Extra buses put on to deal with Norwich’s Black Friday rush

Shoppers in Norwich city centre on Black Friday. Photo : Steve Adams

Shoppers in Norwich city centre on Black Friday. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

Bargain hunters are filling their baskets with goods to make the most of today's Black Friday deals.

Shoppers out in force in Norwich city centre on Black Friday. Photo : Steve Adams

Shoppers out in force in Norwich city centre on Black Friday. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

Despite slashed prices across the city, Black Friday appeared to get off to a slow start in Norwich, with no reported queues and a quiet St Stephens Street, Haymarket, Castle Mall and Chapelfield by 9am.

A handful of shoppers waited outside the Tesco in Blue Boar Lane, Sprowston, from about 6am, where Norfolk police had three vehicles on standby.

But Thickthorn Park and Ride was busy, with the bus operator suggesting the Harford service is used instead.

Relief buses are also running to give more seats and space for shopping.

Norwich Bus Updates Twitter account tweeted to say that certain services in the city may be delayed around supermarkets because of increased traffic.

In King's Lynn the town was busy but shoppers claimed they weren't being drawn in by the prospect of Black Friday bargains.

While one or two shops in Fakenham plugged Black Friday offers in their windows, the rain-soaked streets were empty.

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Andre Baker was offering 20pc off items in Split'z ladies fashion boutique, on Norwich Street.

'I haven't seen a single soul,' she said after her first hour passed quietly. 'Has it been a success? no, it hasn't. I'll do it today and tomorrow, but I can't see me doing it again.'

Many stores and online websites had already started their Black Friday deals yesterday.

Black Friday has become one of the biggest shopping events of the year – in the United Kingdom more than £1bn is expected to be spent online alone.

The event, which began in America and follows Thanksgiving, has seen stores across Norwich hiring more staff and preparing to open as early as 6am.

Castle Mall has extra security on hand and with Boots opening at 7am and Argos opening from 6am until 9pm, the shopping mall's car park will open at 5.30am.

Becca Elmy, marketing manager at Castle Mall, said: 'We are prepared if there is a mad rush.'

Scenes of chaos emerged at last year's event, with police being called to Asda stores across the country to calm fights over big screen TVs which sold out in minutes.

Originally championed in the UK by the supermarket chain Asda, the retailer has decided to take a step back from the event this year, instead offering deals throughout November and December.

Local retailer Lisa Angel received 7,000 online orders during 2014's Black Friday promotion.

Will Francis, the company's operations manager, said: 'When Black Friday kicked off last year we were really busy and people were out, coming into store and not just buying the deals. I think everyone should get involved.'

Hughes, on White Lion Street, held an exclusive preview event for customers last night and have taken on more staff to cope with the expected extra trade.

• In Lowestoft independent retailers Beales and Palmers are holding sales, with prices cut across a number of departments.

Were you waiting in any queues this morning? Let us know by emailing lauren.cope@archant.co.uk