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December 4, 2011

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Shanghai bargain hunters out in force

A SHANGHAI version of Black Friday was staged at department stores over the weekend as a prelude to the upcoming new year promotions.

Bargain hunters elbowed their way to shelves and cleared out merchandise without even looking at price tags at Printemps Department Store, which launched the first overnight new year promotion in the city at four outlets on Friday.

During a promotion running from noon Friday until 2am yesterday, special offers, including up to 70 percent discounts and a free iPad 2 for people who spent a minimum amount of money, had shoppers in a frenzy.

Although the biggest discounts ended at 2am, the store remained open until 6am.

Starting from 10am on Friday, shoppers started lining up outside Printemps Department Store on Huaihai Road. More than 500 shoppers were lined up by 11am, which eventually forced the retailer to open at 11:30am, 30 minutes before it had planned.

At another Printemps outlet, crowds toppled the metal rails and knocked over wooden benches.

"Everyone just went crazy," a woman told her friend via phone in front of the department store's outlet in Wujiaochang area, Yangpu District. The store was packed with shoppers 20 minutes after opening.

To avoid stampedes, the retailer had deployed extra guards by transferring security personnel from four other stores that did not participate in the promotion. Up to 120 guards were present inside or outside its store on Huaihai Road on Friday compared with the usual 30. A dozen policemen were also out front.

The lines at cashiers were so long that they stretched from one floor to another.

"I could not even find where the queue ended," said one man.

Some of the stores had chalked up eight-figure sales during the promotion.

The one on Huaihai road had pulled in more than 2 million yuan in the first hour after the promotion started, the retailer said.

The retailer is planning to launch a similar promotion this weekend, Shanghai Evening Post reported yesterday.

Traffic police also have to work overtime to direct traffic at the shopping sites.


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