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Black Friday shopping a click away

Black Friday masses: A crowd of shoppers hunt for bargains at Macy’s Photo: Yana PaskovaAs a Londoner, Hannah Lyons won’t be having turkey and pumpkin pie today, but that doesn’t mean she’s not preparing for that other Thanksgiving ritual: Looking for deep discounts at the mall tomorrow.
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“I’ve got my credit card at the ready,” the 30-year-old business fashion student said while shopping at the Westfield White City mall in London’s Hammersmith borough.

That’s right. Black Friday, the annual rite of retail that commands American attention the day after Thanksgiving, is catching on around the world. Though the US is the only nation to gather for a family meal on the fourth Thursday in November, people from London to Leipzig to London, Ontario, are starting to rush big box stores the following day.

The trend of discounts to kick off the Christmas shopping season – a staple of US retailing for decades – reached neighbouring Canada about five years ago, though Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in October. The rise of the Internet has made it a worldwide phenomenon, as customers are always just one click away from the deals offered by US e-tailers, even if shipping fees often erase the price advantage.

“The consumer is savvy,” said Chris Morton, chief of Lyst, a London-based online fashion marketplace that expects a sixfold increase in traffic outside the US this weekend due to Black Friday promotions. “She knows a massive sales event happens in the US, and with e-commerce she can tap into that.”

In Costa Rica, authorities have warned consumers to beware of counterfeit goods offered in “Viernes Negro” sales. Germany’s Conrad Electronic SE is in the midst of what it calls Black Week, with deals such as 14 percent off a Samsung Electronics LED television. South African supermarket chain Checkers has promised to cut prices by as much as 50 percent for Black Friday promotions tomorrow.

Even in France, where discounting is highly regulated, supermarket operator Casino Guichard-Perrachon, media retailer Groupe Fnac and online store La Redoute are slashing prices for what some call “Le Black Friday.” La Redoute has 55 percent markdowns on Braun laser hair removers, Casino is offering what it says are unbeatable prices on Nespresso coffee machines and its online unit, CDiscount, will introduce Black Friday promotions in all eight countries where it operates, including Senegal, Vietnam and Colombia.

In Britain, Amazon南京夜网 Inc introduced the idea in 2010, and it has since spread to at least a dozen big chains, with Marks & Spencer Group Plc and J Sainsbury Plc this year joining for the first time.

“Amazon did the groundwork in terms of increasing knowledge and awareness of the event,” said Kantar Retail research analyst Bryan Roberts. Now “tactical bandwagon climbing” by other retailers has turned Black Friday into the biggest fixture on the British shopping calendar after December 26, Boxing Day. The trend got a boost last year when Asda, owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc, joined in with discounts on goods like TVs and gaming consoles, Roberts said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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