John Lewis said it had sold an average of one tablet computer every second and a flatscreen 40-inch voice-command TV every minute from the moment 24 hours of promotions began at midnight last Thursday.
The retailer’s internet traffic was up by more than 300% in the early hours of Friday as consumers logged on to snap up discounted clothing, handbags and electrical goods.
Over the week online sales were up 42% on last year and staff at warehouses had to pack 87% more parcels on Saturday than last year as the group’s website coped well with the rush of orders, avoiding the shutdowns seen elsewhere.
The tills were also ringing in stores with branches in London, Liverpool, York and Southampton among those notching up record daily takings.
The store revealed it had sold £179m worth of goods in the seven days to 29 November, a rise of 22% on the same week last year – a result described as “spectacular” by industry watchers. It also surpassed the previous sales peak of £164.4m in the week before last Christmas.
Consumers were splashing out on electrical goods, with sales up 41% on last year. Clothing was also popular, up 17% on last year, as were pricey handbags, up 37%.
“The year-on-year gain was all the more impressive given that John Lewis had also taken Black Friday very seriously in 2013,” said Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight.
Online electricals retailer AO.com said it had its busiest trading weekend in its 14-year history, while Maplin Electronics also said its online sales on the day had been up 70% compared with last year and store sales up more than 30%. Halfords, the bikes to car parts chain, said its website had 1.1m visitors on Black Friday, double the number last year, while online retailer Very.co.uk said its sales were up 134% on last year making it the busiest day in its history.
Jon Owen, retail brands and trading director at Very’s parent company Shop Direct, said: “If Black Friday came of age last year, it was turbo-charged this year. We were blown away by its success.”"