start on your ‘Get fit for 2018’ resolution by snapping up some Black Friday deals on new sports equipment or get the kids some fitness gifts to get them moving before the inevitable Christmas slump sets in. Bournemouth has several sports stores embracing the Black Friday sale including Sports Direct (stores at Castlepoint, Ringwood Road, Poole, Boscombe and Christchurch), Decathlon (Poole Retail Centre), JD Sports (Bournemouth town centre, Castlepoint, Boscombe and Poole) and Schuh in Bournemouth town centre.
If you are looking for a specific brand it’s worth checking out their online stores direct unless you’re travelling to another town or city where they may be on the high street. Outdoor fitness brands Blacks and Millets are also on a countdown to Black Friday on the website. Or pop into a local store to browse or pick up your reserved items – the closest are Millets in Christchurch and in Poole.
Read all about it!
While Cyber Monday has certainly started to evolve the more traditional Black Friday sales into primarily the online marketplace our daily newspapers – in print and on the web – still do a great job signposting and publicising the offers available and this has only become more abundant in recent times. The Mirror newspaper is keeping a keen eye on the deals with details about the retailers getting into the savings spirit as and when they hear. Similarly The Telegraph is tracking the offers as they are announced and many other dailies are catching on fast.
Ask the experts
Of course, there are many financial and social commentators and experts conveniently on hand around the clock on the web to signpost the deals and announcements so it could pay to take note. Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has compiled his advice on where – and how – to catch the true Black Friday deals and his authoritative advice is often picked up and promoted across the media including on ITV and in The Express newspaper. Keep an eye on his predictions blog for insight into what might be the best deals this season.
Make your bargains bigger
However you’re shopping this Black Friday, make sure you get the absolute most from your purchases by combining your online deals with free delivery or discount vouchers, signing up to services like Quidco and Top Cashback to make some pennies on every purchase or choosing to click and collect rather than getting stung with delivery charges.
If you’re a store card holder or newsletter subscriber make sure you’ve not missed any extra perks you could be cashing in on and keep an eye out for flyers, coupons and ads designed to entice you to purchase from a particular store. With so many retailers wanting you to spend with them you can get some great extras and accessories thrown in for a haggle just to make the sale.
A growing trend?
Black Friday has gathered apace since its dramatic arrival on the UK’s retail radar a few years back. While Cyber Monday certainly has more scope – and reach – than the more traditional in-store deals, 2018 appears to suggest that the two events are going to coexist – if not merge – as savvy buyers shop around online and in store (often at the same time!) for the very best deals.
Some retailers really go to town with Black Friday, whether starting their Christmas sales early to take in the Black Friday weekend or offering an extended week, 10 day or even two-week run of deals to keep the momentum going before and after the weekend. It makes sense really seeing as Black Friday hits just before most people’s final payday before Christmas.
You’ll find the ‘pile ‘em high’ mentality in some shops looking to shift stock to make way for their Christmas displays while others will adopt a more piecemeal approach – rewarding those loyal shoppers who check in frequently, keep an eye out for deals and follow the offer teasers ready to pounce as soon as they go live or arrive on the shop floor.
You may then be surprised that several retailers are not making space for Black Friday promotions in their pre-Christmas sales plans this year. Perhaps they’re already running an offer over the same time frame or the event just doesn’t fit into their sales strategy or company ethos.
Don’t go to Next or TK Maxx for example with your Black Friday hat on as both retailers are some of the several who have already disassociated with the event. That’s not to say you won’t find any offers here through, with TK Maxx running a month-long 60% off event while Next bowed out of Black Friday in 2014 in favour of the success of its own crowd-pulling sale events.
If you’re a shopper squaring up to embrace the Black Friday sales, remember that besides the traditional retailers there are plenty of services, goods and suppliers ready to slash their normal rates and prices to tap into the spending mindset. This is a great time to look out for broadband deals, mobile phone contracts, jewellery including brands like Pandora, furniture, mobile phones, bathrooms, kitchens, cars and caravans, concert and attraction tickets, sports events, annual passes, dining deals… the possibilities are endless.
Unless you’re very ahead of the game when it comes to your Christmas shopping, Black Friday could just be the trigger you need to start getting sorted Just lay off too many impulse buys and remember a bargain’s only a bargain if you would want it at full price if cost wasn’t an option. All in all it’s a bit of fun, a chance to get some great deals and an excuse to start writing your own list for Santa too! Happy shopping!