Black Friday will be stretched out over the whole of November as retailers try to avoid shops becoming too crowded by bargain hunters.
High-street brands have announced plans to spread out the traditional frenzy of deals over several days and weeks in an attempt to adapt the shopping event to the coronavirus pandemic and its social distancing requirements.
One retail expert said this year’s hotly awaited sales are already being renamed “Black November” as shops draw up plans to make it Covid-secure.
Black Friday, which began in the US but has become increasingly popular in the UK as shoppers clamour for the huge range of cut-price products, is officially on November 27, but one retail expert said this year’s sales are already being renamed “Black November”.
Boots said it would be running deals for the whole month to “give customers more time to shop and help manage the number of people in stores”. It is also drawing up plans to allow vulnerable customers to peruse the discounts in dedicated time slots outside the usual opening hours of its shops.
A spokesman for Boots said: “We will continue to prioritise the safety of customers and colleagues in stores by adhering to the Government guidelines to ensure Boots continues to be a safe place to shop throughout Black Friday and beyond.”
Matalan meanwhile will not be running its usual in-store sales but will instead be offering discounts online and only on homeware.
Robert Dyas will spread its deals out across 10 days online and in store starting on November 20 and B&Q will also be running its promotional event over multiple days.
John Lewis is yet to announce its plans. A spokesman for John Lewis said: “While we do plan to hold promotional activity in November and December as one of our busiest times of the year, we will review closer to the time the size and scale of this activity with customer and Partner safety front of mind.”
Richard Lim, of analysts Retail Economics, said it made sense for retailers to attempt to spread Black Friday demand as much as possible.
“Spreading the deals out over the week or so before the day itself has been a trend in previous years, but I’ve been speaking to retailers and people are starting to call it Black November,” he added. “This is a way to try and manage demand and cope with capacity.”
He also pointed out that Black Friday has become a predominately online event in recent years with most shoppers choosing to avoid crowded stores.