Commenting ahead of Black Friday, Andrew Westbrook, head of retail at audit, tax and consulting firm RSM said:
'With consumer confidence being rocked by Brexit-related uncertainty, the competition between retailers to secure their fair share of spend has led many to go deeper and earlier than ever with their Black Friday discounting.
'Retailers such as Amazon and Debenhams have already started their sales in order to capitalise on early consumer online spend in anticipation of the cold snap keeping many indoors this week.
‘Businesses that have purchased large volumes of seasonal and gifting stock will be holding their breath in the hope that sales materialise. If they don't, many stores may be forced deeper into flash discounting.
'Consumers who hold fire until later in the sale may well be able to pick up bargains, particularly for in-demand tech products.
‘The tough trading environment during the first half of this year underlines how important it will be for businesses to generate strong sales this quarter, even if it means sacrificing margin.
'The risk of being left with too much stock and a low cash balance to meet payroll and quarterly rent demands in the first quarter of 2019 will be focusing minds in the boardroom.
'The run-up to Christmas has never been more important to retailers' results - and potentially their survival.’