After two years of coronavirus impact, shopping malls and retailers are pinning revenue hopes on Black Friday discounts, prolonging the sales extravaganza for the entire week.
The countdown for Black Friday sales has begun with shopkeepers preparing attractive discounts and advertising campaigns with rich gifts, extended duration of the offers and opening hours.
In comments to the Financial Mirror, George Pissis, Marketing manager of the Mall of Cyprus and Mall of Engomi, said most stores would prolong their Black Friday sales, keeping their fingers crossed of no surprises from coronavirus.
“Both consumers and retailers are excited as they have been waiting for the opportunity to see their stores welcome waves of customers after being severely hit by coronavirus restrictions,” said Pissis.
He said malls and stores would be adhering to COVID-19 measures.
“This year’s restrictions, with a limit on the number of customers that can enter a store at one time, and the Safe Pass requirement, make things a bit difficult.
“However, we have procedures in place to ensure that people can safely move around stores and the malls.
“Despite restrictions, shopkeepers are looking to make the most of the period, as Black Friday also kicks off the Holiday season.
“Many customers will also be looking to do their Christmas shopping.”
Larnaca’s newest retail jewel, the Metropolis Mall, opened in September, expects to see its share of the action, with tens of thousands of consumers flocking in to see what it has to offer.
Metropolis Mall marketing consultant Marilena Palazi told the Financial Mirror that shops at the Larnaca mall will launch a week of offers from Monday.
“We are certain that visitors will be beside themselves once they see what we have in store for them. Discounts from 20 to 70%. From shoes and clothing to electronic gadgets,” said Palazi.
She said stores have special events and games planned throughout the week, with some of them giving out gifts to people participating.
“On the Wednesday before Black Friday, the mall will be lighting its Christmas tree during a small celebration, while stores will also hold their events.”
Black Friday week is viewed as crucial for the Larnaca mall as it leads into the holiday season, with consumers looking to buy gifts for their loved ones.
Nicosia Mall General Manager George Georgiou said that outlets have stocked up, noting that shopkeepers will be running discount campaigns from 23 to 28 November.
Discounts are expected to range from 20% to 50%, said Georgiou, pointing out they have been more than satisfied with the number of customers visiting the Nicosia Mall in recent months, despite COVID restrictions.
Georgiou said: “No one should be thinking of new, stricter measures or a new lockdown.
“We have to get vaccinated and adhere to the existing measures, so the economy runs smoothly.
“We cannot afford a new lockdown that would destroy businesses and send employees home because some people refuse to be vaccinated”.
My Mall Limassol marketing consultant, Maria Antoniadou, told the media that stores would also be running a weeklong sales campaign for Black Friday.
“Some of our stores will be launching Black Week campaigns starting Monday 22 November, others will run their discount campaigns for three or four days, while all stores will open from 9 am instead of 10 am,” said Antoniadou.
She is optimistic that customers will be in the mood to shop and spend as last year My Mall Limassol was closed due to government lockdown measures.
Malls in Limassol and Paphos Kings Mall could not cater to consumers during last year’s Black Friday, as local lockdowns were imposed.
Black Friday, a tradition started in the USA which usually sees stores selling their products at very low prices, has caught on in Cyprus in recent years as more businesses look to increase pre-Christmas sales.
This year Black Friday falls on 26 November.