It is traditionally known as ‘Black Friday’, and this year the annual kick-off to the Christmas shopping season in the United States has taken a sombre turn.
A man working for discount retailer Wal-Mart was killed after being knocked to the ground in a stampede by frenzied bargain-hunters. He was at the entrance to the store in suburban New York just after it opened at five o’clock in the morning when shoppers surged forward.
“What happened inside was like totally, savages. I call them savages,” said one eyewitness.
“He was trying to control the crowd. No use,” another added.
Elsewhere, in California, customers ran for cover when two men in a toy store shot and killed each other.
The Friday after America’s Thanksgiving holiday is traditionally the busiest retail day of the year.
Nationwide stores opened early to offer discounts to consumers hit by a contracting economy.