SHOPS at Rochdale Exchange are gearing up for one of the busiest shopping days of the year so far – Black Friday.
Retailers are bringing in extra staff and unveiling a host of offers ready for an influx of bargain hunters, who will also be able to take advantage of free parking all day at the shopping centre, on Friday, November 27.
The discount day, renowned for massive markdowns and incredible offers, provides a huge pre-Christmas boost for stores and cafes, and Rochdale Exchange tenants are expecting an extra busy day.
Boots will be joining in with the event, and store manager Mike Webster is expecting a 30% to 40% increase in sales.
“It’s all very hush hush till the last minute,” he said: “But we will have some half price deals and some big name offers that will stand out.
“We did it last year too and it was very successful. We didn’t have anyone fighting in the aisles, which is a good thing, but we did have a lot more customers than usual and we’re expecting a 30% to 40% increase in sales again this year.”
Also bracing himself for a surge in sales is Keith Rudman, manager of Beales department store at Rochdale Exchange.
He said: “We are hoping it will be busy and from what we saw last time, it will be.
“We can’t reveal the offers we’ll have on until nearer the time but we will have some incredible discounts. We did it last year on a small scale and it was hugely successful so we’re even more involved this year.”
The majority of stores within Rochdale Exchange will be open as usual from 9am until 5.30pm, although the carpark will be open and free of charge from 7.30am until 6.30pm.
However staff at GAME are preparing for an extra-long few days, as they will be opening at midnight on Friday 27 to launch their Black Friday offers.
They will close again in the early hours and re-open for the day time shoppers from 8am until 6pm, said manager Phil Worthington: “Last year we had queues out of the door, we’re expecting it to be pretty busy. We think the footfall will be higher than last year.
“We’ve got some really good deals on through the whole weekend. The customers like it because they get some great discounts, and it’s good for boosting footfall at the shop too.”
Internet UK spending alone on Black Friday is expected to spill over the £1 billion mark, while bargain-hungry shoppers are due to descend on malls across the country.
Rochdale Exchange Centre manager Lorenzo O’Reilly said: “As a retail phenomenon Black Friday is growing in popularity with more and more brands taking part.
“There will be many incredible bargains to be had, and coming right before Christmas it’s an event that helps many families make their money go further at this time of year.
“I’d encourage customers to come along and make a day of it, rather than simply shopping on-line as they might spot an unexpected bargain.”
Jess Mayor at H Samuel in the mall added: “We did phenomenally well last year on Black Friday and it made a massive difference to our figures for that weekend.
“We’re expecting it to be just as busy and fingers crossed we’ll do just as well again.”
At DCM, store manager Paul Critchley-Green said: “It was very busy last time so we’re doing it again this year but we’re still in talks about the specifics of what discounts we’ll be offering.”
Also remaining secretive about their Black Friday deals were staff at Three who will be joining in the cut price craze for the first time this year.
Sarah Maugham said: “We didn’t do anything as a company last year so we don’t really know what to expect.
“We’re not sure what the deals are going to be yet but I think more and more people have picked up on it as an event and it’s a good opportunity to put a sale on.”
Another retailer ready for the rush is Clarks where manager Martin Adams said: “It was pretty busy last year and we have already launched our sale.
“We’re having special offers on all week building up to Friday, with something else discounted every day such as half price slippers one day and ladies’ boots another.
“Then on the Black Friday itself we’ll be offering 20 per cent off every non sale item in store so we hope it will be pretty busy.”
Shoppers making the most of the day might need refreshments and over at Greggs in the Exchange they will be able to get into the Christmas spirit as all seasonal snacks such as Rudolph biscuits, turkey rolls and festive bakes with cranberry and stuffing, are now on sale.
The car park at Rochdale Exchange will be open from 7.30am until 6.30pm and free of charge all day on Friday November 27.
Shops inside Rochdale Exchange will be open at the normal times from 9am – 5.30pm.