Ready for the sales: Paula Clarke, chairwoman of retail at the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, right, discusses the upcoming sales with Rochelle Smith at the Gibbons Company store. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

Ready for the sales: Paula Clarke, chairwoman of retail at the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, right, discusses the upcoming sales with Rochelle Smith at the Gibbons Company store. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23: You can almost hear a voice over a loud speaker in the City of Hamilton booming, “Ladies and Gentlemen, start your shopping!”

Regardless of whether you consider shopping a sport, the Christmas season kicks into top gear with several stores offering ‘Black Friday’ sales on November 25.

Added into the mix is this Friday is the first of five late night shopping extravaganzas sponsored by the retail division of the Chamber of Commerce.

Last year was the first time Bermuda offered a “Black Friday’ sale.

Black Friday is usually referred to the day after the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, when stores open early and offer deep discounts to lure shoppers in for the start of the Christmas rush.

Some of the best sales in the US will often see people camped out the night before — almost like a big sporting event — to be the first in line to get the great deals.

The Phoenix Group of stores could have shoppers setting their alarms early with the doors opening at 5:30am.

Participating in the sale will be Brown & Co, The Annex Toys and Phoenix Kidz*.

The company has upped the ante by saying one of its stores will have 40 per cent off its entire merchandise for one hour during the Black Friday sale.

Gorham’s is also having a Black Friday sale promising “savings more extreme than the Arctic”.

Paula Clarke, chairwoman for the retail sector for the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, said there is no consolidated effort to have a Black Friday sale by the Chamber; instead, they are focusing on the Friday night shopping.

She said: “On the Friday after Thanksgiving, is the first official late night opening for Christmas.

“We’ve joined forces with the City of Hamilton so we are having Santa coming to town. There will be Christmas tree lighting with all the Christmas lights in Hamilton being turned on — this has never happened before. 

“They have assured us everything will be lit on the 25th and all stores will be open until nine o’clock.

“Although it’s not officially called Black Friday, everybody will be open for business, fully stocked and ready to serve.

“There will be great savings in all stores.”

Ms Clarke said there is much optimism among retailers that this will be a good Christmas shopping season.

“There has been a lot of activity around Hamilton. The Gibbons Company has been very aggressive and other companies have done different activities to attract people into their stores.”

She said the Black Carpet event was a success as was the two nights of value shopping on November 3-4.

“There has been a lot of activity throughout the island and from all retailers.”

Ms Clarke said the Friday kick-off event should help get a lot of customers into Hamilton to shop at stores from Court Street to Front Street.

“We’re hoping to get people into Hamilton and shopping as opposed to staying at home and ordering online.

“We’re doing everything we can independently as well as a cohesive group to generate excitement interest in Hamilton.” 

* An early version of the e-mailer sent out by the Phoenix Group included the Phoenix Centre as part of the sale and was included in Wednesday's Bermuda Sun. A later e-mail clarified the Phoenix Centre is NOT a part of the sale.