While it was once the Boxing Day sales that were the most anticipated shopping day of the year, the last decade has seen a new challenger. Black Friday sales have long been a staple in the US, but the tradition of the final Friday of November price slash only made it to these shores just over 10-years ago.

Beginning in the 1960s, Black Friday can be traced back to the anarchic shopping scenes the day after the US national holiday, Thanksgiving. Since then, the annual event has become a chance for Americans to grab a great deal just before Christmas.

Internet shopping giant, Amazon, established their first Black Friday deals in 2010. However, the craze didn't fully take off in the UK until a few years later, when the big stores like Argos, Asda, John Lewis, and Tesco, started dropping their prices on the last Friday of November.

Since then, the annual sales event has become something of an established date in the UK's retail calendar. Before the online sales were fully embraced, Black Friday saw hordes of shoppers brave midnight queues just to get the hands on a bargain.

But it was in November 2014, with high-street retailers fully embracing the event and suddenly dropping their prices, that started a day of widespread shopping chaos across Britain. Like many areas, Greater Manchester saw the sales take a dark turn and police were called to a handful of supermarkets following a number of reported incidents.

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At the time, the Manchester Evening News reported how fights broke out when desperate punters stormed the supermarket chain outlets at midnight to get hold of bargains. Officers were deployed to Tesco in Irlam, Stretford, Wigan, Failsworth, Middleton, Hattersley, Burnage and Walkden over concerns for people’s safety.

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Shoppers at the time described scenes of "chaos," leaving one person saying "it was something they would never like to experience again." They claimed: "People were crowding around the palettes where the sale items were.

"It was getting more heated by the minute and the next thing, at about ten to midnight, voices got raised. The shouting went through the roof, then all hell broke loose.

Tesco in Baguley, Manchester, during Black Friday sales in 2014
Tesco in Baguley, Manchester, during Black Friday sales in 2014

"They were ripping the plastic off the palettes and people started fighting. One girl, who can't have been more than 16, picked up some advent calendars and flung them across the shop."

At the time, a GMP spokesman said: "The Tesco Extra in Stretford was closed after fights broke out between shoppers trying to get their hands on sale stock. A woman suffered minor injuries after being hit by a falling television and an ambulance was called. The store was closed at 12.36am, just over half an hour after the sales event started."

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Crowds of around 500 people gathered at Tescos in Walkden and Failsworth, prompting staff to call police to the scene. A GMP spokesman added: "Shortly after 1.05am on Friday 28th November, police were called to Tesco on Woodrow Way, Salford (Irlam). One man was arrested on suspicion of assault after his conduct in store was challenged by staff. He threatened to 'smash' a staff member's face in.

Police were called to Tesco in Stretford, 2014
Police were called to Tesco in Stretford, 2014

"At 12.40am on Thursday, officers were called to Tesco Extra on Barton Road, Middleton, following reports that around 200 people would not leave, despite being told stock had all gone. Doors had been locked but they refused to leave. No arrests were made.

"Shortly after 12.05am on Friday, police called to Tesco Extra on Stockport Road, Hattersley, following reports of fighting in store. Approximately 300 people were present in store and staff were advised to close. One man was arrested for a public order offence."

A Tesco spokesman said: "In the interest of customer safety some of our stores in Greater Manchester contacted police last night to help control crowds safely. We are extremely grateful to Greater Manchester Police for their support and the stores are now trading normally. We always take guidance from police authorities on security measures in stores and we will work closely with Greater Manchester Police to make improvements for this kind of event."

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At Tesco in Burnage, another woman shopper suffered a suspected broken wrist as she wrestled someone else for a bargain TV. The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Sir Peter Fahy, later blasted the ‘appalling’ behaviour of customers and hit out at store bosses for not having enough security to deal with the 'totally predictable' trouble.

Following the incidents, two men were convicted. One admitted using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause fear of violence and another pleaded guilty to one count of assault and one count of using threatening and abusive words or behaviour.

Following the chaos of Black Friday 2014, some retailers began to discontinue or heavily modify their promotions. Black Friday sales in the UK have changed a lot since then - with more online retailers taking part and offering deals in the days leading up to the last Friday of November.

The sales event has arguably now been fully adopted from our American cousins, with most consumers treating it like any other annual tradition.