SHOPPERS are predicted to spend almost £8bn on Black Friday deals over the next four days.
Britons will spend just under £2.6bn today alone, an eight per cent increase overall on last year, and £7.8bn over the four-day period including Cyber Monday, according to predictions by VoucherCodes and the Centre for Retail Research (CRR).
Retailers are relying on a successful weekend and are hoping consumers will continue to spend confidently despite the first rise in interest rates in 10 years and a squeeze on disposable income.
A number of big-name chains such as John Lewis, Game, Tesco and Argos have extended their high street opening hours and many retailers have already offered days of deals in a bid to maximise hype and spending.
The UK spends more money during the Black Friday to Cyber Monday event than in any other weekend of the year, new figures from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) based on a billion bank transactions show.
Keith Richardson, managing director retail sector at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: ‘A lot of money will be spent today and on Cyber Monday next week, but the days of fighting in the aisles are over.
‘Both retailers and consumers are more savvy about Black Friday than they were a few years ago.
‘Stores know better than to give away massive discounts on items consumers were going to buy anyway, while they also spread discounts out over two weeks to cope with the massive strain that Black Friday puts on their supply chains.
‘Shoppers, meanwhile, are better at spotting the worthwhile deals.’
A survey by consumer group Which? has already indicated that more than half of deals last year were the same price or cheaper months either side of the event and has urged consumers to research prices thoroughly before committing to a purchase.