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Shoppers hit the streets for Black Friday bargains

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Hamilton City buzzing with Black Friday shoppers taking advantage of big sales (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Shoppers and retailers did not let limitations imposed by the coronavirus pandemic to dampen their desire for a bargain on Black Friday – the traditional start of the Christmas shopping season.

Stores across Hamilton opened at 3am and offered pre-sunrise bargains for longer sales this year to ensure safe shopping – and shoppers greeted the changes with a blend of caution and enthusiasm.

Claire Doherty, 43, said she was “on a mission” at the Phoenix Centre on Reid Street to buy accessories for her niece’s baby doll.

She said: “We do what we do for the kids.

“Everything has been upside-down – let’s make sure Christmas is good for the kids and family.”

Black Friday shoppers lining up at The Phoenix Centre on Reid Street to get a leg up on Christmas shopping (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Ms Doherty added: “I just wanted to come in and limit my exposure – once I get what I need I’m out of here.”

Ms Doherty, from Pembroke, said that she took advantage of Black Friday deals every year to get a flying start to her Christmas shopping.

She admitted that the turnout for Black Friday was not as big as earlier years, but added that there were likely more people shopping online from the same stores.

Mr Doherty added: “I think this was all handled well – I was afraid that wasn’t going to happen.

“The economy needs it – even if there are reduced sales for these vendors, I think they still need the exposure and they still need that income, so I’m glad to see that it did go off.”

Shoppers cash in on Black Friday deals at Brown and Co. on Reid Street (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Stores across Hamilton enforced Government regulations and all shopper had to sanitise their hands and the number of people allowed in a store at one time was monitored.

Many retailers in Hamilton also offered online shopping incentives to customers who wanted to participate in the sales but did not want to leave their homes.

Donna Nicholson, 45, said that she scoured the electronics store P-Tech, on the corner of Reid Street and Queen Street, to find a laptop for her 10-year-old daughter.

She said that she was confident her daughter would like a new computer.

But she added it was a good bet in case schools across the island had to switch to remote learning.

Ms Nicholson said: “With schools going down and all the rest of it, you never know when you’re going to need something like this.”

She added she preferred to shop in person rather than online.

Ms Nicholson said that many people had turned to the internet for deals, which could cause a backlog at the Customs department.

She added: “Obviously there’s not that much traffic out here – I didn’t even have to queue like I thought I would.

“I’ve been here long enough to say that if you really want it just go and buy it, because in the end it could be simpler.”

Customers sanitising their hands and checking their temperatures before splurging on Black Friday deals at the electronics store P-Tech (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Shops, including The Phoenix Centre, also extended Black Friday sales until the end of the month to cut down on the risk of a last-minute rush.

Kerry Hall, the retail manager at One Communications on Church Street, said that there had been a “moderate” and “consistent flow” of customers eager to take advantage of promotions.

She admitted that there had been fewer customers this year and attributed it to people not having the money to spend, as well as a concern for safety.

But Ms Hall said that One Communications’ deals would be continued until Monday to give people plenty of time to take advantage.

She added: “I think our customer service representatives are very friendly and personable, so we’re trying to keep the environment as enjoyable and as upbeat as possible.

“I think today marks the beginning of Christmas so everybody’s looking forward to Christmas now.

“City Hall has their Christmas tree up, people are getting excited and I think there’s a really good, upbeat feel today.

“Today I think is the official day where people start looking forward to the holidays.”

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Published November 28, 2020 at 8:37 am (Updated November 28, 2020 at 8:36 am)

Shoppers hit the streets for Black Friday bargains

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