Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, has always been one of the busiest shopping days of the year in the states and often offers and price cuts have enticed British shoppers in the UK too. The day has always been significant to shoppers in the US as it marks the first day of Christmas shopping, running up to the 24th Dec - which is the busiest day.
According to an article on AdWeek, Retail Historian Robert Spector believes that Black Friday is 'overrated' and is beginning to 'gray' as other buying incentives, such as Cyber Monday, are offered. '...Nobody paid attention to the "official" start of holiday shopping until 1939 when President Roosevelt, responding to the concerns of worried retailers, moved Thanksgiving up a week to add an extra seven days to what had been a 24-day season. The all-important Friday would not get its "Black" prefix until 1966 when (the story goes) the Philadelphia Police Department coined the term to describe the traffic jams downtown that resulted from people stampeding to the sales many stores were offering.... Because of the tight profit margins in retail, many brands historically operated in the red until holiday traffic brought the revenue surge necessary to switch to black ink in the old accounting ledgers.'
Retailers eagerly await the event this year which falls on the 25th November (Cyber Mon is 28th), anticipating a drop in sales, not helped by the new age of internet shopping.