Black Friday Amazon sale to kick off this Friday!

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Black Friday

This Friday is Black Friday: officially the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. It's the Friday after Thanksgiving - which is a bit like the Boxing Day sales in the US - and in the last couple of years the tradition has spread to the UK too. Shops offer amazing discounts for one day only.

So what can you expect?


Deals

In the UK most of the Black Friday action happens online, where some retailers are offering some fantastic deals.

Amazon was one of the first to bring the tradition to the UK and has announced there will be over 2,000 deals - across everything from electronics to DVDs and clothes. It calls them lightening deals, because there are a limited number of each item - available for a limited period of time.

Apple has also confirmed that it will hold a sale - which is likely to include a number of refurbished items - but details will not be available until Friday, so you'll have to get in fast and make some quick decisions.

Asda is also offering special deals on the day - positioning them by price bracket so you can shop for deals under £5, £10 and £20.

Burton Menswear will offer discounts on a number of its best-sellers. Deals will be on its Christmas page, and each one will run for a limited time so you'll need to be quick.

Debenhams, meanwhile, is discounting its designer ranges - including clothes and homewares. There's also a half price deal on toys.

Is it worth it?

There are definitely going to be some great deals available for the dedicated and flexible shopper. There will be as much as 70% off some brands, which isn't to be sniffed at. There will be some people for whom Black Friday is a fantastic bargain-hunting opportunity.

However, if you are after something more specific, you'll face all the stress of one of the busiest days of the year, and may come away empty handed. And if you get sucked into the frenzy there's always the chance that you'll come away with something you regret buying.

In that case, you may be better keeping an eye on voucher and deals websites for news of one day sales or vouchers for the things you really want. There's still plenty of time to order the vast majority of presents if you wait a couple of weeks, so you have time for the right deals to come around.

Delivery

Most retailers will deliver within 3-5 working days now, and most have a next-day or even a same-day delivery option. Marks & Spencer, for example, will guarantee standard delivery by Christmas as long as you order by 19 December.

If you're posting presents on to family and friends in the UK, you'll need to get it in the post by 18th December (for second class post). In that case, for most retailers you might be best to order by 10th December to be on the safe side.

But even if the worst comes to the worst, and the deal never materialises, we live in an age where you can buy an evoucher at one minute to midnight on Christmas Eve and get it to your nearest and dearest in time for Christmas.

Beware the small print

Beware the small print