Black Friday sales take over Leicester Highcross

By Ollie Churm

Leicester’s Highcross was filled with shoppers this Friday, November 23, as stores took part in the annual Black Friday sales.

Black Friday originated in America and takes place on the day after Thanksgiving as a way to encourage shoppers to spend more money in the run up to Christmas by reducing prices for one day only.

In America, it is usually the busiest shopping day of the year and in recent years, the tradition has made its way across the pond to the UK, where shops and websites have lowered their prices for a 24-hour period.

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50% OFF! – A Sale at Urban Outfitters in the Highcross on Black Friday

Leicester city centre was besieged by shoppers on Friday, November 23, as hundreds of stores around Leicester took part in Black Friday.

Casey Ellis, an employee of Urban Outfitters in the Highcross, said: “It has been busier than usual. I mean, we haven’t seen the crowds that you see in America, but compared to an average Friday, we’ve had a lot more sales.

“We had some items that are being sold at 50% off, so we did expect a lot of people to be coming in and we weren’t wrong.”

Mr Ellis continued: “I think it’s a great way for not only the shop to bring in money but also for people to grab a good bargain and maybe get some discounted presents in before Christmas.”

Black Friday was given the name as it is often the day that shops “move into the black”, meaning they have enough money to cover their costs while reducing prices.

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Massive Black Friday sales – A 20% off sale on everything at H&M

Erin Howell, 20 and a student who went shopping in the Highcross during the sales said: “I think it’s really good. Some people really struggle financially at this time of year so having a day where prices are reduced on almost everything, can really help people out.”

“I went to the Highcross and made a few purchases that were in the sale and to be honest the only thing is I saw some things that I bought the other week at full price that are now on sale, so that was a bit annoying,” Miss Howell joked.

Black Friday isn’t something all shops decided to take part in however, with supermarket ASDA no longer taking part in the 24-hour event due to an incident that occurred at a store in Wembley where customers were caught wrestling over a television.

George Osborne, 21 and an aspiring bodybuilder and online training coach said: “I’m not too keen on Black Friday if I’m honest. Sure, it’s nice getting some discounted trainers or whatever, but for me and my business it’s not ideal.

“I’ve felt a bit pressured this year to reduce my prices on Black Friday. There have been tonnes of comments on my Youtube asking what deals I’ll have going on and yeah it’s nice to help people out don’t get me wrong, but I’m trying my best to start a company here, so dropping my prices, which I try my best to make reasonable year-round, isn’t great.”

How to haggle in Hong Kong

Temple Street Night market PICTURE: Toby Jeffery

By Ross Barnett

Not only did Hong Kong open my eyes to the natural beauty of the state and surrounding area, it also threw me into the world of having to haggle at Temple Street Market, Stanley Market and the Ladies’ Market in Mong Kok.

Less common in in the West, haggling is the skill of reducing the cost of souvenirs to a mutually agreed price between the buyer and the vendor. Particularly prevalent in Asian countries, what may seem like pennies in Britain, may mean the world to the family of the seller in other countries.

The ability to haggle is one of the essentials when visiting the markets of Hong Kong. A successful ‘haggle’ can turn a rubbish deal into a bargain and there’s no better feeling than halving the price of an object.

Having learnt to haggle the hard way there were several things I noticed during the trip to the market:

1. Making a mental note of the price of an item in each stall
As a stereotypical tourist, everywhere I go I collect key rings. Probably the most popular low cost souvenir, the markets in Hong Kong were filled with them, making it more difficult to remember the price at each stall. When in an unknown location it’s difficult to get your bearings and therefore impossible to remember where the best price is. Although it has to be said that, as most of the markets sell similar items, the price usually much the same.

2. Vendors are desperate to sell
I am slightly confused as to why the vendors are so desperate to sell their stock, but by walking off, or threatening to, the vendors that I dealt with often panic and knock off huge amounts of money. Of course, they will still make a profit but it is possibly the thought of losing trade to another vendor. Use this to your advantage.

3. If they accept your first offer first, you’ve been ripped off
It’s a sinking feeling when you suggest paying HK$100 for a plastic snow globe but by then it’s too late to review the price. Many people take the tactic of halving the price first initially and bargaining from there. As many vendors have caught on to this tactic, they have considered this in their original asking price for the item.

4. Local expertise
Gaining local expertise is a sure way to avoid getting ripped off. Of course, make sure this ‘insider’ is trustworthy or else this will just increase your risk of paying extortionate prices. Their knowledge will inform you of an estimated value of the item allowing you to make a calculated decision as to whether haggling with the vendor is worth it.

