The Bridges set to see Â£1m spent as Sunderland shoppers take advantage of Black Friday
Over Â£1million is set to go through the tills of outlets in The Bridges today as shoppers in Sunderland take advantage of Black Friday deals.
The shopping centre, in Sunderland city centre, is experiencing its busiest day of the year, with 20,000 more customers than usual set to pass through its doors.
Black Friday, which originated in America, has hit the UK by storm, with retailers across the country putting on special offers to entice shoppers.
That has again been the case at The Bridges, where bosses expect 60,000 visitors across the centre's 94 shop units, and over £1million to be spent.
Centre director Andy Bradley said: "Black Friday has become a huge day for the retailers.
"It's the equivalent of Christmas Eve to us now, and will almost certainly be our busiest day of the year.
"On a normal Friday, we'd take in the region of 40,000 shoppers.
"There are about 60,000 on Black Friday, and we think The Bridges will see £1million through the tills."
Black Friday has been imported from America, and takes place on the day after Thanksgiving Day.
It has grown in popularity in UK over recent years.
Mr Bradley said: "It's absolutely huge - we didn't even realise it would become this big.
"It's a real calendar date now, so the retailers plan for it and make sure they have the right advertising and marketing before the day.
"It is extremely busy, and the people of Sunderland always take the opportunity to grab bargains.
"Last year, I was in Oxford Street in London and it seemed quite quiet, but when I phoned to see how it was going at The Bridges, they said it was absolutely packed."
Mr Bradley expects the deals to continue throughout this weekend.
He added: "It started to become big for us about three years ago.
"It has built momentum year on year and now it's huge.
"Most of the big deals tend to be done between 11am and 3pm, which is when it's at its busiest.
"We're now seeing, though, that it is becoming Black Friday weekend
"Retailers need to be innovative and creative, especially now, because it's getting tougher and tougher."