Black Friday deals in London, UK. Photograph: Dinendra Haria/REX/Shutterstock
John Rogers, the new chief executive officer of Argos, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that there had been 500,000 visits to the retailer’s website in the first hour of online trading between midnight and 1pm – up 50% on last year.
He expects peak traffic between 7am and 10am as people shop on their mobile phones on their way to work. Rogers – the former finance director at Sainsbury’s which has taken over the business – was speaking from Argos’s distribution warehouse in Burton-on-Trent, as part of a whistlestop ‘national tour’ of its stores and facilities in the run-up to Christmas.
For Black Friday itself, Argos has set up three “war rooms”. One will monitor and tweak deals, one will oversee systems – standing ready to tackle any technical glitches – and the third will oversee communications with shoppers.
Rogers predicts that Argos will take 70% or more of its orders online on that day, compared with 50% during normal trading, and that the company is better prepared for Black Friday than last year after rigorously testing its systems.
Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
Black Friday is here again, but this time without the shop-floor stampedes.
Retailers are instead reporting a surge in online traffic as shoppers seek out the best bargains at the discount event that began in the US but has been adopted by the UK in recent years.
Argos said there were half a million visitors to its website in the first hour of Black Friday trading.
So far we haven’t seen the queues and chaos in shops that characterised Black Friday in 2014. It’s much more orderly this year.
We will be bringing you updates on this, and other developments, as they happen.