5. Let them make the first move
as they are desperate for a sale, if you show a slight interest in the product, it will show the vendor that you need convincing before making a purchase. They are well aware of the possibility of buying from another stall. By not showing a definite interest, you’re more likely to secure a better discount.

The street markets of Hong Kong

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By Briar Wooldridge

Hong Kong is full of hidden markets and stalls that line the streets every single day, attracting both locals and tourists alike.

Two of the most popular ones, which really come alive at night time are the Temple Street Market and the Ladies’  Market. Both are located close to one another in the Mong Kok area of Kowloon, and they are most definitely worth a visit too.

Both markets share the same style. Amid the crowded streets they leave very little space for the masses of shoppers to squeeze down a narrow walkway. Each side is lined with hand made stalls where the locals set out their items every morning like clockwork. The markets are open from 9am until gone 11 in the evening.

Temple Street Market is perfect for anyone looking for a busy atmosphere or just a good bargain. It stretches out from Man Ming Lane all the way down south to Nanking street. The Tin Hau Temple separates the two ends and is the meaning behind the market’s name. The famous arch is situated between the two halves is lined with masses of stalls selling all kinds of different goods such as clothing, gadgets and handbags. Not only this, but the market is also packed full of delicious street food stalls.

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Temple Street’s famous arch

Ladies’ Market is Hong Kong’s most popular market and is known for being among the best. It runs over a one-kilometre stretch along the Tung Choi Street. With more than 100 different stalls there is something for everyone. Similarly to Temple Street, Ladies’ Market also offers a wide variety of different items for sale.

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The narrow street at Ladies Market

Markets in Hong Kong can be easily made out to be tourist traps but this is not something that should be feared. The prices are there to be haggled, so a top tip is to always go in a half the starting price. Almost every time you will end up winning and walking away paying a fraction of the original price tag.

Not only are the markets a great tourist spot but also a chance to see how the people of Hong Kong go about their daily lives.

Braving the sales in my wheelchair

By Simon Sansome

simon-sansome-2I have to say I love Christmas, it is one of the best times of the year and my wife likes to spend spend spend, so it’s also the most expensive time of the year.

The amount of rubbish she buys is incredible, she never notices that I hide a lot of it away somewhere for the following year to give away as Christmas presents.

Last year I made the horrible mistake by going to the Boxing Day Sales. This year will be no different for you, me and the rest of the country when we get bombarded by advertising for beds for sale, sofas and get told it is the best time to buy almost everything. Now I had never been to a Boxing Day Sale before while fully mobile, let alone in a wheelchair. I had seen all the commotion on TV but thought ‘it can’t be that bad’ – oh no, it was a lot worse.

Fenwick, the department store in Leicester, had the best offer, 90 per cent off a bed. Come on, 90 per cent! Who could not resist an offer like that?

We needed a new bed for the spare room and didn’t want to spend a few thousand on a bed and so we thought ‘great, let’s get down there for the boxing day sale.’ So, after watching Mrs Brown’s Boys on Christmas Day we went to bed at a reasonable time and were out the door on Boxing Day by 5am.

Now I have to say, this is where I love my Blue Badge, parking on double yellow lines outside the High Street, great. But then it hit me, my wife didn’t want me to come shopping, she just wanted to take advantage of her disabled husband who can park outside the front doors on the biggest sale of the year. After all I’ve not had the Blue Badge that long, I’ve only been disabled for a few years and my wife is taking advantage of me.

Anyway, it is still very dark, you can just about see some daylight pipping over the top of the surrounding buildings, it is very cold, people have been sleeping out all night to get in the shop. The queue is stretching around the corner and, not being able to see the front door, we joined the back of the queue.

img_0014Then at 7am, standing outside, or in my case sitting in my wheelchair, having been dragged out of bed, cold, and ‘people’ won’t let me sit in the car with a heater as they say I would sacrifice my place in the queue – at last, as if it’s a religious event, the doors open.

The great weight of people rush into the shop and swipe the shelves with their arms, while people outside get anxious as they’re still in the queue and don’t want to miss out on the discounted perfume they will never use or just sell on eBay. But when I roll up to the entrance, Fenwick’s have not thought about disabled people at all – there’s a step to get into the shop and now I’m holding up the anxious queue.

