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Asda steps away from Black Friday chaos

Published: 11 November 2015

Following the chaos seen in stores last year, Walmart-owned retailer, Asda, has announced that it will scale back promotions on Black Friday in response to customer demand.

Asda steps away from Black Friday chaos

The grocer, which takes credit for introducing the annual shopping bonanza to UK, said it will instead invest £26m into a programme of more sustained promotions over the festive season.

Asda president and chief executive, Andy Clarke said: "The decision to step away from Black Friday is not about the event itself.

"Over the last two years we've developed an organised, well-executed plan, but this year customers have told us loud and clear that they don't want to be held hostage to a day or two of sales.

"With an ever-changing retail landscape, now more than ever we must listen carefully to exactly what our shoppers want and be primed and ready to act the minute their needs change.

"When it comes to putting customers first, Asda has always led the way, which is why we're just as confident in our decision to step away from Black Friday as we were in introducing it to the UK."

Black Friday was originally an American tradition, taking place the day after Thanksgiving each year. Retailers ramp up discounts and offer huge deals on products in a bid to kick-start the Christmas shopping season. Recently UK retailers have jumped on the bandwagon with a day of deals both online and instore.

Last year officers were called to a number of supermarkets in London because of overcrowding and arrests were made when stores in Manchester and Glasgow were forced to close, as scuffles broke out, with shoppers battling each other for discounted goods. Police condemned the behaviour of shoppers last year and the National Police Chief's Council (NPCC) has urged retailers to reconsider their one-day flash sales this month in favour of spreading promotional activity out over a week.
If retailers choose to go ahead, they have been encouraged to step up security and call in police assistance only as a last resort.

Black Friday will take place on November 27 this year and, whilst Asda has bowed out of the madness, retailers such as Amazon UK, Argos, Currys PC World, Debenhams, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsburys and Tesco have all confirmed that they will be running a day of deals.

With the size and scale of Black Friday 2014 outstripping predictions and taking everyone by surprise, experts suggest that retailers can expect a much larger event this year - potentially growing by a third - boosted by increased customer awareness of deals in the lead up to Christmas.

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