The Black Friday rush

  • Black Friday shoppers line up on Reid Street (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Black Friday shoppers grab baskets as they enter the Phoenix Store as the doors opened at 4am (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Black Friday shoppers, Phoenix Stores (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Black Friday shoppers, Phoenix Stores (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Black Friday shoppers, Phoenix Stores (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Black Friday shoppers, Phoenix Stores. Pictured: Maria Almeida (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Retailers toasted another successful Black Friday yesterday.

But Bermuda’s version of the American sales bonanza, adopted by island businesses several years ago, has evolved from the original overnight free-for-all.

Reken Pearman, general manager of the People’s Pharmacy in Hamilton, said the store made an early start with Thursday sales that drew crowds the night before. She added: “We focused on the actual day for the first two years — this time we changed our focus to get a head start, with Thursday night leading into the early morning.

“Everyone was calm and held it together very well — our staff were excited to be here. For some, it was their first time so they were pumped.”

The Victoria Street shop closed its doors about 11.30pm but served customers until 2am.

Paula Clarke, head of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce’s retail division and chief executive officer at Gibbons Company, said the department store’s specials were “more spread out this year”.

She added: “It was excellent — we added new surprises. We wanted to give customers the opportunity to see what we were offering, so we gave them a sneak peak.”

Heather Cassidy, the Gibbons marketing co-ordinator, said the event was “getting thrown in at the deep end, and good fun”.

An emphasis on specials for mobile phones that typified the early days of Black Friday in 2010 and 2011 changed in favour of more traditional retailers. George Grundmuller, chief executive officer of Phoenix Stores, welcomed customers when the Reid Street business opened at 4am.

He said: “It’s good — actually [there were] more people this morning than last year.”

Mr Grundmuller added that toys, followed by health and beauty products, looked to be the big sellers this year.

The store also drafted in DJs to entertain the early morning crowds.

Mr Grundmuller said Black Friday had evolved in recent years into more of an all-week event, rather than the predawn rush that marked its advent on the island.

He added: “It’s a nice atmosphere — we’re looking at a good day.”

Toys were the top draw, according to Deanne Hart, head of marketing and communication, with customers flocking to the Annex area of the Phoenix for popular items such as build-your-own drone kits, the Baby Alive doll and the Pony cycle.

Others shoppers were out in the small hours for hardware.

Two people at the head of the queue outside P-Tech in Reid Street said they expected to save $300 on a new set of speakers.

One said: “We’re just here for the discounts. It’s worth it to come out early — these are prices you don’t get on a regular basis.”