Now people are getting really impatient, especially my wife as there are just 30 beds on offer and we need to get to the third floor, while I can’t get up the first step. So, what does she do? She leaves me and does a runner (for 90per cent off, I can’t blame her!), like Speedy Gonzales, off she goes up the stairs, climbing the stairs like a bear up a tree. But now I have people pushing past me and staff have to rush and go and get a ramp from storage, just for me to get inside the shop. There are people not looking where they’re going – falling on me – four people in less than a minute, so now I’m the safety hazard.

I finally get inside the store to where all the sales stuff is but my wheelchair can’t get around the aisles as Fenwick’s have put in extra aisles so for the next 20 minutes I’m stranded between pots and pans and the tea towel area not being able to move. I manage to get to the lift as at this point I’m thinking ‘it’s going to be quieter upstairs’, but what I have not taken into consideration is how much stuff people have bought in the sales. Each person carrying a minimum of 10 bags each, three people take up the space in the lift, which it says you can fit 16 people in, so I have to wait 10 minutes for a lift. By the time it has taken me to wait for the doors to open, get in the store, work my way through pots and pans and wait for the lift, I could have driven to Eastbourne on the south coast and be sitting in the pub on the pier having a nice pint. Instead I’m trying to get to the 3rd floor of a city centre shop on Boxing Day. I eventually get to the 3rd floor and I see my wife paying for the bed she so wanted.

When she’s paid, she comes over to me and simply says “Ok, I’m done, shall we go home?”

While I look back now and find the whole situation ridiculous and something I would never do again, there is a serious point to all this. People with disabilities have difficulty getting out and about all year round. We also have extra cost to incur to assist with our independence and the one thing most people with disabilities would benefit from would be a sale of household goods, like beds, saucepans, sofas and other items.

But given my experience at Fenwick’s, how can any person with a mobility issue have a chance of getting into the shop and grabbing a bargain? In my experience, it was simply impossible, and shops and services I believe need to take more action so that it is not just the fully abled who can take advantage of the Boxing Day Sales. On a happier note, we did get the bed, my wife managed to get the last one on sale, but there were still 30 people behind her who wanted the discounted bed – I simply wouldn’t have got to the 3rd floor in time if it had been down to me on my own in my wheelchair.

A spokesman for Fenwick said: “Unfortunately ours is one of the oldest department stores in the city, built in 1886 for Joseph Johnston.

“We do all we can to accommodate disabled customers, indeed we have regulars who drive their mobility scooters into the store every day on their way to the restaurant, as there are several entrances into the store without steps.

“We will endeavour to make sure that on Boxing Day we ensure that disabled customers are given priority through the disabled access on Bowling Green Street and Market Street, and hope that any future difficulties are kept to a minimum.”

 

Leicester’s Highcross set for Black Friday spending spree

By Luke Hawker

The biggest discounted shopping day of the year Black Friday is upon us, with shoppers set to flock to Highcross.

The annual event which falls on Friday November 25, sees the biggest retailers battle it out on the high street and slash their prices in the run up to Christmas.

Highcross shopping centre will o
nce again be the main attraction for those in Leicester seeking a bargain, with the centre extending their opening hours from 9:30 am right up until 9:00 pm for those late night spenders.

Jack Purdae, Highcross Information Advisor, said: “We have got a lot more shops that were not here last year, Highcross has improved since then so we are expecting it to be very busy.

“I think the Black Friday idea is a good one, it is good for shoppers and the shops as well, especially in the run up to Christmas.”

Black Friday is proving to be very popular with people because of the timing of the event, for many this is their last pay cheque before Christmas Day, so finding a bargain helps that stretch a little further.

Martin Scales, Store Manager at Menkind, sees this year’s event being as big or even bigger than last year, he said: “Friday is expected to be our busiest day by far but we’re spreading the offers across the whole week too.”

Last year proved to be a record breaking year, with over £2 billion spent by brits across the UK in just the one day.

This discounted spending spree is a fairly new phenomenon in the UK but appears to be getting bigger each year, with the idea originating from our cousins across the pond – the United States – who hold the event the day after Thanksgiving celebrations.

Many of the biggest outlets are getting involved in the shopping bonanza in Highcross, ranging from John Lewis, to River Island to The Perfume Shop to name but a few -there is something for everyone.

Plus if you don’t feel like scuffling with someone for the best deals, Black Friday is not just limited to the high street, you can enjoy Black Friday from your own sofa with great offers online with internet shopping set to rake in billions.

For all the latest information about Black Friday and where to get the best deals in Highcross, Leicester. Visit: www.highcrossleicester.com/blackfridayhighcross