Page last updated at 12:58 GMT, Saturday, 29 November 2008

Wal-Mart worker dies in sale rush


Shoppers on the 'mayhem' at the Wal-Mart store

A shop worker has died after being knocked to the ground by bargain-hunters who stormed into a superstore in New York's suburbs as it opened.

The 34-year-old man, along with several other workers and shoppers, was trampled in the rush at the Wal-Mart store in Valley Stream, Long Island.

US stores opened early and offered steep discounts on Friday.

The day after the Thanksgiving holiday is seen as the start of the Christmas shopping season.

It is regarded as an important test of how willing consumers are to spend.

Crowds of shoppers turned up at dawn at stores across the US to snare the best deals.

Wal-Mart, along with electronics retailer Best Buy and department stores Kohl's and Macy's, opened their doors at dawn.

Toys R Us offered up to 60% discounts from 0500 to 1000.

Several major retailers indicated that crowds were at least as large as last year's, but deep discounts are likely to hurt retailers' profit margins.

Many retailers have suffered as the US economy nosedives although value chains like Wal-Mart have fared better.

US retail sales recorded the biggest monthly decline since 1992 in October as consumers cut back on spending.

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