Black Friday: retailers say its the busiest day on record – Telegraph.co.uk

Black Friday has traditionally been an American retail phenomenon that takes
place on the day after Thanksgiving.

However, Amazon brought the promotional event into the UK in 2010 and this
year most of Britain’s retailers offered discounts. The online retailer said
that it had recorded orders for more than 5.5 million goods on Friday – with
around 64 items sold per second. This surpassed the 4 million sold last
black Friday, and a previous record of 4.1 million sales which was achieved
on “Cyber Monday” last year – the first Monday after Thanksgiving.

Vice President of EU Retail at Amazon, Xavier Garambois, said: “Ever since we
introduced Black Friday to the UK in 2010, sales have increased year on year
but this year really has surpassed all of our expectations.

“The public’s appetite for Black Friday has been bigger than ever, kicking off
the Christmas shopping period in earnest and establishing Black Friday as a
fixture on the UK Christmas shopping calendar.”

Police had to step in to break up fights that erupted in the aisles of
supermarkets offering huge price cuts on the annual promotions day, which
has now emerged as one of Britain’s busiest shopping days.

Retailers in Oxford Street reported a 20 per cent increase in visitors on
Friday morning, compared with Black Friday last year.

New West End Company, which represents the shops in Oxford Street, said they
were expecting sales for the three-day weekend to be between 10 and 15 per
cent higher than the same period last year .

Jace Tyrrell, Deputy Chief Executive, of the company said on Saturday that
stores were reporting “brisk trade” with forecasts now suggesting £150m will
be spent over the three days.

He said: “We are really seeing the public embrace Black Friday – it’s becoming
like Boxing Day for retailers. It used to be that this was mainly about
technology products but it is far broader now, and we are seeing a lot of
fashion sales.”

Mr Tyrell said on Saturday that Oxford Street was busy, but did not seem to be
suffering from the outbreaks of violence in other parts of the country, as
shoppers clamoured to get their hands on a bargain.

Retailers said the timing of Black Friday brought shoppers out in their hordes.

Ian Dallow of Debenhams in Oxford Street said, “The last Friday of November
has always been a big shopping day, because it falls around the penultimate
pay day before Christmas. Black Friday has made it even more exciting and
this Friday will not disappoint, with plenty of fantastic opportunities to
find the perfect Christmas gift.

Asda is among the retailers extending the offers today after more than 2
million people visited its stores yesterday, sparking chaos and violence in
some branches over discounted TVs.

Huge demand saw shoppers struggling to access the websites of Tesco Direct,
Currys, Argos and GAME yesterday.

One of Britain’s most senior police officers criticised retailers for their
handling of the crowds which threatened to cause crushes and urged retailers
to work with police in further sales events.

At least three people were arrested and a woman was hurt after being hit by a
falling television, while some outlets were forced to shut to restore order.

Eyewitnesses described how bargain-hunters behaved “like animals” and likened
scenes to “a war zone”.

Sir Peter Fahy, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, whose force
appealed to shoppers to “keep calm”, said the events were “totally
predictable” and that he was “disappointed stores did not have sufficient
security staff on duty”.

“This created situations where we had to deal with crushing, disorder and
disputes between customers,” he said.

“It does not help that this was in the early hours when police resources are
already stretched.

“Across Greater Manchester large supermarkets already make significant demands
on policing through calls to shoplifting, anti-social behaviour and thefts
of fuel from their petrol stations – much of which is preventable.

“We just ask these stores to work with us to reduce the demands on policing
and reduce the risks of disorder and crime.”

After Metropolitan police were called to three Tesco branches in London
following reports of large crowds in Edmonton, Willesden and Surrey Quays,
Sergeant Paul Marshall said on Twitter: “Even on Black Friday shoving people
to the floor so you can get £20 off a coffee maker is still an assault.”

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