Black Friday in Britain: where it all went wrong

This year has been challenging for retailers, to put it mildly. According to the British Retail Consortium, sales were down 1.3% year on year in September, the most recent month available, and the worst since the consortium's records began in 1995. The summer wasn't much better, with sales down 0.5% in August and up only 0.3% in July – itself a record low. The Centre for Retail Research says it is anticipating less than 1% growth in real terms for the year as a whole.