Black Friday: Civilised scenes on the high street - it's online where the action was at

"Last year was a brilliant experience for us, we just didn't make any money out of it".

That was the chief executive of AO's assessment of Black Friday 2014.

Doesn't sound that much of a success does it? But this year AO and a host of others are back for more.

Friday November 28th 2014 was, narrowly, the biggest shopping day of the year but was also a day on which websites crashed, deliveries failed and scuffles broke out in Tesco and Asda.

As a promotion Black Friday is flawed.

The aim of every retailer is to persuade you to spend as much money as possible.

The evidence suggests that while Black Friday unquestionably whips up demand and redistributes it, the event doesn't obviously generate additional sales.

The volume of stock that is shifted goes up but the amount of money retailers make on each item falls as prices are heavily discounted.

Today it was busy but civilised on the high street, online was where the action was.

I spent part of the day with a company called Capacitas which was monitoring the resilience of some of the big retail websites. At peak times some failed to cope with the surge in interest.

At one point pages on Argos's website was taking ten seconds to load. "Ordinarily shoppers get fed up after two second seconds and go elsewhere," explains Andy Bolton, the chief executive of Capacitas. crashed. On a day when up to £90,000 a minute is spent online it was down for an hour.

According to PWC the average discount on offer was 36 per cent, more or less what it was last year. The appeal of Black Friday for consumers is obvious, the benefits to retailers is less so.