Britain’s high streets were empty on Black Friday this morning as people were expected to spend more online this Christmas than in the high street for the first time thanks to the closure of non-essential stores. The major shopping thoroughfare of Oxford Street in London’s West End was very quiet as shoppers stayed at home with the four-week national coronavirus lockdown for England not ending until next Wednesday. Shoppers are still predicted to spend £2billion more than last year this weekend, but much of this is shifting online – and experts warned that some bargains may not be quite as attractive as they appear. Barclaycard Payments, which processes nearly £1 in every £3 spent in the UK, reported a 13 per cent fall in the volume of payments from midnight to 9am this morning, compared to the same period on Black Friday last year. It said transactions would be down year-on-year over the day with retailers spreading out online discounts throughout the month – before a predicted surge next Wednesday on what it has dubbed ‘Black Wednesday’. The developments come as: The Fortnum & Mason boss predicted that a third of British brands will disappear by the end of next… Read full this story
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