BARGAIN hunters came flocking to Wrexham’s Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre to take advantage of the big Black Friday buying bonanza.
The discount day, renowned for massive markdowns and incredible offers, provided a huge pre-Christmas boost for the centre’s stores and cafes.
And the assistant manager at Debenham’s said it was likely the massive department store had enjoyed its busiest day since it opened back in 2008.
Retailers brought in extra staff and unveiled a host of special offers ready for the avalanche of shoppers as footfall went through the roof.
Andy Smethurst, assistant manager at Debenhams, said: “We opened an hour early at 8am and every department had offers on, ranging from 15 per cent reductions to some items on sale at half price.
“Things were busy throughout the day and womenswear and menswear were going particularly well.
“We were actually running offers from Tuesday and kept up the reductions until the following Monday, which is now known as Cyber Monday.
“We’ve yet to do the figures but the way things were going, Friday looked to have been our best trading day since when we opened in 2008.”
It wasn’t just the major stores that benefitted from the Black Friday boost, according to Lynne Valance, manager of Clarks shoe shop at Eagles Meadow.
She said: “We didn’t open any earlier on the day but we had people knocking on the door to get in at 9.30am and there was even a queue outside.
“We were offering 20 per cent off quite a few pairs of shoes and others at half price.
“Things were busy on both the women’s and men’s sides and we were up on our business for Black Friday last year.
“That means it was well worth doing and we kept the offers going until Monday.”
One of the first to benefit from a special promotion at Topman was a lady who came in to buy a jumper for her son as a Christmas present.
Manager Jess Daniels said: “We were giving customers the chance to win shopping to the value of £500 just by being selected for the big prize at random intervals during the day.
“At the signal from head office, which might have been every hour or couple of hours, I picked out a customer paying at the till as a winner.
“The lady came in to get a jumper for her son and happened to be the one paying at the right time. She got the jumper for free and was absolutely delighted.”
The run-up to Black Friday started on Wednesday for the River Island clothing store and, according to manager Jenny Hogben, things stayed busy right up until closing on Friday.
She said: “I actually love Black Friday because it’s a lot of fun and helps to get everyone excited in time for Christmas.
“We were offering up to 50 per cent off some items and that helped to draw in lots of people looking for a bargain.”
Business at another Eagles Meadow newcomer, The Entertainer toy store, also stayed brisk all day.
Manager Karen Clutton said: “We had bargain offers running throughout the week on toys of all kinds and some of the reductions we were offering were up to 70 per cent which meant stuff was flying off the shelves.”
It was a similar story at Boots where assistant manager Susan Harrington said: “Our Black Friday offers started earlier in the week and by Thursday we were doing very well with things like getting £10 worth of Advantage Card points when you spent £50.
“We also lots of offers, some of which were better than half price.
“Things continued to go well on Friday, and a particular big seller was men’s fragrances.”
Eagles Meadow centre manager Kevin Critchley was delighted with how Black Friday went.
He said: “Black Friday is an American idea that only really started in the UK in 2013 and by last year the concept had been fully accepted by retailers.
“In 2014 the Black Friday footfall at Eagles Meadow saw a 17 per cent increase on what it had been the previous year and this year we’re hopefully going to see the same sort of increase.”
He added: “This time there have been noticeably more offers available from retailers than last year.
“There’s no doubt that Black Friday offers shopper some fantastic opportunities to buy things they need and want at really competitive prices.
“We have seen lots of happy shoppers at Eagles Meadow, which means lots of happy retailers and a very happy shopping centre.”