Black Friday: Slow start at UK stores as sales switch online

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The Black Friday sales have begun, but early signs are that UK stores have seen smaller crowds than last year.

UK stores opened their doors early and cut-price deals were put online overnight, with analysts predicting record sales.

Consultants Experian and online retail group IMRG are forecasting online purchases will hit £1.07bn, the first time they have passed £1bn in one day.

Visa Europe said £1.9bn could be spent online and in-store on its cards alone.

Last year's Black Friday saw shoppers fighting over bargains, websites crashing and delivery companies struggling to cope.

Retail analyst Nick Bubb said, "It looks as if Black Friday spending has been more spread out this year and more weighted to online, but every indication is that the combined event will be bigger than last year overall. It is too soon to say whether the retail sector will be any better off in net terms once the dust settles."

Police warning

A spokesman for Tesco said it had been very busy so far with early shoppers behaving well.

The BBC's Ben Thompson, reporting from a Currys store in Brentford, described a similar scene.

The police had warned shops to ensure they had carefully thought out security plans so they could avoid a repeat of last year's trouble.Shoppers in Kingston Park Tesco Extra in Newcastle

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