Retailers offer big discounts for Black Friday
Retailers across Bermuda will be offering big discounts in a bid to entice customers through into their stores for the ‘Black Friday’ event tomorrow.
Leading the way is the Phoenix Stores Ltd which will be opening its doors at 5.30am and will stay open until 9pm.
The event, which usually takes place on the day after Thanksgiving holiday in the US with stores opening early and offering special deals and promotions in the build up to Christmas, was held for the first time last year and proved to be a big success with special deals on items at P-Tech attracting big queues of shoppers.
Tomorrow also heralds the first of five late night shopping extravaganzas sponsored by the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce who have teamed up with the City of Hamilton who will be turning on the Christmas lights in Hamilton for the first time in its history and lighting the Christmas tree, while Santa will also be coming to town. Most stores will be open until 9pm every Friday in the run up to Christmas and will also be open for business on Sundays.
Daisy & Mac, which took part in the inaugural event, will be offering a 40 percent discount storewide all day at its Daisy & Mac Store, while the Daisy’s Store will be doing 30 percent off for the duration.
All purchasers will be entered for a draw to win a ride with Santa while children can have their pictures taken with him and every child will receive a free toy.
Paula Clarke, the chairman of the Chamber’s retail division, said that there would be a number of events going on across town to mark the Black Friday event.
“I think that Black Friday is really new in Bermuda but hopefully it will build up some excitement and get people into Hamilton to take advantage of some great deals that will be available for that day only,” she said.
Ms Clarke, who is also the CEO of the Gibbons Company, said that her company would be holding its Charity Fridays promotion for the ninth year running where customers can donate a minimum of $5 to a different charity each week and enjoy 20 percent off all purchases in store throughout the day.
The company will also be celebrating the first anniversary of its home store with discounts of 40 to 50 percent on merchandise in the home store and 30 up to 75 percent in its main store and shoe shops.
“I think all the department stores are certainly well stocked and ready to provide good customer service and we all recognise that there are less people in Bermuda to serve and we want to make sure that when customers come into the stores they can find what they are looking for,” she said.
“Everybody is working very hard both individually and collectively to make sure that we provide a wide range and great deals, while encouraging people to shop in Bermuda.”
Within the Phoenix Stores group of companies, Brown & Company will be offering a discount of 40 percent off between 5.30am and 6.30am, 30 percent off from 6.31am to 8am and 20 percent off for the rest of the day.
The Annex Toy Store will be offering the same discounts respectively, while the Phoenix Drug Store will have a number of doorbusters such as Cuisinart and Conair products, home theatre systems, boom boxes and Panasonic displays while the rest of the items excluding drugs will be 15 percent off. Santa will also be arriving at the Annex Toy Store at 7pm on the day.
Some items including books, magazines, newspapers and prescriptions will not be discounted.
Meanwhile P-Tech will be doing a 50 percent discount on selected video games, 20 percent off picture frames, cell phone accessories and headphones and 50 percent off Powermat devices and accessories.
George Grundmuller, president and CEO of the Phoenix Stores, said that he hoped the public would come out in force to support local retailers and take advantage of the deals available.
“I think the Black Friday event is big in the US,” he said. “It hasn’t been so big in Bermuda in the past but I think if you look at the States the economy is tough and customers are looking for discounts as they are here.”
“What we want to do is to entice them to come to the stores and shop and see that the local retailers are stepping up to the plate.
“We are very excited about it and the team has worked very hard towards it and hopefully we will have a good turnout.”
Mr Grundmuller said that this was the first time the Phoenix Stores had opened so early for a shopping event and was quietly confident that it would pay dividends.
He said that retail as a whole was suffering with the 40th consecutive month of declines in retail sales by volume reported in August. The last positive month of sales volume growth was April 2008, according to the Department of Statistics’ Retail Sales Index.
“I think in general consumers are worried,” he said. “There are two main reasons behind that firstly the economy doing badly and people don’t have the income that they used to have because landlords aren’t getting the rents they used to anymore and many people don’t have a job at all.
“Added to that are the 3,000 to 4,000 people we lost and when you add to work permits that have gone that has to have an impact.”
But Mr Grundmuller said that the Phoenix Stores were trying to mitigate the impact of the recession on business by putting on special events like ‘Black Friday’ and constantly striving to improve their customer service.
Further down the street the Pro Shop will also be offering a 25 percent discount on items store-wide, excluding football jerseys and shorts and watches. The store will be open between 9am and 7pm.
CellOne, whose Church Street store opens its doors at 7am, will be offering discounts on its BlackBerry Curve, Torch and Bold phones all with two-year contract agreements.
Its ‘doorbuster’ prizes will be available to the first 20 new activations who will receive one month’s free service credited to their account, while the first 50 people entering into the Church street store will receive a CellOne gift bag and random draws will be held throughout the day for free new BlackBerry Smartphones.