A Norfolk retailer will have to close its doors to re-stock tomorrow after the biggest sale in its 123-year history got off to a “phenomenal” start.
Thousands of bargain hunters packed into the Aldiss stores in Fakenham and Norwich as its £6 million stock clearance got underway on Friday.
Shoppers travelled from across the whole of East Anglia to make sure they didn’t miss out, with the traffic bringing Fakenham to a complete standstill. At one point there were 5,500 people inside the town’s Oxborough Lane store, with even more queueing outside waiting to go in.
Now, in an unexpected move, both stores are having to shut for just one day tomorrow to replenish the shelves.
Managing director Paul Clifford said: “Keeping enough stock on the shelves has been like trying to fill a bucket with holes in it. As fast as we’re bringing stock in, it’s flying back out. The response has been absolutely phenomenal.
“We don’t want to close, but it means we can spend all day getting as much stock back in as we can. As our (Fakenham) distribution centre is also surrounded by housing, it would be better to load lorries in the day rather than at night and disturb our neighbours.”
The sale has seen 40,000 product lines go on sale at discounts of up to 70 per cent off, included branded items.
And with just 93 days left until Christmas, many people have used the opportunity to buy their presents early.
Mr Clifford said: “We’ve had such great feedback from customers, with a lot of people using the sale to get all their Christmas shopping done.”
Aldiss is holding the sale to make room at its distribution centre in Norwich Road for essential works.
It wants to bring the centre up-to-date to keep abreast of a huge increase in Internet trade, and to carry out maintenance and structural works.
But unlike seasonal sales which usually last for a couple of months, bargain hunters haven’t got long to grab a deal as this one-off event is only expected to last for another couple of weeks.
It will end as soon as there is enough room in the distribution centre to start work, which could be as early as the beginning of October.
It is hoped the work will be completed before more autumn/winter stock arrives and its busiest time of year with Christmas.