Wednesday 22 May, 2019

Sheraton Mall abuzz with Black Friday shoppers for gifts, needs

Gramps packing his TV in to the taxi.

Gramps packing his TV in to the taxi.

The parking lot at Sheraton Mall in Sargeants Village, Christ Church was full all day and the vehicular traffic on the outside somewhat matched the foot traffic inside.

When Loop visited around 4:30 pm today, Friday, November 23, 2018, when most people were leaving work and heading home with their pay-packs in hand or their salaries sitting pretty in their bank accounts, many were already flocking to the Mall and trying to score car spaces as soon as they became vacant in the already packed parking lot.

Black Friday sales at Sheraton Mall Barbados

On the outside, one old man swooped down upon a taxi man while his passengers were disembarking. On learning the taxi was available to take him to his Silver Hill destination, he stashed his 32" Smart TV in the back-seat and hopped in the front seat, leaving a lady on the side of the street holding bedding supplies and sporting a vexed demeanour. Unbeknownst to "gramps", she was trying to wave down the same taxi man too.

From there as Loop walked towards the front of the mall, two women passed by with a 24" flat screen TV in their possession.  

Speaking to Donnie Inniss, Retail Manager at PromoTech in the Mall while he juggled cashing out customers, he said, "It's been going pretty well so far. It's way better than last year." Asked about the hottest items flying off the shelves, he said, "the Amazon Fires and we did pretty well with TVs and printers as well." Both customers at the top of the queues ironically were buying printers. On exiting, Loop spoke to an elderly couple. The husband held the printer but the wife did the talking and she said she needed a printer and she came, the sale is not what attracted her. "I needed a printer!"

At RadioShack Sheraton, Store Manager David Holder was happy to share that they were offering up to 50 and even 60 per cent off items. "It's a real slash."

With many Barbadians comparing local sales to American sales and saying that they pale in comparison, some Bajans have conceded that this year some places on island really met the sale criteria with their discounts. One such person was a mother who works in the Mall and who took a minute's break to grab an early Christmas gift for her three-year-old son. Toting the big box with a remote-controlled ATV and rider inside, she said, "The price was like $189 and I got it for $100. I just hope he [my son] don't mash it up!"

Holder said that around the store headphones were as low as $10 from as much as $28, amongst others sale items storewide. Asked how sales compared to 2017, he said, "Just average, just about matching last year."

At Do It Best however, there was no talk of breaking even or similar 2017 numbers, Assistant Manager Top Floor Angela Thompson disclosed, "We're doing good. Sales have been wonderful so far from early in the morning." And there was hope for even higher numbers between 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm when everything went to 30 per cent off. With a smile, Thompson explained, "We did something different this year where we usually did 30 per cent off in the morning only for one hour, we're going this evening and doing a 7:00 till 9:00 30 per cent off so I'm really expecting to have some good sales later on."

In terms of the shift in their sales pitch, she said that another Manager - Adrian Small had made the suggestion for the change to "give back some more to our customers. So once he made that decision, we said okay, let's roll with it and that's what we did."

Around the store, Do It Best saw persons buying pillows, lots of cleaning equipment, "people are looking for glass, stuff that they will use to entertain probably later for Christmas and a lot of bedding, definitely a lot of bedding."

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Charmaine Ifill over at D's Mega Stars was running to and from the stockroom with boxes of shoes in-hand as customers tried to capitalise on the half-off selected items. "Basically, the sales are going well, can't complain to be honest." The store is fairly new to the Mall, just about seven months.

There were lines and lots of customers sitting and chatting with reps or walking with customer reps in tow in both Courts (Unicomer) and Massy Store as people purchased household items and tech items. Many TVs in Courts had the red SOLD sticker on them, while even young customers could be seen lugging around purchases in Massy.

A mother who watched her seven-year-old son moving around the store with their new flat screen TV told Loop, "I was in need of a TV for a while, and knowing it's Black Friday, I decided to come check out the prices, see if it was in my price range, and it was. So not passing it up. I saved $140. To me, that's a good deal." Stressng that her son was not letting her leave without a TV, she added, "He's excited. He was like, 'Mummy we need a flat screen TV. You said you were gonna get a flat screen TV?' So, if it's one thing I going home with today, it's a flat screen TV."

But over at Cave Shepherd (Sheraton) must have been the biggest hive of activity during Loop's visit. There were lines at both cashier points and people were stepping outside to the ATM to secure some cash in some instances as they tried to benefit from the 20 per cent discount storewide on local and duty-free prices. And when Cave Shepherd said storewide it was not only on selected items.

Stacey Wharton, Location Manager for the South and West coast stores of Cave Shepherd said, "Sales have been going favourably. Compared to last year, we are on par with last year." Despite these financial times, Cave Shepherd was able to not only buy-in to the Mall's Black Friday sale initiative like other tenants, but they were able to offer the storewide 20 per cent yet again.

"This is three years that we have been doing it at the Sheraton Mall location and for the past two years we have been doing the 20 per cent off, and we decided that we continue the tradition because it is what our customers have come to expect. And I find that they received it well. They expected it and they are capitalizing on it, doing some of their Christmas shopping early," explained Wharton.

Wharton said that Cave Shepherd just wanted to give back to its customers yet again especially within this economic climate. To that end, the Black Friday's discount treat was also extended for the first time to their Warrens store to truly help customers benefit.

At Jama and Me - a baby and toddler store, the rush had died down, but the reps said they were kept busy all day with people especially shopping for little girls. Forever Young saw bags and shoes moving fast and Abeds set up an entire pop-up shop on the outskirts of the Mall. From the looks of it, quite a few people got their Christmas curtains this November for once too.

Overall no one said that sales were down and one man's sentiment summed up the attitude of many shoppers, "I need this. I tried to wait till this week for de sale, and I buy it now at de discount and I feel better, but I need this so I would have ended up buying it anyway."



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