Port Elizabeth – THE Eastern Cape’s leading malls are bracing for the anticipated Black Friday consumer frenzy this weekend, with extended trading hours, assistance from police and traffic officials, and armies of extra staff being brought in to cope with the biggest annual one-day sales rush yet.
In Port Elizabeth, the Eastern Cape’s largest shopping centre, Baywest Mall, will boast a midnight Black Friday opening of two major national outlets: Game and Dion Wired.
Marketing manager Lindsay Steele said the midnight opening added an element of excitement to what is expected to be the mall’s biggest sales event of the year.
“Last year we had a phenomenal turnout, but shoppers were well behaved and snapped up the bargains. This year the participation of stores is even greater, and we’re expecting an even greater turnout of shoppers.
“Given that we house the largest array of stores under one roof in the province, were expecting shoppers from as far afield as Grahamstown, Port Alfred, and Knysna,” she said.
Rebosis Property Fund head of marketing, Christopher Hutchings, said Black Friday marked the kickoff to the Festive Season period and was fast becoming the event of the year for retailers.
“The Rebosis stable includes Baywest Mall, Hemingways Mall and Mdantsane City and as such the Eastern Cape represents a significant portion of our investment portfolio,” said Hutchings, adding that one of the property fund’s objectives was to be the preferred destination for Eastern Cape shoppers on Black Friday. The fund also manages BT Ngebs City.
“Our malls bring top brands to shoppers and Black Friday brings the excitement of this global event to local consumers.”
Leading the charge in East London is the city’s largest shopping centre, Hemingways Mall, with a 13-hour shopping spree kicking off at 7am and ending at 8pm.
“Last year Black Friday attracted more than 60,000 shoppers to Hemingways Mall. We are expecting even more this year,” said Hemingways Mall’s marketing manager Estee Roos. “We are hoping it will be the biggest sales day we have ever experienced.”
Originally an American retail tradition, pegged on the first Friday after the Thanksgiving holiday and offering massive pre-Christmas discounts, Black Friday has taken off around the world.
“The Black Friday concept was not very well-known when we launched it in 2015. But by last year it had grown into a massive event, attracting 20,000 more customers than the previous year,” said Roos, adding that many of the 160 Hemingways Mall stores would be participating by offering massive discounts.
“To give everyone a chance to snap up the bargains on offer, we have extended our trading hours. Furthermore, the car park will open at 6am, with the traffic department coordinating the logistics of preventing traffic congestion. It’s a huge and exciting operation,” Roos said.
She said two SAPS satellite branches would be operational during the sale, while a veritable host of staff has been brought in to ensure that cleaning standards were maintained.
At nearby Mdantsane City Shopping Centre, the countdown to Black Friday began last week. The mall’s marketing manager, Wendy Zitha, said last year’s inaugural Black Friday event had proved so popular with shoppers that trading hours had been extended this year to a 12-hour period, from 8am to 8pm.
“While Black Friday was busy last year – our inaugural year – we are expecting a huge increase in bargain hunters this year. We are ready for, and excited about, what promises to be our biggest sale ever,” said Zitha.
Zitha said each tenant would have their own specials and “gifts with purchases” promotions, with the mall offering product and voucher giveaways.
Further afield, at Mthatha’s biggest shopping centre, BT Ngebs City, excitement is also mounting ahead of the annual sale, when more than 40,000 shoppers are expected to flood through the doors between 8am and 8pm.
“Bargain hunters can expect discounts of between 40 and 60 percent, which is a massive incentive on its own,” general manager Lolo Sabisa said, adding that customers could also stand to win a further R20,000 in an SMS competition.
With Black Friday marking one month until Christmas Eve, Sabisa said a live band singing Christmas carols, and photos with Santa, would add to the festive atmosphere.
Source: Eastern Cape – MyPR.
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