Black Friday: Cannock's Newlife store is swamped, but high street sales get a lukewarm reception – with VIDEO
Bargain hunters were up at the crack of dawn to snap up cut price deals in the Black Friday sales – but not from the high streets.
Savvy shoppers appeared to stay away from the big name stores in the early morning and instead dashed for the likes of clearance outlet Newlife in Cannock which saw people queuing around the corner ahead of its earlier than usual 7am opening.
Mother and daughter duo Dawn and Courtney Morecroft, from Rugeley, were first in line a whole hour and a half early excitedly waiting with their big blue Ikea bags at the ready.
When the doors flung open it was a case of everyone for themselves as customers swooped on items such as purses, handbags and designer clothes.
The charity chain, which specialises in de-branded fashion items from major retailers with proceeds going to disabled children, slashed prices by up to 80 per cent on the day.
Watch as shoppers swarmed to bag a bargain
Retail manager Steve Samra said: "It has wildly exceeded all of our expectations. It is the first time we have had to have a one-in-one-out policy.
"It is literally all hands on deck and we have even got some of our nurses that usually answer the phones helping out on the shop floor.
"There are long queues but the mood is really positive and well-mannered.
"We have been planning this for months, it has been like a military operation so it is great to see it come off and in the end it is more money for the children we support."
It was a different scene at some of the major shopping centres and retail parks throughout Staffordshire and the Black Country where people were less inclined to venture out first thing on the cold autumn morning.
The new Debenhams at Wolverhampton's Mander Centre opened an hour earlier than usual at 8am to accommodate any eager shoppers but customers did not really start to filter in until 9am.
But the store is remaining open for three extra hours until 8pm with trade expected to pick up throughout the day.
Retail manager Sonia Kaur said: "It has definitely been busier than it normally would at nine in the morning.
"We have had promotions on all week but we have put additional ones on today.
"With us being a new store we didn't really know what to expect. Because we have had offers on all week people have had more time to come and shop.
"We expect to be much busier in the afternoon, the trade in Wolverhampton tends to come out later."
There was a mixed reaction to some of the offers in the department store.
Ash Patel, aged 52, a postman from Bilston, said: "I don't think there is much on. I came on Sunday and they seem to be the same offers.
"I was expecting a bit better. A lot of offers are 25 per cent off and you can get that any time."
While Val Redmond, aged 63, from Wolverhampton, had bagged herself a handful of items in the sales.
She said: "This time of year to get 20 per cent off before Christmas is very nice.
"The question with Black Friday is are they proper discounts or are they slightly manufactured.
"For me the January sales feel a bit more genuine. But you can't get away from the feeling that you have to come and have a look in case you are missing something."
It was a similarly lukewarm reception at St John's Retail Park in Wolverhampton.
Next opened at 8am but staff outnumbered customers in the early part of the morning, with one shopper even having to ask 'are you open?' due to how empty it was.
Manager Tracey Hughes-Grant, said: "We had a few customers in first thing saying they had been online at 3am in the morning to see what was in but they were our regular customers.
"This is the first time we have done Black Friday but it has not been advertised. Things will pick up but I think people have caught on to certain things and when to check certain prices.
"There are a lot of sales these days and I don't think many people think they are getting such a bargain."
Over at Merry Hill in Brierley Hill people told of how busy it was by midday on social media.
Megan Dorothy Pip tweeted: "Already massively regretting my decision to come to Merry Hill. Haven’t even left the car yet."
Many retailers, such as furniture giant Ikea in Wednesbury, opted out of the annual discount day arguing they provide low prices all year round.
Black Friday kicks off what is expected to be the biggest ever weekend in the UK with consumers predicted to spend almost £8 billion over the next four days.
According to predictions by VoucherCodes and the Centre for Retail Research just shy of £2.6billion was estimated to be forked out today, an increase of eight per cent on on last year, while a total of £7.8 billion will be shelled out by shoppers up to and including Cyber Monday - a seven per cent increase.