Sainsbury's has launched a Black Friday sale for the first time, offering discounts on 13 lines across 485 stores. The sale went live in stores at their usual opening times (or 1am in the 24-hour stores), and have been flying off the shelves.
Roger Burnley, Director of Retail and Operations at Sainsbury's, said in a statement: "It's a competitive market, so it felt right to be part of the mix this year and kick off the busiest trading time of the year with a popular sales event."
Among the biggest bargains are a Sony GTKNBT speaker down from £199.99 to an incredible £69.99; a Russell Hobbs Purify from £149.99 to £49.99; a Blaupunkt LED 40 inch TV for £149.99 (down from £299.99); a Kenwood stand mixer down from £159.99 to £79.99; a Dyson DC24 Animal upright reduced from £319.99 to £159.99; a Kindle with 4g wifi down from £59 to £39.99; and a Dolce Gusto Mini Me down from £99.99 to £39.99. Deals were limited to one of each item per customer.
The offers mean that Sainsbury's made some of the biggest cuts among the supermarkets. However, the list of deals, and the reaction to them reveals two of the problems with grabbing a Black Friday bargain.
The first is that if you are cared away with the savings, you may forget to shop around before you go. The Dolce Gusto Machine is listed with a usual price of £99.99, but is on sale (not discounted) for £50 in John Lewis. The Sainsbury's £39.99 offer is still cheaper, but reveals that you cannot always take these deals at face value.
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Can you take advantage?
The second problem is that they are being snapped up at lightning speed, in some crazy scenes. Twitter and Facebook users posted videos of some of the fights over items. Paul Frangu tweeted: "Pretty much witnessed a live version of supermarket sweep this morning #blackfriday #sainsburys #elbowsnfists". Platform Physio added: "Just avoided a collision with a fast moving microwave at Sainsburys! #theworldsgonemad-blackfriday". Meanwhile, John Self tweeted: "To paraphrase Alan Bennett, "Black Friday riots in Sainsbury's? I mean, Tesco you could understand."
However, the experience is far from uniform across the country. In some stores Twitter users reported plenty of deals left on the shelves and very few people queuing at 9.30am, while others reported scenes of chaos and items selling out within three minutes of the stores opening at 8am.
And there are plenty of happy customers. Jeffo tweeted: "The queuing at @sainsburys was worth it... I got my telly! #BlackFriday", while Yioa Christou said: "Love the #BlackFriday event in @sainsburys VERY happy with my new #Kindle which cost me £40 ;)"
The best approach seem to be to check that the deals are right for you, then pop down as soon as you can - with very low expectations. And as always, keep your head. No matter what you stand to save, bear in mind that no bargain is ever worth the kinds of ugly scenes we have seen in shops across the country this morning.
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