No sooner had the UK embraced Black Friday than the American holiday shopping tradition looks to be on its way out.
Asda, the British supermarket which imported the event from US parent Wal-Mart Stores in 2013, said it will not participate this time around.
Instead of having customers line up all night for a limited number of heavily discounted items such as flat-screen televisions, Asda plans to reduce prices by £26m (€36.4m) across the season.
Asda’s move illustrates how UK retailers are backing away from a quintessentially American custom, only two years after adopting it.
Black Friday events last year saw customers fighting in the aisles, while retailers’ websites were unable to cope with demand.
US retailers are also showing restraint: Discounters Wal-Mart and Target Corp will spread out deals over a longer period.
Last year’s Black Friday “took sales away from full-priced sales over the Christmas period”, said Richard Perks, director of retail research at Mintel.
Asda said its decision reflects “shopper fatigue setting in around flash sales on big-ticket, non-essential items at Christmas”.
Earlier this year, John Lewis managing director Andy Street said it was “collective madness” that retailers “line up to give our product away” four weeks before Christmas.
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