Shoppers queue up early for Black Friday

Promotional signs being put up as Metro geared up for the Black Friday sale at its Centrepoint store yesterday. The retailer is opening at 7.30am today, and offering discounts of up to 90 per cent. The queue outside Robinsons at The Heeren at around
The queue outside Robinsons at The Heeren at around 9.30pm last night. By close to midnight, nearly 1,000 shoppers had joined the queue for the store's annual Black Friday sale.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
Promotional signs being put up as Metro geared up for the Black Friday sale at its Centrepoint store yesterday. The retailer is opening at 7.30am today, and offering discounts of up to 90 per cent. The queue outside Robinsons at The Heeren at around
Promotional signs being put up as Metro geared up for the Black Friday sale at its Centrepoint store yesterday. The retailer is opening at 7.30am today, and offering discounts of up to 90 per cent. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Long line at Robinsons ahead of its midnight opening; other retailers also dangle discounts and rebates

Foldable chairs, stools, picnic mats and lots of electronic gadgets were some of the items the nearly 1,000 shoppers had armed themselves with as they queued up outside Robinsons at The Heeren for its annual Black Friday sale.

Mr Marcus Leong, who beat the crowd to be first in the queue yesterday, was lounging on a foldable chair, and had with him newspapers and a Samsung tablet.

The 33-year-old engineer took turns with his wife to keep their place in the queue. "My wife and I got here at around 6am, I kept her company till about 8am, then went off to work. I came back at 2pm and she went home for a while," he said.

Mr Leong and his wife, who have a 10-month-old son, placed a $200 deposit a few weeks ago to secure a mattress and bed frame that they would pay for once Robinsons opened its doors for the sale at midnight. He planned to spend around $6,000.

They were also eyeing a Dyson air purifier, pots, pans and bed-ding for their new Build-To-Order flat, which they will move into next month.

In his words, this is Mr Leong's first time "doing something crazy" for Black Friday.

"It just happened that the sale was in time for our home, so we wanted to try it out," he said.

Black Friday, an American shopping holiday that traditionally takes place on the Friday after Thanksgiving, is a golden opportunity to attract shoppers for bricks-and-mortar retailers such as Robinsons.

Black Friday, an American shopping holiday that traditionally takes place on the Friday after Thanksgiving, is a golden opportunity to attract shoppers for bricks-and-mortar retailers such as Robinsons.

Other retailers are also having their own sales. Metro is opening early at 7.30am today, offering discounts of up to 90 per cent. Courts is giving discounts of up to 23 per cent on its website and at its 14 stores from today until Monday, while Tangs will offer 12 per cent rebates.

Online retailers are also going big on Black Friday. For instance, online shopping platform Lazada is offering up to 80 per cent off on selected items. Online marketplace Qoo10 is offering coupons of up to $120 for minimum purchases of various amounts.

Robinsons started its in-store sale at midnight across all three stores, and will stay open throughout the day. Its giveaway items are the big attraction: Free iPhones and iPads will be given to shoppers who hit varying amounts of minimum spending, while stocks last.

Mrs Jo Lee, 30, second in the queue, said she was eyeing the free iPhone XR, which comes with a minimum spend of $4,800. She was planning to spend around $7,000, and estimated her savings to be at least $2,000. "My husband and I need a new bed and mattress, so we thought we might as well get the iPhone too."

Mrs Lee, who works in the finance industry, took a day's leave from work for the event.

Mr Frederick Yong, 57, a retiree, came with his extended family for the event. The six members of the Yong family were at Robinsons at around 5pm yesterday.

They estimated that they would spend around $20,000 altogether - on two new beds and mattresses, as well as cosmetics, perfumes, shoes and kitchenware. "We will pay for our mattresses first and look around after our first round of shopping."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2018, with the headline 'Shoppers queue up early for Black Friday'. Print Edition | Subscribe