Many of the UK’s biggest retail websites have been thrown into Black Friday chaos after being forced offline for hours as they struggle to cope with huge consumer demand for the best deals.
Hundreds of retailers are offering Black Friday deals through email marketing campaigns, but shoppers visiting the online stores of Tesco, Argos, Boots and Currys are all experiencing massive delays.
There have been reports of customers waiting over an hour to get through to some sites, which started offering deals at midnight. One person tweeted shortly after midnight: ”There’s a 37 minute wait to access Currys & a queue to enter Tesco Direct,” while another wrote “Big well done to @Tesco whose Black Friday deals mean Tesco Direct hasn’t worked since midnight.”
A notice on the Currys homepage stated: “We’re really sorry that the huge demand for our deals means you’re having to wait. Our Black Friday deals are live on Friday 28th only, but our Black Tag deals run until Wednesday 3rd December and most of these offers are available in our stores. We really appreciate your patience and we’ll have you on our site as soon as possible.”
According to Experian Marketing Services and IMRG predictions Black Friday will see 124 million visits to retail sites and £555.5m spent, while Cyber Monday (December 1) will record 145 million visits to retail sites and £649.6m.
Online users are at least avoiding a punch in face; many retail outlets have witnessed violent scenes as shoppers grapple with each other for the best deals, with police being called to supermarkets across the UK amid crowd surges.
Greater Manchester Police appealed for calm after attending five Tesco stores, making “at least two” arrests, and a Trafford store was closed shortly after the sale began at midnight.
Police went to three Tesco stores and an Asda in London, and Tesco stores in South Wales and in Glasgow and Dundee.
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