Black Friday calm as shoppers hunt for bargains

Last year's Black Friday chaos at Tesco Extra in Marton
Last year's Black Friday chaos at Tesco Extra in Marton
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There was no repeat of last year’s Black Friday madness at Blackpool supermarkets this morning.

Small crowds were well managed by security staff at Tesco Extra in Marton, which opened at 5am and introduced a staggered queuing system, while Asda in Cherry Tree Road didn’t even take part.

The event - an import from America where bargain-hunters traditionally flock to shops the day after Thanksgiving - saw extra security measures introduced after scenes of mass hysteria and chaos dominated headlines 12 months ago.

One Tesco worker said: “There were people clobbering each other with televisions and we didn’t want that happening again.”

The number of shoppers entering the store at once was restricted to 20, with each customer given a numbered ticket to prevent disorder.

Extra staff were drafted in to help convert the main entrance area into a bazaar of cut-price gadgets, including laptops, tablets, coffee makers, and pressure washers.

The store, which is usually open 24 hours during the week, had closed at midnight to prepare.

And the 5am opening seemed to have an impact of numbers, with fewer than 100 people waiting outside at 4.55am.

“We’re not actually running Black Friday either, it’s technically a Black Weekend,” the member of staff said.

“And we have enough stock to hopefully last us until Sunday so there was no need for everybody to come out at five in the morning.”

Down the road at Asda, it was pre-dawn business as usual as night workers continued to quietly stock their shelves.

The American-owned giant said on its website it chose not to take part in Black Friday after listening to its customers, and was instead running a series of offers in the run up to Christmas.

Fat Face in Lytham took a different approach to Black Friday too.

Manager Lee Siddall said: “Instead of discounting we donated. Under our new ‘Thanks for giving’ initiative, we will be donating 10 per cent of our profits to local charities around the country.”

The store, in the Market Square, announced Fylde Community Link, which provides support for people with learning difficulties as its chosen charity.

Bosses at the North West Ambulance Service had called for businesses to step up security and safety measures after paramedics were called out to several Black Friday injuries last year, including a woman hurt when a boxed TV fell on her head.

Operations director Derek Cartwright said: “We all remember the awful and chaotic footage from last year as people were hurt by being pushed over and trampled on as they hurried to get their hands on discounted electronics and goods.”

Meanwhile, police have urged shoppers to remain vigilant when browsing for deals online.

Last year, fraud spiked on Black Friday and remained high throughout the festive period as crooks targeted the digitally naive.

DC Mark Laing from Lancashire Police’s digital investigation unit said: “Online shopping continues to thrive and we know that so many people will be surfing the net to buy gifts for their loved ones.

“Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting loads of tips on our social media channels on how to stay safe and we would urge people to follow us and take the advice on board.”