$1.50 Thursday, November 24, 2016

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Today?s High 69

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Black Friday is just around the corner

File photograph by Akil Simmons Sign of things to come: Shoppers outside the Phoenix Stores on Reid Street in 2015 wait for the retailer to throw open its doors so they can go hunting for deals

What will tomorrow bring for island?s bargain-savvy shoppers?

Hundreds of shoppers are expected to flood into Hamilton early tomorrow morning as Black Friday gets under way in Bermuda. Retailers throughout the city will throw open their doors while it is still dark with the island?s bargain hunters and savvy shoppers seeking to make the most of the offers available. With most stores opening at 4am last year some shoppers were in place almost ten hours earlier to ensure they got the deal they wanted, and even the wind and rain failed to deter the most determined among them. Conditions are unlikely to be quite as bad this time around with Bermuda Weather Service predicting a clear night with light northwesterly winds and a low of 65 degrees. Aisa Lopez, an accountant from the Philippines, enjoyed her first Black Friday experience on Reid Street last year, telling The Royal Gazette at the time: ?It?s 40 per cent off, so I bought some boots and some nice heels,? she said, as a DJ down the road belted out reggae tunes. ?It?s been a social event, because I live with three other girls in Pembroke, so it?s been exciting for us.? If last year is anything to go by then staff at the various stores can expect to be busy from the moment they open the doors. Crowds gathered in Hamilton long before the anticipated opening times, with queues stretching along Reid Street, Queen Street, and Church Street. In the build-up to the 2015 event, Nicole Warren, general manager of Front Street?s Brown & Co, part of the Phoenix Stores, said her staff worked hard to make sure everything was ready. ?The team is working like Santa?s elves. We?re counting on it being a big day,? she said. ?It?s becoming an event, which is great, and I really think a lot of local retailers benefit from it. It creates a buzz and a reason for people to shop in Bermuda. In the end, it benefits us all.? Ms Warren said that the Black Friday boom, although American in origin, had increased in popularity in Bermuda.

?The team is working like Santa?s elves. We?re counting on it being a big day ? Nicole Warren

?It?s important that we give consumers what they?re looking for,? she said. The origins of Black Friday itself are somewhat murky, although there is little doubt that it has mostly referred to a day of the year when retail companies finally go ?into the black? (i.e. make a profit). The most commonly repeated story behind the post-Thanksgiving shopping-related Black Friday tradition links it to retailers. As the story goes, after an entire year of operating at a loss (?in the red?) stores would supposedly earn a profit (?went into the black?) on the day after Thanksgiving, because holiday shoppers blew so much money on discounted merchandise. Though it?s true that retail companies used to record losses in red and profits in black when doing their accounting, this version of Black Friday?s origin is the officially sanctioned ? but inaccurate ? story behind the tradition. The true story behind Black Friday, however, is not as sunny as retailers might have you believe. Back in the 1950s, police in the city of Philadelphia used the term to describe the chaos that ensued on the day after Thanksgiving, when hordes of suburban shoppers and tourists flooded into the city in advance of the big Army-Navy football game held on that Saturday every year. Not only would police officers not be able to take the day off, but they would have to work extra-long shifts dealing with the additional crowds and traffic. Shoplifters would also take advantage of the bedlam in stores to make off with merchandise, adding to the law enforcement headache. By 1961, ?Black Friday? had caught on in Philadelphia, to the extent that the city?s merchants and boosters tried unsuccessfully to change it to ?Big Friday? in order to remove the negative connotations. The term didn?t spread to the rest of the country until much later, however, and as recently as 1985 it wasn?t in common use nationwide. Sometime in the late 1980s, however, retailers found a way to reinvent Black Friday and turn it into something that reflected positively, rather than negatively, on them and their customers. The result was the ?red to black? concept of the holiday mentioned earlier, and the notion that the day after Thanksgiving marked the occasion when America?s stores finally turned a profit. In fact, stores traditionally see bigger sales on the Saturday before Christmas. The Black Friday story stuck and since then, the one-day sales bonanza has morphed into a four-day event, and spawned other ?retail holidays? such as Small Business Saturday/Sunday and Cyber Monday. Stores started opening earlier and earlier on that Friday, and now the most dedicated shoppers can head out right after their Thanksgiving meal.

SPECIALADVERTISING FEATURE

SEEING IS BELIVEING

Cameras, printers, laptops and more are all on special offer this Black Friday at P-Tech. With 20 per cent off Sansui televisions and 25 per cent off bluetooth sound bars you can also kit out that man cave with the latest gear.

WRAP-UP WARM

Get massive savings on men?s and women?s high-performance jackets from North Face and Patagonia at Brown & Co, plus there is 40 per cent off some household items all day, with everything from cutlery to candles on offer.

GET YOUR RIDE ON

Tear around the town with these hot wheel deals from Annex Toys where you can save hundreds on Razor scooters and dirt bikes. With up to 40 per cent off can you afford to miss this chance to get some new wheels.

GADGET GRABBING

With iPads from as little as $399 and iPhones for $699 the tech-savvy shopper could do worse than head to Reid Street first thing tomorrow morning for a look at what Bermuda?s Apple store has to offer. P-TECH ? PAGE 2 BROWN & CO ? PAGE 3 ANNEX TOYS ? PAGES 5, 8 iCLICK ? PAGE 6

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