Friday 6 December 2019 12:01 am

High street sales plunge week before Black Friday

High street sales plunged the week before Black Friday as shoppers held out for bargains, according to the latest data.

Like-for-like sales fell 17.14 per cent before Black Friday, in one of the worst weekly drops seen since the Beast from the East decimated sales in March 2018. 

Read more: Inside Amazon’s Black Friday operations hub: The machine behind the retailer’s busiest day of the year

Online sales also suffered as consumers waited for price cuts. Non-store like-for-like sales increased 2.8 per cent in November from a base of 18.2 per cent last year.

However, in the week leading up to Black Friday – which fell a week later this year – in-store and non-store sales soared 24.05 per cent and 29.1 per cent respectively, demonstrating the impact of the discounting event on high street stores. 

Figures adjusted to take account of the fact that Black Friday this year fell a week later than last year showed that bricks and mortar sales were up three per cent in November, according to the latest data from BDO.

BDO head of retail and wholesale Sophie Michael said: “The figures for November are difficult to interpret as a late Black Friday means year-on-year comparisons are not straight forward…What is abundantly clear, however, is just how important the promotional event and heavy discounting have become to the high street.

“Shoppers simply weren’t willing to part with their pounds until hefty price-cuts took place, as the steep decline the week before Black Friday illustrates.”