The biggest sales day of the year is fast approaching – and although Black Friday doesn’t officially start until the end of the week, many retailers have started to release early deals.

The annual event, which gained popularity in the UK after it was borrowed from the US a decade ago, heralds the start of the Christmas shopping season and is an ideal opportunity to buy festive presents at a cheaper price.

Both Black Friday and Cyber Monday are expected to generate billions of pounds in sales, thanks in large part to retailers releasing their deals early.

Black Friday

Why is Black Friday called Black Friday?

Whilst there is no definitive answer for this, the name is thought to be a reference to the ‘black ink’ on the balance sheets from the huge profits the retailers rake in on this day (rather than being in the red).

Such are the sales figures on Black Friday that retailers could spend the whole year prior in the red, and surge into the black on one day.

Another explanation is that the name arose from police and bus drivers in Philadelphia describing the bad traffic that would occur on the Friday after Thanksgiving due to shoppers and people arriving to watch the Army-Navy football fame on the Saturday.

Where did Black Friday originate?

It appears that is was in Philadelphia that the term first gained prominence due to the excess traffic from shoppers on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

The term ‘Black Friday’ was used before that, in 1951, by Factory Management and Maintenance, but they were referring to the problem of workers calling in sick the day after Thanksgiving rather than anything to do with shopping.

Philadelphia tried to put a positive spin on ‘Black Friday’ in the 1960s and a PR team tried to change it to ‘Big Friday’ but this never caught on.

Black Friday had spread across America by the 1980s, but most agree that it begun in Philadelphia.