Yeukai Karengezeka Herald Correspondent
The “Black Friday” fever gripped hundreds of shoppers yesterday in central Harare as they sought clothing bargains at discounted prices, with more women seen shopping than men.
Big shops such as Bata, Jet Stores, Edgars, Power Sales and TV Sales & Home had a number of items that were on special with discounts ranging between 10 to 30 percent, although there were some real special offers.
Some shops opened as early as 6am.
Jet and Edgars’ Black Friday promotion is expected to end tomorrow.
Jet was the most fully packed with clients as compared to the other shops with some items going for as low as US$1.
Some of the people that spoke to The Herald said they started queuing as early as 5am.
“I got here at Jet at around 5am thinking that I would be the first client to be served only to discover that people had already started queuing,” said Ms Miriam Kaitano from Glen View 3.
“I am glad that I have been able to buy all the Christmas stuff that l wanted for my children.”
In the early hours of the day, scores of people took a break from work to come and buy though others failed because of long queues.
“I have just sneaked out at work because I wanted to buy some things, but unfortunately I have to leave before paying because I have been waiting to pay for the last three hours,” said Ms Maria Muresere.
Others had to sit down as they waited to be served as the queues were long and were moving slowly.
At Bata, they had very few shoes, just the tennis type, on special offer, disappointing some who would have wanted a choice.
At TV Sales & Home, most of their items were discounted by 10 percent.
Those with smaller shops took advantage of the promotion to buy items in bulk for resale.
Some other businesses ignored the Black Friday craze and did not offer promotional deals to encourage consumer spending, with their prices remaining the same.
Other shop operators highlighted that business was already low and hence could not afford to offer specials.
“These days business is very low and we did not want to give ourselves pressure to compete with more established shops that have international branches. For that reason, we do not celebrate Black Friday,” said a shop owner on condition of anonymity.
Black Friday has become a global shopping phenomenon where businesses offer the lowest prices for the year signalling the beginning of the festive season.
In countries like South Africa, Black Friday has ceased to be a one-day event for consumers and instead spans a week or two.
The massive retail event originated in the United States around 1940 and was created to signify and celebrate the beginning of the holiday shopping season.
It was created to fall on the day after the American federal holiday, Thanksgiving, and therefore falls on the fourth Friday of November every year.