HUNDREDS of shoppers queued for hours to snap up bargains as America’s Black Friday came to the UK.
Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and is traditionally the start of the Christmas shopping period in the US, with shops opening extremely early and offering promotional sales to kick off the holiday season.
Now Asda, which is owned by the American Walmart group, has brought the tradition to Britain.
Shoppers queued from one door of the supermarket chain’s Boldon Colliery store to the other to get their hands on bargains, which included HD TVs for £99 and tablet computers for £49.
Some shoppers took to social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, to complain about organisation and there were claims of fights breaking out.
But staff at the store said the event had been busy but good-natured and a Northumbria Police spokesman confirmed there was no record of trouble.
“We had customers queuing from three or four o’clock in the morning,” said ambient supplies manager Dave Smith.
“I have worked for Asda for 15 years and I have never seen a queue like that – there were a lot of people milling about but there was no trouble.
“We are close to Christmas, money is still tight.
“Customers are looking for value and quality.”
Even Asda staff were kept in the dark about the extent of the Black Friday savings until the wraps came off.
The company ran TV ads in the run-up to today and the offers featured were the only ones workers were aware of in advance.
“The plan was to unveil the products and prices included at the same time everywhere,” said Dave.
“The pallets came in and they were all wrapped up. We didn’t know anything about the prices and products involved other than what was in the press releases.
“Every pallet was shrouded in a black wrap and we had to unveil it at eight o’clock.”