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What is Black Friday?

In a short space of time, Black Friday has gone from being relatively unknown to becoming a red letter day (or should that be black letter day?) in the UK shopping calendar, but what is it and how did it get its name?

Falling annually on the fourth Friday in November, which just happens to be the day after Thanksgiving, the origins of Black Friday can be traced back to the United States of America. Business owners would regularly cash in on American workers enjoying a very rare 4 day weekend by increasing their opening hours and offering deals or price drops. From the 1960s onwards, this became an annual tradition and soon came to signify the beginning of the festive shopping period.

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How did Black Friday get its name?

Many of us have speculated how Black Friday got its name and there are plenty of theories doing the rounds. Whilst there is no definitive answer, there are at least 3 plausible explanations:

It was named Black Friday by police officers in Philadelphia, one of the USA’s largest cities, due to the smog, pollution and extra traffic it would cause, as customers made their way to and from the shops. For many retailers it was one of the biggest shopping days of the year, where they could finally turn a profit, hence they went from "being in the red" to "being in the black". An alternative theory states that it was actually retailers themselves who coined the term Black Friday, due to the exceptionally high number of workers who called in sick, just so they could enjoy a 4 day weekend. Find out more about the popularity of Black Friday in recent times with our Black Friday Infographic.

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