YORKSHIRE-BASED supermarket Asda has done for Black Friday what David Cameron did for Brexit - lighting the blue touch paper and beating a retreat.
The American-owned store is credited with bringing the US shopping phenomenon to the British high street four years ago, with one-day offers that led to stampedes in stores.
Black Friday is America’s equivalent of the Boxing Day sales - a rush to the shops in the lull that follows the Thanksgiving holiday. December 26 is not observed as a holiday there.
Here, despite Thanksgiving not being observed, other retailers followed Asda’s lead - to the point where Black Friday has become an established part of the shopkeepers’ calendar.
But the bad publicity surrounding the stampede for one-off bargains caused Asda to pull out last year - and the store’s Leeds head office has confirmed that it will again not be mounting a Black Friday sale this year.
Media relations director Russell Craig said: “Last year we said that we were stepping away from Black Friday because, as much as we had developed a well organised and executed event the feedback from our customers was clear that they didn’t want the pressure of a ‘flash sale’ and preferred to know we were offering low prices throughout the festive season.”
The firm has instead used the occasion to film staff at its store in Pudsey, Leeds, taking part in a ‘mannequin challenge’ - a reference to the internet craze for standing statue-like.
Mr Craig said: “There are only so many ways you can make that message interesting for people – so we decided to have a bit of fun this year and get some of our colleagues involved in a mannequin challenge that we hope will both amuse and inform.”