Retailers brace for Black Friday
Christmas arrives a month early tomorrow for Bermuda’s ailing retail sector.
Black Friday, that most North American of pre-holiday season come-ons, is now a fixture of Bermuda’s retail landscape.
For many retailers, it marks the start of the Christmas shopping season, a four-week period that can make or break a shop’s bottom line.
Paula Clarke, chief executive officer of Gibbons Company and former chairwoman of the retail division of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, said the store launched a website on Monday specifically geared towards Black Friday, and Cyber Monday on December 2.
Online sales are ongoing for Black Friday, and begin for the latter event on Sunday evening, she said.
Ms Clarke said: “Black Friday is an important kick-off to Christmas shopping, as is Cyber Monday. It is still a ‘marked event’ on the retail calendar. It’s where customers can really get great value for money.”
While retailers used to hold deals back until the actual day, Black Friday sales now begin much earlier, said George Grundmuller, president and chief executive officer of Phoenix Stores.
He said: “Black Friday is still a very important shopping event for Phoenix Stores, but the sales started a lot earlier this year, as early as right after Hallowe’en and so the month of November now has seen increased sales activity.”
Mr Grundmuller added: “This is not new to Bermuda, there were early sales last year but it has gotten stronger this year.
“The format has clearly changed a bit, which in my opinion is a good thing because Black Friday was all concentrated on one day. The masses came out and that made it difficult to shop because of the size of the crowds.
“Now, it is stretched out a bit more over the month of November, and that helps the customers as well as the shopkeepers.”
Among the businesses that got off to an early start were electronics retailer Sound Decision and sports shop Sports “R” Us.
The Church Street, Hamilton shops launch their Black Friday sales today at 8.30am and will stay open until 11.59pm. The sale will last “all weekend long while supplies last”, the stores say.
Deals include a 50-inch Samsung “smart TV” for $499, 20 per cent off Sonos brand audio products, and 20 to 50 per cent off shoes, sandals and football boots.
The 59 Front shop, part of AS Cooper & Sons Ltd, also offered “pre-Black Friday deals”, with sales prices in effect yesterday and today. Deals include 25 per cent off fine jewellery and watches, and 30 per cent off Portmeirion brand tableware.
Meanwhile, The Annex Toys was advertising “doorbusters” on Black Friday that were “worth the wait”, while Black Friday sales prices will be valid at Gorham’s through Saturday, the shop said.
Deals at the St John’s Road, Pembroke store include half off a Char-Broil gas grill, which is on sale for $199.88, and a 32-inch TCL Roku smart TV for $288.88.
Brown & Co, as is recent custom, got an early start with Black Friday sales offering 40 per cent off storewide — yesterday from 4.30pm until 7pm.
• Gibbons Company’s Black Friday website can be found at https://shop.gibbons.bm
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