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Black Friday: Most 'deals' are not genuine discounts, Which? warns

Shops along Edinburgh's Princes Street as retailers gear up ahead of Black Friday.
Shoppers warned most Black Friday offers are not cheaper. Photo: PA

Shoppers looking for a bargain have been warned that just one in seven deals on Black Friday offer a genuine discount.

Which? analysed 214 Black Friday deals last year across seven major retailers – Amazon, AO, Argos, Currys, John Lewis, Richer Sounds and Very – looking at their prices every day in the six months before and after last year’s event on November 26.

The watchdog found 183 (86%) were cheaper or the same as their Black Friday price in the six months before the event and 209 (98%) were cheaper or the same price at other times in the year.

None was cheaper on Black Friday alone.

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In one example, Which? found a Zanussi ZHB62670XA chimney cooker hood was £239 on Black Friday in 2021 at John Lewis, with a £30 saving, but had been the same price since November 9 and was reduced to £160 for a fortnight in August.

It only increased to £269 on October 13, meaning that the so-called £30 saving did not amount to a worthwhile deal.

Also at John Lewis, Which? found a Bosch KIR81VSF0G fridge for £869 that dropped in price by £20 less than a week later. It stayed at the lower price every day until February 23 this year.

A Leisure KIR81VSF0G freestanding electric range cooker cost £969 at AO on Black Friday last year with a £30 saving. However, it remained at this price until December 23, when it dropped further. Which? found that it did not return to above the pre-Black Friday price until February.

Amazon and Very were the worst retailers overall for dubious discounts, with more than 70% of analysed products cheaper at other times of the year compared to their Black Friday price.

Which? found that some retailers temporarily raised prices of goods just before Black Friday, so they would seem discounted by the time the sales day arrived.

It found that a £279 Toshiba TV at online retailer Very included a £100 discount on Black Friday. But the TV was only priced at £379 for three days in the month before Black Friday.

Which? retail editor Reena Sewraz said: “Our research shows that finding a good deal on Black Friday is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Read more: UK retail sales rebound but remain below pre-COVID levels

“It’s rarely the cheapest time to shop and you’ll probably find the things you want are the same price or cheaper as we head towards Christmas, the New Year and beyond.

“Retailers are not blind to the extra pressures on people’s finances this year and will be keen to use Black Friday to attract people looking to get the most for their money, so we should still expect some deals. Our advice is to take the time to do some research if you want to find a genuine bargain.”

The warning comes as the number of people hitting UK shops this Black Friday is forecast at 12.8% higher than 2021, retail experts Springboard said.

Watch: Black Friday deals that will save you money