Tesco boss insists: ‘It wasn’t out of hand’

Black Friday Tesco Blackpool 2014

Black Friday Tesco Blackpool 2014

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The manager of a Blackpool supermarket has today defended chaotic scenes at his store during bumper Black Friday sales.

Stuart Eyres, store manager of Tesco in Mereside, spoke out after a video emerged on YouTube showing hundreds of people tussling at his supermarket during the sales extravaganza.

Amazing footage showed bargain hunters battling with each other at midnight on Thursday to get the cheapest deals. Hundreds were caught in a scrum for cheap TVs and other heavily-discounted items.

Today Mr Eyres said: “My night team and managers did an excellent job stopping it getting out of hand.

“From CCTV and reports during the night I think all things consider they (my staff) did an outstanding job.

“Some supermarkets across the UK seemed to have an issue which got out of hand but not here due to the organisation skills of my night manager Jason Fairclough.

“I think he prevented anything happening.”

Footage showed customers scrambling for TVs and electrical goods, with people heard shouting and screaming – but Mr Eyres said he did not feel the safety of buyers was risked.

He added: “The store is open 24 hours a day – we allowed a steady build up of customers from 9.30pm and people were advised to queue orderly.

“I will take advice from the company. The feedback I have had from staff is it was a busy night, but a lot of people were proud of what they achieved. I do not feel the safety of customers was compromised.”

Across the UK shoppers rushed to stores to grab bargain deals, resulting in pandemonium in some places.

A Tesco store in Manchester was forced to close early while police were called to seven other Tesco stores in Greater Manchester as fights broke out with two arrested.

Chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, Sir Peter Fahy Tweeted he was “disappointed” stores did not learn their lesson from last year’s panic ahead of the bumper retail sales.

“The events of last night were totally predictable and I am disappointed that stores did not have sufficient security staff on duty,” he said.

Some reports suggested children in Blackpool were punched during scuffles but these were unconfirmed.

Mr Fahy’s criticism came after dozens of Fylde coast shops offered plenty of bargains as part of Black Friday – the start of the Christmas shopping rush.

Currys PC World, Asda, Carphone Warehouse and Sainsbury’s all tempted customers with cut-price deals.

Asda on Cherry Tree Road in Marton sold a range of goods at discounted prices.

There was trouble last year at the same ASDA store as shoppers fought with each other as they queued from 6am to bag bargains like discounted TVs, blu ray players, tablets and smartphones.

But this year the store limited the number of people who entered the sales area to 20 at a time, avoiding scenes 12 months ago which included hair-pulling, shoving and shouting.

Tracy Freeman from Marton was first in the queue with daughter Tanya, 15 and neighbour Derek Dawson, 29. The 43-year-old had arrived at the store at 3am to pick up a cut-price 40in television reduced from £250 to £139.

She said: “It is great for shoppers – the staff were really good and looked after us. There was no fighting – it was a good idea letting us in 20 or so at a time.”

Jack Taylor 20, Tom Baynes, 20, and Kane Whitehouse, 19, bought Xbox 360s reduced to £99.

Kane, from Poulton, said: “We started queueing around 4.45am – there are just so many good deals.

“I rang my mates and they got out of bed to come down here with me.

“I guess we just have an eye for a bargain.”