A Wrexham shopping centre is gearing up for its busiest day of the year so far – Black Friday.
Retailers at Eagles Meadow are set to unveil a host of offers ready for the expected avalanche of shoppers as footfall goes through the roof on Friday, November 24.
The discount day, renowned for massive markdowns and incredible offers, provides a huge pre-Christmas boost for the centre’s stores and cafes.
Debenhams will be giving an early outing over the big weekend to the 20 extra staff it has taken on for Christmas and jewellery store Mococo says it’s bracing itself for another “crazy” buying bonanza.
Black Friday is an American tradition that began in the 1930s and signals the start of the Christmas shopping season.
In recent years the phenomenon has swept across the Atlantic and is now an eagerly awaited shopping extravaganza with retailers slashing prices for a limited period.
Traditionally the best deals were to be found on electrical and high-tech gadgets but in recent years clothing and other retailers have got in on the act.
While some Eagles Meadow retailers will limit the special offers to the Friday itself, a number of others will keep the reductions coming right over the weekend and beyond.
Grabbing a slice of Black Friday action for the first time will be the Next clothing and homeware store where manager Caroline Braide said: “This will be the first time we’ve taken part as a group and everyone here is looking forward to it very much.
“We’ll have reductions up to 70 per cent in the men’s, women’s, children’s and home departments on Black Friday as well as the Saturday and Sunday.
“We’re hoping for a big success with our first venture.”
At the big Debenhams branch clothing manager Tina Harris said: “We’ll be taking part in Black Friday with a vengeance.
“There will be loads of valuable offers right across the store and to help us cope with all the extra business we expect we’ll be using the 20 or so temporary staff who will have joined us by then for Christmas. Customers can expect some really great bargains.”
Russell Hooson, manager of the Mococo jewellery store said: “We started taking part in Black Friday about four years ago and it’s gone from strength to strength.
“We find that people actually hold out for the Black Friday bargains so we’ll be having quite a few special offers from the Friday until the following Monday.
“Things get really busy over the whole weekend and we’re expecting things to just go crazy again this time.”
At River Island shoppers can expect reductions of up to 40 per cent on some stock for the entire weekend, according to manager Ian Brown.
He said: “We’ll be putting special Black Friday stickers all over our front windows and be using carrier bags we’ve designed for the occasion for people to take home their bargains.
“It’s usually a big time for us and we can do as much business on the Friday and we usually do on a busy Saturday. We also traditionally do lots of click and collect business over that weekend.”
Manager at the F.Hinds jewellers, Martin Smith, said: “We’ll be doing some special offers right over the weekend and possibly into the following Monday.
“We did well last year but we’re hoping for even better results this time.”
At Boots the price tags on some items will be “better than half price”, said assistant manager Sharon Harrington.
“Although the offers are likely to be right across the store they’re mainly going to be in electrical goods,” she added.
Also confirming they will be offering some big Black Friday savings were the mobile phone shops 3 Store and EE, The Entertainer toy store, Clarks shoes and the clothing shops H&M and Dorothy Perkins.
And it’s not just the big chains joining in the promotion, according to Andy Burson, joint owner of the independent men’s fashion store Ragazzi.
He said: “In previous years it’s been very good for us too. We’re still working out the details but we’ll be having special offers at least on the Friday and perhaps also over the weekend.
“We’re hoping for an even better response this time than last year.”
Eagles Meadow manager Kevin Critchley says Black Friday is fast becoming a British retail tradition.
He said: “It got its name as American retailers saw the day as the one when they moved into profit, or into the black, as opposed to being in the red. In America Black Friday always falls on the day after Thanksgiving Day, which is usually on the fourth Monday in November.
“Traditionally, it’s been a day when electrical items and gadgets have been heavily discounted. But now fashion stores, jewellers and other retailers have got in on the act.
“I’m delighted that so many of our retailers are pulling out all the stops to get involved. We expect to see some very busy trading throughout the event.
“And with our reduced parking charges now firmly established I expect this year’s Black Friday to be our busiest yet.”
To find out more about Eagles Meadow including opening times please visit www.eagles-meadow.co.uk