‘Black Friday’ sales bonanza fails to boost London stock market


London’s stock market fell on Friday, bucking an upwards trend elsewhere, as ‘Black Friday’ price-slashing wooed customers but was expected to hurt the bottom line of Britain’s biggest retailers.

So-called Black Friday, the now-traditional day of steep discounts in the run-up to Christmas, failed to boost share prices of retailers partly owing to fierce competition from online giants like Amazon, dealers said.

The mood in London soured also on news that British consumer confidence, tracked by pollsters YouGov and researchers the Centre for Economics and Business Research, has slumped to the lowest level since just after last year’s shock Brexit referendum.

“With sales rising at the expense of margins, there is a strong possibility that we will see retailers’ profitability suffer despite rising revenues,” Joshua Mahony, analyst at IG trading group, said regarding the impact of Black Friday.

“Unfortunately, while billions will be spent in the UK today, we have seen UK consumer confidence hit the lowest level since the EU referendum, paving the way for what could be a disappointing holiday season for retailers,” he added.

In late morning deals, London’s FTSE index was down 0.3 percent in value compared with Thursday’s close.

Shares in clothing retailer Next slid 1.39 percent to 4,324 pence and rival Marks & Spencer shed 0.2 percent to 298.10 pence.

Britain’s biggest retailer, supermarket giant Tesco, dropped 0.13 percent to 193.80 pence and peer Sainsbury’s lost 0.17 percent to 228.40 pence.

Industry forecasts suggest UK shoppers will spend some £7.8 billion ($10.3 billion, 8.8 billion euros) over the four-day period from Black Friday to so-called Cyber Monday — when online retailers deliver even more steep discounts.

“Black Friday (data) will be analysed next week for evidence the consumer is alive and well,” David Hussey, equities analyst at Manulife Asset Management,” told AFP.

In the eurozone meanwhile, the Frankfurt and Paris stock markets gained ground, taking their cue from an Asian recovery.

Traders had no leads from Wall Street, which was shut on Thursday for the Thanksgiving public holiday, while many US investors will remain absent until after the weekend.


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