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Asda axes Black Friday but rivals Tesco, Sainsbury's, Amazon, Argos, Currys PC World, Halfords and John Lewis banking on bonanza

By Lesley Houston

Published 24/11/2015

Chaotic scenes in Asda last year as crowds of frantic shoppers jostle for bargains
Chaotic scenes in Asda last year as crowds of frantic shoppers jostle for bargains
Chaotic scenes in Asda last year as crowds of frantic shoppers jostle for bargains
Chaotic scenes in Asda last year as crowds of frantic shoppers jostle for bargains
Chaotic scenes in Asda last year as crowds of frantic shoppers jostle for bargains

Asda has pulled the plug on Black Friday - but other retailers insist the controversial pre-Christmas shopping bonanza will go ahead.

The American-owned grocery giant said it was opting out of the event, which has led to chaotic scenes in previous years, citing "shopper fatigue".

Sales of over £810m during last year's Black Friday prove the imported tradition is a welcome start for consumers' Christmas lists but yesterday shoppers in Belfast said they won't be joining the stampede on November 27, no matter how good the deals are.

<< scroll down for list of participating stores >>

Some said that while they love a bargain, life was "too short" to stand in queues waiting for luxury goods, stating Black Friday was "too materialistic" and "too Americanised".

The concept of Black Friday has become popular in the UK in the last couple of years, with one of its first events being hosted by Currys in 2003.

It stems from the American model, traditionally the day after the US Thanksgiving bank holiday, when shoppers there typically start Christmas spending.

The following 'Cyber' Monday is thought to be the biggest day for online buying.

Asda, one of the so-called Big Four grocers, appears to be standing alone this year, however, with its rivals and a number of other diverse retailers already promising "jaw-dropping deals", such as Marks & Spencer, which joined in the consumer festivities for the first time last year.

Asda's first Black Friday event, in 2013, saw chaotic scenes across some of its 17 Northern Ireland stores with a woman even suffering a suspected broken arm in a stampede over drastically reduced television sets.

Order largely prevailed at its sales events last year but for this year's national spending extravaganza, Asda's boss has confirmed it wants to spread savings across the entire Christmas period.

CEO Andy Clarke said he believed Asda's customers shouldn't be "held hostage" to a day or two of sales.

Tesco's plans to go ahead with Black Friday appear unaffected by its rival's decision, stating it was "incredibly popular" last year.

Sainsbury's also confirmed it would embrace Black Friday again this year, but with a "very moderate" approach. Online retailer Amazon, Argos, Currys PC World, Halfords and John Lewis are all competing for consumers' hard-earned pounds this year but issues of crowd control, assaults and threatening behaviour prompted criticism from police forces across the country.

Senior officers said retailers had shown a lack of planning for "totally predictable" scenes.

News reports of such scenes have been enough to put off CastleCourt shoppers, Grainneul and Kathleen Corr, who said they won't be joining any Black Friday queues this year.

"I'm always interested in getting a bargain but I wouldn't be going down to the shops to queue," said Grainneul.

"I'm not interested at all," added Kathleen.

Friends Kelly Beattie and Mary O'Connor agreed.

Kelly said she'd rather avail of regular discounts while Mary said: "It's terrible people falling over themselves to buy things."

Royal Avenue shopper Jacqueline McHaffie said the shopping day held no appeal for her.

"I'm not a materialistic person and there's nothing that I want that much in the world," she said.

Belfast man Paddy Kelly said he "avoided Black Friday like the plague", quipping his "life insurance wouldn't cover it".

Stores participating in Black Friday

Tesco

Marks and Spencers

Argos

New Look

Disney Store

H & M

Currys/PC World

House of Fraser

Sainsbury's

Boots

Debenhams

02

Carphone Warehouse

Game

Halfords

Schuh

Smyths

Superdrug

HMV

Urban Outfitters

Thomas Cook

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