The London Economic

Shoppers Avoid High Street on ‘Black and Blue’ Friday

 By Nathan Lee, TLE Correspondent 

British shoppers say they will be avoiding the high street this Black Friday after the events of 2014 which led to police involvement in several major retailers.

The research shows ‘Black and Blue Friday’ is now competing with boozy ‘Mad Friday’ as emergency services are pushed to the limit. Indeed, a whopping 82 per cent of those polled say the mayhem of last year’s event has put them off shopping instore because they would feel unsafe.

For those shoppers who were brave enough to go instore for bargains last year, 39 per cent saw others injured by falling goods or as a result of the overcrowding. A further 30 per cent witnessed store staff losing their cool with shoppers in a bid to keep them calm, while 16 per cent were shocked to see security guards breaking up scuffles.

Black Friday 2014 Events

    • London: Officers called to three Tesco stores and an Asda amid fears of confrontations in heated queues.
    • Burnage: 42-year-old man was arrested shortly after midnight at the Tesco Burnage superstore on suspicion of assault.
    • Hattersley: Man arrested after reports of brawls in a 300-strong crowd at Tesco Hattersley.
    • Salford: Man arrested shortly at a Tesco store on Woodrow Way after he threatened to “smash” a staff member’s face in.
    • Cardiff: Police called over “customer conduct” after huge crowds turned up to a Tesco branch.
    • Bristol: Officers sent to a Tesco in Eastville and in Brislington after there were reports of scuffles breaking out in the queue.
    • Wembley: Footage from an Asda in Wembley showed people fighting over televisions.
    • Greater Manchester: Seven Tesco stores in the Greater Manchester area saw disorder.
    • Wigan: Several hundred people reportedly tried to storm a Tesco in Wigan.
    • Ellesmere: Tesco had to be closed down because of overcrowding.
    • Stretford: Tesco Extra in Stretford was shut just half an hour after opening its doors after fights broke out between shoppers and a woman was injured by a falling television.
    • Glasgow and Dundee: Tesco stores at Silverburn in Glasgow and in Dundee were also temporarily closed to stop shoppers clashing over discounted goods.
    • 7 deaths and 98 injuries in the States since Black Friday started in 2006.

But this won’t stop people searching for deals as a third of Brits have every intention of shopping online this Black Friday, from the safety of their home or workplace.

A spokesman for , which conducted the study of 2,000 shoppers, said: “After the madness of 2014, it’s not surprising more people are opting for the sanctuary of ecommerce.

“Trolley warfare literally broke out last year as desperate shoppers battled for the best bargains – and this included scrabbling for sale items, a tug-of-war with televisions and fights over technology.

“High street shops with a capacity for tens of people were experiencing crowds of several hundred squeezing into the aisles, the hysteria was incredible. By comparison, the last Friday before Christmas – dubbed ‘Mad Friday’ by the press – which is always predicted as the worst day for trips to A&E and Brits behaving badly, wasn’t anywhere near as dangerous or problematic. As a result, many stores this year are closing their doors altogether to Black Friday, while many sensible shoppers are choosing to find their bargains online.”

The study shows that while the high street brawls were terrifying for many, 43 per cent of those who braved the shops did end up with the bargains they wanted.

But many don’t believe the saving they made in store was worth the aggravation, and 47 per cent would feel frightened to go back this year, while 44 per cent say it scares them that people can behave so badly just to get a bargain. Two thirds of those polled claim people lose all sense of reason when a major sale is on, and 45 per cent say it just shows the lengths folk are prepared to go to in order to save money.

But many British adults believe the deals open to them on Black Friday are worth fighting for, and as such the average person will spend at least an hour and a half surfing the web to find a bargain. One in 10 shoppers have taken Black Friday off work to shop for deals this year, but one in 20 have every intention of looking for deals while sat at their desk.

The spokesman for continues: “While we don’t condone anyone pulling a sickie from work or accessing shopping sites when they’re meant to be working, it is hard to ignore the hype of this marvellous shopping event.

“We would recommend doing your homework in advance, as there are plenty of retailers which are already publicising their intentions for the day itself. And although we’re fairly sure that after last year’s ‘Black and Blue Friday’ high street shops will be pulling out all the stops to ensure the shopping experience is safer for shoppers, we can’t help but think it would be easier to surf the web for deals.”

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