Black Friday UK 2015: Amazon, Currys PC World, John Lewis and Asos to be winners - while AO World, Home Retail Group and Game Digital will be losers

 
Catherine Neilan
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Amazon, John Lewis and Currys PC World are going for gold this Black Friday (Source: Getty)

Black Friday is less than 10 days away (27 November for those who haven't marked it in their calendar/had it tattooed on their forehead) and UK retailers are falling over themselves to get the sales bonanza right.

Some, like Asda and fashion brand Jigsaw, have walked away from the discount day. But others are planning to go harder than ever in a bid to capture some of the £1bn Britons are predicted to spend.

But who will be the winners from what is expected to be the biggest single retail day this year? Analysts at Panmure Gordon think they know...

The winners

Amazon

The etailer largely responsible for bringing Black Friday to these shores is expected to clean up this year, with high consumer recognition as a go-to point for deals combining with the guarantee that it will be Amazon's biggest ever deals event.

The group is planning more than 7,000 deals over the week and expects to beat last year, when it sold 5.5m items at a rate of 64 per second. This year it has cut the cost of Prime in a bid to encourage new members to sign up, with the promise that they will receive first access to deals.

Currys PC World

Panmure Gordon believes the electricals specialist will have a headstart against other retailers because it acts as a key distribution channel for manufacturers, and will therefore have secured some of the best discounts available throughout the year.

It also benefits from strong brand awareness and its presence on retail parks could stand it in good stead as bargain hunters look to work the numbers.

John Lewis

Being "never knowingly undersold" could be a hindrance at times like these, but John Lewis has turned it into a virtue and the strapline has strong resonance among customers who are looking for reassurance that they are really getting the best deal.

It has invested heavily in distribution and IT ahead of what it expects to be a major day - managing director Andy Street recently said it would be its biggest day yet, as John Lewis bids to "win" Christmas for the seventh year in a row.

Asos

Clothing might not be as huge as electricals on Black Friday, but it's still a core category and with Asos acting as an umbrella retailer for hundreds of brands, will no doubt be a must-click site for shoppers on Black Friday.

It also appeals to what is expected to be a key Black Friday demographic - 66 per cent of 16-to-24 year-olds are expected to buy clothing on Black Friday, which means Asos is well positioned to benefit.

The losers

AO World

Analysts at Panmure Gordon believe the electricals etailer is "not living up to its full potential", and has low brand awareness among consumers. It also has poor Google search ranking, which will hurt its chances during this highly competitive period.

While AO World was a well-run company, with good logistics and a strong IT platform, it was the brand awareness that would really make it suffer. "No one will find them," said one analyst.

Home Retail Group

Argos and Homebase's parent group is coming into Black Friday 2015 with poor form, having had a recent IT meltdown. Panmure Gordon also flags that product availability "has always been a problem", which will be a critical factor during this time-sensitive shopping day.

The analysts also flagged the group's warning from October that trading was "less predictable". The team said there were question-marks over whether Home Retail Group had planned well enough for what will be a testing sales event.

Game Digital

The specialist retailer could suffer from "unprecedented" levels of discounting on popular games consoles such as the PS4 and XboxOne, meaning it will be prompted to offer competitive bundles of games to keep up. It also has limited stock: just five suppliers account for 66 per cent of its products.

Panmure Gordon also noted that the website failed last year. "Can it cope this year?"

Retail analyst Michael Stewart picked Amazon as the biggest winner and Home Retail Group as the biggest loser of Black Friday 2015.

"We truly believe Amazon will be the stand-out winner," he told City A.M. "They have a thoroughly well-thought out plan, and it's no coincidence that they brought Black Friday to the UK in 2010. They have scalability, so they can discount more deeply than any other retailer, and they can offer more discounts overall."

But the Argos and Homebase parent company was a completely different story.

"Home Retail could really blow up this Christmas - for numerous reasons. The had an IT meltdown two weeks ago, which isn't great when traffic is a quarter of what it will be on Black Friday. The products aren't in store, ready for same day or next day delivery. And the trading update sounded very uncertain."

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