Bricks and mortar shops across the Illawarra are bracing for a rush during the Black Friday Sale running over four days from today.
More than ever, this year's sale will not just be an online shopping experience.
Wollongong Central marketing manager Holly Howell said with so many shoppers concerned about shipping and delivery delays and their parcels arriving in time for Christmas, many were getting out and buying their presents early.
"It is like a safety blanket knowing you can walk into a shop, have your product in your hand and not be waiting for a delivery," she said.
Ms Howell said each year more retailers were taking part in the Black Friday Sale which was starting to rival Boxing Day. She said this weekend's sale also coincided with many new businesses opening in the centre including JD Sports, Seed, Seafolly and Billabong.
You can watch the excitement of JD Sports opening below:
"The majority of retailers are jumping on board and have some special offers on over this weekend," she said.
"It is getting bigger every year and starting earlier. Some businesses were offering sale discounts a week ago."
Ms Howell said many stores were offering up to 30 or 50 per cent off.
"For example the Cotton On Group is doing 30 per cent off storewide which is quite significant. It seems 30 per cent is the sweet spot but there are a range of discounts across the centre."
With Christmas fast approaching Ms Howell said the shopping centre was keen to provide an opportunity for locals to save money and not miss out on securing their gifts of choice this Christmas. People were clearly eager to get out and visit shops again after lockdown and were definitely shopping earlier, she said.
Wollongong Central has extended trading hours to meet the Black Friday Sale demand. It will open from 9am to 6pm today, 9am to 5pm tomorrow, 9am to 4pm on Sunday and 9am to 5.30pm on Monday.
Ms Howell is expecting the biggest crowds around lunchtime today.
"The Black Friday Sales are becoming a popular time for families to stock up on Christmas gifts and products for the festive season. It is the perfect way to grab a bargain while still engaging in the social interaction that only comes with in-store shopping."
Ms Howell said the shopping centre would continue to take extra precautions to ensure it was a safe place to shop, including additional cleaning in high traffic areas, bathrooms and frequently touched surfaces. Hand sanitiser stations have been installed in areas such as entrances, the food court and bathrooms; social distancing floor markers are in place and additional security is on hand for the safety of customers and retailers.
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