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Pandemic reshapes Black Friday

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Special offer: for Black Friday Andrea Fubler of Salt + Cedar is holding a gift card draw for anyone who makes a purchase in her store or online tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)
Andrea Fubler of Salt + Cedar is offering a gift card draw for Black Friday (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)
Starting early: the Covid-19 pandemic is reshaping Hamilton’s Black Friday sales (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

Hamilton retailers are switching things up this Black Friday to cope with the challenges of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Instead of arranging shopping discounts for the wee hours of the morning, many Hamilton stores are spreading out deals across a wider time frame, and offering online shopping incentives.

George Grundmuller, president and chief executive officer of the Phoenix Stores said they did not expect the Black Friday rush they’d seen in previous years.

“We have made every effort to spread Black Friday over all of November,” Mr Grundmuller said.

On November 1 the store introduced “Monday Mayhem” offering discounts on a variety of products including biscuits, cosmetics and sugar free chocolate, among other things.

“What we will not be doing is creating a rush at 3am,” Mr Grundmuller said.

Instead, the Phoenix Store will open at 7am tomorrow morning, an hour early.

He said the global health crisis had created some supply issues for them.

“Everyone at this point wants the new Xbox One X and PlayStation 5,” he said. “We have none. We are hoping to get something in December.”

He said even in the United States these gaming systems are scarce.

He thought certain large chain stores were holding them back for their own Black Friday sales.

Andrea Fubler of Salt+Cedar in the Emporium building on Front Street, said they would be doing something a little different this year.

“We will not be expecting any crowds,” Ms Fubler said. “We are being vigilant about social distancing and the safety of our customers and so spreading the cheer over a weeklong string of events is a better way to do it.”

Anyone who makes a purchase in her store or online tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday, will be automatically entered into a gift card draw.

“We are giving away 20 gift cards with a grand prize of $200,” Ms Fubler said. “Our gift cards never expire. Spend it on yourself or use it to buy a gift for someone on your list.”

On Cyber Monday, her customers will be able to ‘spin to win’ a discount on the Salt+Cedar website.

And on Tuesday Salt+Cedar will be participating in Giving Tuesday, by donating 5 per cent of sales from December 1 to 3 to the Eliza DoLittle Society, Windreach and The Family Centre.

Morgan Smith, marketing director at AF Smith, said her store will be running specials from now until November 28 on all Apple products.

“Apple has just released the new MacBook, the 2021 model,” she said. We have the sale price on those as well as the iPad 8th generation and the iPad Air 4. Those are highly anticipated products and the Apple Watch series six and the SE, as well.”

But you may have to pre-order some Apple items.

“With a lot of the Apple products, we are experiencing global delays in stock,” she said. “That is entirely due to Covid-19 and Apple keeping up with demand. If you pre-order an item not in stock with a zero dollar deposit, you can take advantage of the sale price even if it comes in after November 28.”

AF Smith will be open during its regular hours from 8.30am to 5pm during the week and 9am to 5pm on Saturday.

Ms Smith said the pandemic is changing the way people shop this year.

“We are noticing Black Friday shoppers are looking for deals much earlier and trying to get Christmas shopping done earlier because of limited travel,” she said. “They are shopping earlier and trying to get it out of the way.”

Paula Clarke, chief executive officer of Gibbons Company, said the retailer’s Black Friday deals started last week with Gibbons Prime days.

“We have been doing online specials for a whole week,” she said. “Now those deals are available in store. Our Black Friday deals are running all the way to Sunday, November 29.”

Gibbons Company will be open tonight until 10pm and will be open on Friday from 6am to 8pm.

“That way we will give people amble time and opportunity to shop,” she said. “There will be ample inventory to serve the needs of our customers. We wanted to spread the load out from a safety point of view.”

She said they had been following strict safety protocols since reopening the store after the lockdown.

Ms Clarke said there had been a few supply chain hold ups, but they had a full supply and breadth of merchandise.

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Published November 26, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated November 25, 2020 at 8:25 pm)

Pandemic reshapes Black Friday

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