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Will Swedish shoppers go nuts for Black Friday?

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Will Swedish shoppers go nuts for Black Friday?
Shoppers at the Walmart chain in the US on Black Friday. Photo: Gunnar Rathbun/Invision for Walmart/AP Images
08:15 CET+01:00
Stores are pushing to convince Swedish shoppers to embrace US sales day 'Black Friday'. But will the phenomenon catch on?

In recent years, it has become the norm to see children (or even adults) dressed as wizards, vampires or superheroes in the last week of October in Sweden as Halloween becomes bigger and bigger.

Now, shops want the rush to the stores to take advantage of Black Friday – the super sales event in the United States that marks the beginning of Christmas consumer season – to become an equally established transatlantic part of the Swedish calendar.

Traditionally the day after Thanksgiving in the US, Black Friday earned its name as the day that allowed retailers to operate at a profit (“in the black”, as opposed to “in the red”).

Such an opportunity appears to have been tempting for Swedish businesses, who have attempted to grow the tradition in just a few short years.

“We have seen that Black Friday has increased in recent years in Sweden, the traders have a tough time and want to seize every opportunity to boost sales,” Lena Larsson, chief executive of retail survey group HUI Research, told the TT newswire.

READ ALSO: What do the Swedes want for Christmas?

Swedish online music store Cdon reports that they have increased sales on Black Friday year on year since it first came to Sweden in 2013.

“In 2014 we had around 1.4 million visits to the site in those 24 hours – the highest figures we have ever had. You can clearly tell that customers have taken the day to heart,” its chief executive, Magnus Fredin, told Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

The popular day is also somewhat infamous in the US and increasingly Britain, where the frenzied consumer event usually prompts midnight stampedes by hordes of shoppers, often resulting in injuries.

But Per Kaufmann, head of German tech chain Media Markt, said that although the day is growing in popularity, Swedes still favour the more traditional sales between Christmas and New Year's Eve ('mellandagsrean'), which kicks off on Boxing Day.

“It is bigger and then you get a few people fighting for TV sets, so far more than on Black Friday. But don't forget that Black Friday is growing,” he told Svenska Dagbladet.

And ethnology professor Jonas Frykman does not believe the day will catch on in Sweden.

"No, I don't think so. Almost all holidays we celebrate revolve around children, like Christmas, Easter and Halloween. It's the children who legitimize our consumption," he told TT.

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