Black Friday deals launch weeks early as Amazon starts offers TODAY

Black Friday deals launch weeks early as Amazon starts special offers TODAY amid forecasts of shortages in run-up to Christmas

Amazon launched Black Friday deals today – three weeks before the day itself as retailers compete for their share of early festive spending.

Millions are already doing their Christmas shopping after they were ‘spooked’ by forecasts of shortages.

Warnings of gaps on shelves and reduced choice this December were prompted by a supply chain crisis, a backlog at ports and a shortfall of workers, including HGV drivers.

As a result, retailers are stepping up deliveries by rail, including specialist ‘wine trains’. 

Millions are already doing their Christmas shopping after they were ‘spooked’ by forecasts of shortages

A service from the Essex port of Tilbury to Daventry in the Midlands will help shops stock shelves with 4.5million bottles by Christmas. 

Black Friday falls on the last Friday in November but Amazon, Currys, AO.com and others are launching deals as they compete for their slice of an estimated £84.7billion to be spent ahead of December 25.

They are also keen to spread purchases over several weeks in order to avoid a weekend of courier chaos linked to sales, as has happened before.

Among the items already being bought this year are toys, shoes, and food including frozen turkeys and Christmas puddings, according to the Office for National Statistics. 

Amazon has used its financial might to grab a huge share of UK container ship imports from the Far East, while it has been paying signing on bonuses of up to £3,000 to hire staff to cover its Christmas delivery operation. It is promising 20 days of deals with new offers added every day.

Black Friday falls on the last Friday in November but Amazon, Currys, AO.com and others are launching deals as they compete for their slice of an estimated £84.7billion to be spent ahead of December 25

There is up to 45 per cent off its devices, including Echo smart speakers and Kindle e-readers. It is also claiming savings of up to 40 per cent off top brands including Bosch, Oral-B, Shark, KitchenAid and Sony, as well as offers from small businesses and artisans through its marketplace.

Steve Dresser, managing director of Grocery Insight, said shoppers are buying early because they have been ‘spooked’ by reports of shortages.

He said household finances were being squeezed by inflation including higher fuel and energy prices, and shopping early would help to spread the cost of Christmas. Supermarkets are turning to rail freight operators, such as Direct Rail Services, with each train capable of carrying as much as the load of 76 HGVs.

Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions for the Rail Delivery Group trade body, said: ‘We’re happy that rail freight can play a central role in delivering Christmas cheer, ensuring families have everything they need to celebrate in style.’

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