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As retailers hit by slow October

Brawls force Asda to pull out of Black Friday discounts

Black FridayAsda will not take part in this year’s Black Friday shopping frenzy, it said today, blaming the brawls at one of its stores last year.

The supermarket chain’s decision may prompt other retailers to follow suit. As well as unseemly scenes at several outlets, some found the impact of the one-day discounts to be counter productive.

Many of them were left with stock that had to be sold at a discount after finding there was less demand for full-priced goods in the weeks following Black Friday, which this year is on 27 November.

Asda said it had listened to its customers instead of the one-day discount it will invest  £26 million cutting prices over the season.

Chief Executive Andy Clarke said in a statement:  “This year customers have told us loud and clear that they don’t want to be held hostage to a day or two of sales.”

Asda’s announcement came after retail sales stuttered in October as shoppers appear to be holding back ahead of the Black Friday sales.

New data showed it was the weakest October since 2008 with sales down 0.2% on a like-for-like basis on the same month last year.

There was a suggestion that Halloween falling on a Saturday may have adversely impacted the figure. But the British Retail Consortium believes Black Friday may have played a bigger part in the slower growth which followed a 2.6% surge in September.

Black Friday, which has arrived from the US, sees heavy discounting on mainly electronic and electrical goods.

Fashion retailers have have joined in with price cuts in the hope of gaining a big pre-Christmas boost. It was introduced after Thanksgiving in the US as a way of luring people to the shopping malls after the holiday.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC said: “October was a somewhat disappointing month overall for retailers.

“A number of categories which we would typically expect to be popular on Black Friday saw a slowdown in October, suggesting that some shoppers may be holding out in the hope of some great deals at the end of November.”

England’s early exit from the Rugby World Cup was also a factor in hitting sales of take home goods from grocers.

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