Shoppers were out in force at Warrington’s Golden Square shopping centre to pick up Black Friday bargains.
The centre opened its doors at 8am and saw a steady flow of shoppers to stores, all hoping to get discounts on a range of goods and Christmas gifts.
Officers Club manager Helen Baldwin said: “It’s gone really well, we’ve more than doubled our sales compared to last year.
“We opened at 7am but it didn’t really get busy until 9.30am, and it’s been busy ever since.
“We’ve had lots of queues at the tills, but it’s gone smoothly, and I think customers are coming away happy that they’ve got some good bargains.
“It’s also helped that it’s the last main pay day before Christmas for a lot of people so, that’s helped drive the footfall.”
Adam Ellison, manager at Game said: “It’s been very busy indeed, probably double what we’d get on an average Friday, but in line with what you’d expect for a busy shopping day in the run up to Christmas.”
Game opened from 9pm on Thursday until 2am on Friday, and then again from 8am on Friday.
Adam said: “It’s all gone pretty smoothly, there was no chaos last night and most of the customers came in before midnight.
“Today it’s been busy but fairly calm. I think people have learned from last year, they know the offers will be on all weekend.
“It’s just a great way to kick off the Christmas shopping season.”
Debbie Margrove manager at H Samuel the jeweller said: “It’s been really good, really busy. We’ve got a really good buy one get one half price deal on all items so it’s brought in a lot of customers.
“It’s been quite organised, we brought in four more extra staff so we’ve been able to cope well with the demand. The Disney collectables and Swarovski are both proving really popular.”
At the Entertainer toy store, assistant manager Laura Delves said: “There hasn’t been a big rush, but sales have been very good for us overall throughout the day.”
River Island deputy manager Julie Scrivens said: “It’s been quite steady, we were at our busiest in the morning and over lunchtime until about 2pm and then it calmed down a bit.
“It’s been much busier than a normal Friday. We started our promotion on Wednesday and so that’s spread things out a bit. There have been some long queues at the tills, but no big frenzy.”
Mandy Isherwood, manager at Route 66 menswear said: “This morning was busy, busier than last year. We’ve got a 20% off offer and that carries on until Monday so we’ll expect to be busy all weekend.”
Golden Square director Ian Cox said: “This year many our stores have spread their Black Friday sales over the week and some have made it a weekend event.
“That appears to have helped reduce the rush – it’s been a steady flow of shoppers since we opened.
“We’ve opened early and stayed open later to help shoppers find the best deals, plus we’ve offered free parking all day.”
“It’s really helped that Black Friday spending has been more spread out.
“However, we will undoubtedly see an increase in trade on last year over the period of the week. I think shoppers are taking real advantage of the longer sale period.”
Two shoppers eager to snap up a bargain or two were Melanie Stott and her fiancé, Karl Critchley of Ashton in Makerfield.
Melanie, who works in retail, says she visited Golden Square specifically to take advantage of the Black Friday deals.
She said: “We have bought a lot of perfume and after-shave as they were heavily discounted. We are also looking for Christmas presents for family members.
“I come to Golden Square a lot, it’s a cracking shopping centre and the fact today was free parking made it an even better deal.
“I love the fact there are small quirky shops alongside all the big retailers and the pub serves great food so it’s a total day out, to be honest. We have picked up some real bargains and, although it’s getting busier, it wasn’t too bad when we arrived early.
“It’s been very civilized to be honest and a great way to get all the Christmas shopping out of the way in one day.”
Whiston Hospital staff nurse Catrina Smith, of Warrington, went Black Friday bargain hunting at Golden Square with her daughter, Chloe McCutcheon, 16, and says she was after whatever bargains she could find.
She said: “I stopped off on my way to work to see what Black Friday bargains there were. I’ve bought loads of stuff to be honest. There are some superb bargains to be had.
“I’ve been looking for Christmas presents for family members in BHS, The Entertainer and Boots and I’m not finished yet! I could do with more hands to carry the bags!”
Chloe, a Priestly College student, added: “It’s the easiest way to get Christmas presents sorted out. I’m after clothes for myself.”
Lesley Peet, a teacher at Partington’s Broadoak School took advantage of the early opening times to visit Golden Square with her nine-year-old daughter, Emily before school started.
Lesley said: “I’ve come in early as I needed to get a present for my son from Game, a Playstation 4. But we are also looking at any other bargains we can find before I have to be in work and Emily in school.
“It’s been quite pleasant and not as crowded as I expected. I think people have realised you don’t need to be here too early and the bargains are there all day.”
Padgate estate agent, Helen Fagan, says she visited Golden Square and was after any bargains she could get her hands on.
She said: “I have bought tins of biscuits, Lego from The Entertainer for my son Joshua, who is eight, and hair straighteners from Boots.
“But I’m not finished yet – I need to buy quite a few presents and want to take advantage of as many Black Friday deals as I can.”
Notes to Editor
Golden Square Shopping Centre is in Warrington. The centre now has over 675,000 sq. ft. of top retail outlets including Primark, Debenhams, H&M, Next, Topshop, River Island, Beaverbrooks, Republic, Oasis, and Boots. For more information visit: www.gswarrington.com