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Lerwick among UK’s top ten Black Friday ‘hotspots’

The list of Black Friday weekend hotspots was devised by Royal Mail.

LERWICK has been placed at number five in a list of the top ten ‘hotspots’ for online shopping over the Black Friday weekend in the UK.

Also on the list is Kirkwall and Inverness, while East London, Milton Keynes and Carlisle also ranked highly.

The top ten is sourced from analysis of parcels sent by retailers and businesses through the Royal Mail network between 20-28 November.

Black Friday, once a recent American tradition, is largely regarded as the first day of the Christmas shopping season and it sees retailers offer discounts.

This year it took place on 24 November, while Cyber Monday – a day designed to encourage people to shop online – was on 27 November.

The news comes as a campaign continues into tackling high delivery fees imposed by some companies for customers in rural Scottish areas like Shetland.

Highlands and Islands list MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston is asking people to send him examples of businesses which charge over the odds for postage.

“The islands are particularly reliant on delivery services, especially over the Christmas period,” the Conservative said.

“This is why it is even more important that businesses deliver when they can not only to the islands but to remote and rural parts of the mainland – and that people get a fair deal on delivery charges.

“Many businesses can deliver to Shetland at a reasonable cost, but there are still some who quote exorbitant fees or do not deliver at all.

“It is clear that some businesses need to consider their delivery options to the islands and I have written to a number following contact from constituents with individual delivery problems. These are issues that need highlighting and I will be debating the issue of unfair charges in the Scottish Parliament later this month.”

Town centre organisation Living Lerwick, meanwhile, co-ordinated a number of Black Friday deals with local retailers.

Camera Centre manager Ben Mullay said it was “hard to measure” the Black Friday effect as it came at an already busy time for the business, both at the Lerwick shop and online.

But he said offers ran in conjunction with a major brand provided a boost.

“We got support from Panasonic this year to run special offers on Panasonic Lumix digital cameras which proved very popular with sales in-store, online to local customers and to customers on the UK mainland,” Mullay said.

“We also had a surge of online photo orders on our new website with the weekend-only promo code we were running. We were one of the first retailers to go online in 2002, yet it’s surprising how many people still don’t know we have a website.”

The businessman added that it’s “not all one way traffic” of goods coming from the mainland to Shetland, with local businesses competitive with “quality products”.