Early birds' long wait outside stores pays off on Black Friday

Early birds' long wait outside stores pays off on Black Friday

The Straits Times - Business·2019-11-30 05:00

Armed with a large suitcase to haul her purchases, Ms Miley Nguyen waited patiently outside Robinsons The Heeren yesterday morning.The 29-year-old Vietnamese tourist is heading back home on Monday after snapping up a few deals at the highly anticipated Black Friday sale."Everywhere I walked in Orchard Road, I saw sales banners about great deals. I want to buy cosmetics and skincare items, which are usually expensive," said the freelance artist, who was one of at least 200 people who were already in line before the Robinsons outlet opened.Ms Nguyen was in the queue at 5.40am, but some shoppers had queued overnight.The bargain hunters were equipped with sleeping bags, tables and foldable chairs to camp outside the store overnight to ensure they were at the front of the queue for the sale frenzy.As the clock struck 7am yesterday and the store's doors opened, Ms Nguyen disappeared into the surging crowd, silver suitcase in tow.A 30-year-old designer, who wanted to be known only as Ms Amanda, said she and her friends were at The Heeren outlet 24 hours before the sale began.They bought $8,000 worth of appliances and household items and redeemed an iPhone 11 Pro Max.Surrounded by big shopping bags, Ms Amanda said the sale was "worth the 24-hour wait".The department store was giving away the iPhone 11 Pro Max, which costs at least $1,799, to customers who spent a minimum of $8,000. There were limited phones available on a first-come, first-served basis.By 7.15am, just 15 minutes after the store opened, shoppers had already formed a 50m-long line to redeem the phone.Robinsons' Black Friday sale, called The Great Blackout, ran from 7am yesterday to 1am today at the department store's outlets in Jem, Raffles City and The Heeren.Other stores in Orchard Road were also busy as shoppers descended on the shopping street to cash in on deep discounts and deals. Traffic was heavy during lunch hour and there were long lines of cars at the entrance to popular malls.The Metro store in Paragon, which offered discounts of up to 90 per cent, was packed with bargain-hunting shoppers.Ms Vicky Liu, 23, a sales staff member who works at the Dyson counter at Metro Paragon, said she attended to twice as many customers yesterday, compared with other sales days. The Dyson hairstyling product she was demonstrating was going for $599, $100 off its original price.Shoppers queue to make their payment during The Great Blackout Sale at Robinsons The Heeren on Nov 29, 2019. ST PHOTO: GIN TAYFor some customers like Ms Hisaka Nishino, the Black Friday sale at Metro was an opportunity to shop for presents for family and friends.Ms Nishino, 42, who is unemployed, said: "This is my first time attending Black Friday sales in Orchard Road and I have been able to purchase a few things from Abercrombie and Fitch since I came down at 10am. The low prices and discounts are attractive, but the crowd can be intimidating."Retailers such as Sephora at Ion Orchard and Courts at The Centrepoint were expecting crowds after office hours yesterday.Some customers, like hairstylist Winnie Wong, were spotted shopping on behalf of their friends."My friend has to work today so I came to Sephora to buy products for her. She wanted some skincare products and a bottle of perfume. The items come up to about $300," said Ms Wong, 21, who estimated savings of about 20 per cent on the products she bought.Black Friday sales, an annual affair at many retailers, are said to have started in the United States but have been gaining traction in Singapore over the past five years.They are traditionally held on the Friday after Thanksgiving and are so named because stores would make enough money to keep them in the black.Major retailers in Singapore such as Robinsons, Courts, Tangs and Metro have jumped on board in recent years.


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