Northern Ireland’s first major Black Friday sale led to riot like scenes in two Belfast stores as retailer Asda slashed prices across a range of goods.
One woman was taken to the hospital with a suspected broken arm at a shopping center in West Belfast.
Another onlooker said angry shoppers came close to rioting when one Asda store announced it had not received any cut-price stock.
The retail giant had reduced the prices on many electrical goods with flat screen televisions reduced from $300 to just $160.
Reports in the local media also say a woman was taken to the hospital with a suspected broken arm after a stampede over cut-price televisions.
The Irish Times also reports on claims that a heavily pregnant woman was pushed and shoved and pensioners were knocked to the ground by frantic Christmas shoppers.
A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service confirmed paramedics were called to the Westwood Centre.
A woman was treated at the nearby Royal Victoria Hospital for an arm injury.
The report says chaotic scenes also erupted at a number of other Asda outlets across the region.
Hundreds had lined up from the early hours of Friday morning, but became irate when the limited number of discounted televisions and tablet computers sold out within minutes.
One woman at the West Belfast store told the paper: “It was just a free-for-all. It was frightening. People were getting trailed to the ground. People were arguing with people. Two of my friends were injured.”
The woman said her friend was kicked in the stomach by a man who tried to grab a TV out of her hand.
She added: “The other one, who is disabled, was actually kicked to the ground and trampled on and now has a broken arm and is waiting to hear if she is going to need surgery next week.”
Another customer told the paper that tensions at the Asda Living shop in the Citygate Shopping Centre in north Belfast almost spilled over into violence when outraged customers were told the shop had not received any of the discounted items.
He said: “People were just irate. I honestly thought it was going to be a digging match (fight).”
The Asda chain later released a statement which described the response to its first Black Friday deal as phenomenal.
A spokeswoman said: “This is the first time Black Friday has been done on this scale in stores across the UK and our customers were eager to take advantage of the great offers available to them.
“We planned for high demand and the half a million Black Friday products on offer to our customers have been selling quickly since 8am.
“Throughout the event, the safety of our customers is of vital importance and to ensure our stores can cope with the extra footfall we have full security teams in our stores and extra colleagues to help assist customers in the aisles.”
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