Stores besieged by Black Friday bargain hunters

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This was the queue outside the Asda store in Fareham as Black Friday dawned today.

People stood in line around the store waiting for opening time and the promise of bargains.

Jo Etchells, HR manager at the store off Newgate Lane, Fareham, said: ‘We had hundreds of people queueing outside the doors but we have managed it well.

‘We are only letting 20 people in at a time and we have plenty of staff to help them.

‘We have got colleagues and managers on the doors so there was no rushing or pushing.

‘We haven’t had any fights either!

‘This is the second year we have taken part in Black Friday so we have had plenty of time to prepare for it.’

Asda offers include a Polaroid 40 inch TV reduced from £219 to £139, a red Russell Hobbs 17L microwave for £35 reduced from £49.96 and a Samsung Galaxy Note eight-inch tablet reduced from £249 to £149.

Ade Cooper, deputy manager of the Sainsbury’s store at Broadcut, Fareham, said: ‘We had a queue of people when we opened at 7am but things have got a little bit quieter now.

‘We are expecting to have a busy day because of the deals and so far, we have definitely been busier than a typical Friday morning.’

Deals include a 40-inch Blaupunkt HD television for £150 and a Sony speaker reduced to £70 from £169.

Kevin Turnball, from Asda in the Bridge Centre, Fratton, said they had around 100 people queueing at 6am.

The customer trading manager said: ‘So far, we think we’ve had around 500 to 600 people in the store.

‘We had a queue of around 100 people when we opened at 6am and some of the big ticket items have gone already.

‘But many are still left like the toys so we are expecting good trading on those throughout the day.’

Asda is continuing with its sale tomorrow as a separate line of products are reduced.

Hundreds of shoppers took advantage of pre-Christmas deals at Gunwharf Quays at the centre’s first Black Friday event.

Dozens of shops have exclusive offers on for just one day, with this weekend expected to be the busiest of the year.

‘This weekend will always be the busiest but I think Black Friday is really going to boost it,’ said Colin Wilding, centre director.

Queues built outside outlet stores including Marks and Spencer, Ralph Lauren and Jack Wills before they opened this morning.

Retail experts predicted the scenes would be repeated around the Portsmouth area as shoppers latched onto the American-inspired discount day, with retail websites also experiencing a huge boost in customers.

Elsewhere, police were called to a number of supermarkets overnight amid fears of crowd surges as stores opened their doors to hundreds of customers on one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

Officers attended shops after staff, and some members of the public, raised concerns over the volume of people attending the Black Friday sales.

A number of shops opened at midnight, boasting massive discounts on a range of goods.

Police were called to four supermarkets in London as people gathered at Tesco stores in Edmonton, Willesden and Surrey Quays and an Asda in Capital Way, Edgeware.

Scotland Yard said in a statement: “Officers have worked with store staff to ensure that sale-goers were able to enter and exit the stores safely.

“No persons have been injured at any of the locations as a result of the overcrowding.”

They said no arrests had been made and officers were preparing to “withdraw” from the locations in the early hours of this morning.

South Wales Police also reported receiving a number of calls from staff at Tesco stores after they became “concerned due to the volume of people who had turned up to sale events”.

Officers attended a store on Excelsior Road in Cardiff twice after midnight over concerns about “customer conduct”, police said.

No arrests were made and police said they had advised management at the stores to prevent further issues.

Elsewhere shoppers described scenes of “carnage” as people scrambled for the best deals.

One person who bagged a coffee machine at a knock-down price tweeted: “After the absolute carnage that is black Friday in a tesco extra in the North of England, I walked away with a £100 coffee machine for £30.”

Online customers also faced queues as websites dealt with heavy traffic.

One person tweeted shortly after midnight: “There’s a 37 minute wait to access Currys & a queue to enter Tesco Direct.”

Greater Manchester Police said at least two people have been arrested at Black Friday sales events already this morning.

The force said on its Twitter feed: “Keep calm people!”

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