Black Friday comes to Britain

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat Nov 30 23:56:34 UTC 2013

At 11/29/2013 03:19 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>Today either my AM car radio or my TV CNN said something about how
>the rest of the world was being influenced by the U.S. Black
>Friday.  I wasn't really listening, however, so I can't tell you how.

Now I can.  There are pluses and minuses.

1)   From the Boston Globe:
On-line headline:  Shopping frenzy shipped over to Britain.

But the print headline is:  Black Friday, with a
stiff (bloodied) lip. / Shopping frenzy comes to British; retailers rejoice.

LONDON ­ Britons lined up outside Asda
supermarkets and charged into stores when doors
opened at 8 a.m. as the British chain took on the
Black Friday mantle from US owner Walmart Stores.

Shoppers at about 350 stores across the country
rushed to get their hands on bargain-priced items
from televisions to tablets and bicycles,
recreating scenes that have been commonplace across the Atlantic for decades.

‘‘It was mental, and by shortly after 8 o’clock
most of the TVs and tablets were gone,’’ said
Bryan Roberts, an analyst at Kantar Retail who
witnessed the spectacle at Asda’s store in
Wembley, north London. An altercation between two
customers over a television ‘‘gave it an air of American authenticity.’’

On Twitter, customers posted photos and videos of
the chaotic scenes in outlets from Liverpool to
London. Asda reported long lines at stores in
cities including York, Leeds, and Swansea.
Outside the Wembley location, Roberts said, he
witnessed a shopper trying to cram a toy kitchen,
a large toy car, and two television sets into the back of his car.
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In Belfast, Northern Ireland, a woman was taken
to hospital with a suspected broken wrist
following a stampede at the Westwood shopping
center’s Asda store, the Belfast Telegraph
reported, citing eyewitnesses and the ambulance
service. A spokeswoman for the store said she was
unable to provide any immediate comment on the incident.

A male shopper was arrested in Bristol, southwest
England, following an altercation over two
60-inch televisions, the Daily Mail reported.

Asda, Britain’s second-largest supermarket chain,
said it sold 11,000 tablets and 10,000
televisions in an hour and lines started forming at stores from 5 a.m.

‘‘The reaction to our Black Friday sale at Asda
has been phenomenal,’’ Andrew Moore, the chain’s
chief merchandising officer, said in a statement.
‘‘This is how customers react to genuine deals, not gimmicks and promotions.’’

It’s the first time the British chain has held a
Black Friday event similar to that of its US
owner, which Friday reported its busiest shopping day of the season.

Asda wasn’t the only British retailer seeking to
capitalize on a shopping day that has become the
busiest of the year in the United States.
Department-store chain John Lewis Partnership
offered discounts on 100 electrical products for
Friday only, while Inc.’s British
website is offering cut-price deals on thousands of items for the entire week.

‘‘Realistically it is a bit of a gimmick to drive
foot-fall, but it also means that it’s likely to
be here to stay,’’ said Andrew Gwynn, an analyst
at Exane BNP Paribas. ‘‘If Asda shifts
significant volumes, competitors will follow suit next year.’’

2)   From the Independent:

Headline:  Asda stores witness Black Friday chaos
as fights break out over televisions.

Black Friday, the American holiday dedicated to
discount shopping, seems to have been
successfully imported into the UK, bringing with it both crowds and chaos.

As one of the first big retailers to imitate the
American tradition, Asda seems to have been
particularly affected by the frenzy, with
multiple reports of hospitalizations and injuries
from Asda stores across the UK.

In an Asda store in west Belfast there were
claims that heavily pregnant woman had been
pushed and shoved and pensioners had been knocked
to the ground. A spokesman from the Northern
Ireland Ambulance Service had confirmed that they
were called to the store to attend to a woman with a suspected broken arm.

"It was just a free-for-all. It was frightening,"
said one woman who witnessed the scenes at the
Westwood Centre. "People were getting trailed to
the ground. People were arguing with people. Two of my friends were injured."

  The woman claimed her friend was kicked in the
stomach by a shopper trying to take a TV from
her. "The other one, who is disabled, was
actually kicked to the ground and trampled on and
now has a broken arm and is waiting to hear if
she is going to need surgery next week," she said.

Similar reports have emerged from stores in
Liverpool and Bristol, with eyewitnesses
reporting in the latter store that a man had to
be restrained by security guards after becoming
annoyed that he could only buy a single TV.

Electronic goods seemed to be the main draw for
shoppers, but Asda staff were verbally abused by
customers upset by the lack of stock.

A spokeswoman for Asda said:"This is the first
time Black Friday has been done on this scale in
stores across the UK and our customers were eager
to take advantage of the great offers available
to them. We planned for high demand and the half
a million Black Friday products on offer to our
customers have been selling quickly since 8am.

"Throughout the event, the safety of our
customers is of vital importance and to ensure
our stores can cope with the extra footfall we
have full security teams in our stores and extra
colleagues to help assist customers in the aisles."


>At 11/29/2013 11:04 AM, Michael Quinion wrote:
>>Dave Wilton commented:
>> > I'm hearing radio ads for "Black Friday" sales here in Toronto. This
>> > strikes me as odd since yesterday wasn't a holiday up here. It's kind of
>> > like hearing ads for "Boxing Day" sales in the States.
>>We've been seeing them here in the UK, too, which is even weirder. For
>>example: .
>>Michael Quinion
>>Editor, World Wide Words
>>The American Dialect Society -
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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