Asda has said it is pulling back on Black Friday deals in favour of spreading savings across the holiday period, to avoid what it calls “shopper fatigue”.
Andy Clarke, CEO of Asda, said Asda customers shouldn’t be “held hostage” to a day or two of sales.
“The decision to step away from Black Friday is not about the event itself. Over the last two years we’ve developed an organised, well-executed plan, but 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,” he said.
The supermarket’s decision comes as a surprise because Asda is owned by Walmart, one of the biggest Black Friday leaders in the US.
But Asda said it had listened to customers who said they would prefer the company’s £26 million in savings to go across the seasonal shop, from the beginning of November into the New Year.
These discounts will be spread across food, toys, gifts and household basics.
Some branches of Asda suffered from a social media backlash in 2014 after videos and photos posted online showed shoppers knocked to the floor in the scramble for goods.
In the wake of Asda’s announcement, James Miller, senior retail consultant at Experian Marketing Services, said: “It was an interesting move from Asda, deciding to withdraw from Black Friday sales promotions this year. However, in a sense the horse has already bolted now – consumers are anticipating Black Friday discounts and I think we can still expect it to be very busy indeed. Still pushing that £1bn mark.
“We may see other retailers follow Asda’s lead and look to regain control of the Christmas season. There is a chance that the Black Friday phenomenon will fizzle out in the UK, over time. However, we can’t forget it is also a major online sales day. I can’t see Amazon giving up on it, so maybe we’ll see it become more about online sales than offline in the future. I suspect most people would prefer to buy online rather than have a fight in a supermarket!
“Retailers need to plan for this online sales season carefully so as not to destroy margin. I think we’ll see offline sales may be constrained to a tighter range of bargains, while online only retailers like Amazon will continue to really push the day itself.”