‘I’ll never do it again’: Midnight shopping spree as Primark’s 24-hour opening at Trafford Center draws customer queues

On Wednesday evening, Primark in the Trafford Center was one of 11 stores in the UK to open 24 hours a day.

And while it remained open for 24 hours, that hasn’t stopped enthusiastic bargain hunters from heading to the store to shop for the first time since the nationwide lockdown began.

Dubbed ‘Wild Wednesday,’ retailers expected many shoppers to head to Main Street as they greet customers after a month of closure.

And while many stores reported less footfall than expected, Primark saw hundreds of people descend on the Trafford Center branch in the wee hours of Thursday morning.

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Fans of the brand have reported long queues winding around the perimeter of the mall full of shoppers hoping to experience the store overnight.

Some were left out in the cold for more than an hour waiting to enter – while several complained of a disorganized queue system and understaffed checkouts, meaning shoppers had to stand in line to pay.

Laura from Manchester joined the long line shortly after midnight.

She told the MEN : “There were so many people, I got there around midnight but didn’t get in until around 1:20 am – which is understandable, I guess!

“The queues inside were crazy, there were only two people in the checkouts downstairs at one point, which didn’t really help. ”

Maria Garrido, who visited the Trafford Center from Wigan, says she was heading to the late-night shopping event to purchase new pajamas. She described the scenes as “organized chaos”.

She said: “We arrived at 10:20 pm and stood in line for over two hours to enter. It was organized chaos.

“As we were in the queue for so long, we actually found that part of the security let people from the back of the queue go up the escalator and enter through the entrance to the floor.

“It really should have been an entry and exit! We complained to the manager who was very kind about this. But inside was a mess the queue for the checkout was still an hour and a half.

Long lines of shoppers wait outside the Trafford Center to enter Primark in the wee hours of Thursday morning

“One of us immediately waited in the payment queue as soon as we entered. I went to get what I needed.

“I would never do it again but we have fun memories from last night and we even laughed for a McDonald’s on the way home at 2am! ”

Another social media user shared photos of exhausted shoppers sitting on the floor inside the store patiently waiting to pay. She said she waited almost 90 minutes before leaving – and it was at three in the morning.

While another revealed that she waited 50 minutes in the queue outside before leaving and returning home.

Ellie Birkinshaw, 24, traveled from Winton to look for Christmas presents and a treat with her boyfriend.

She said they arrived at 10:30 p.m. and the queues “started from the main entrance on the ground floor, all along Barton Square and from the back entrance, along the building to outside and around the parking lot ”.

Ellie said her boyfriend even joked about ‘getting a divorce before getting married’ after seeing the queue length and thinking about leaving, but said she stayed for ‘the experience. “.

She said: “I wanted to be able to say that I was one of the people who attended Primark’s only 24-hour opening throughout the pandemic.

“It was cold outside, but luckily it wasn’t raining! We waited about 40 minutes in the cold outside before being inside and sheltered. The queue experience was horrendous. We were in line from 10:30 p.m. to around 12:35 a.m. .

Long lines in front of the Primark at the Trafford Center in the wee hours of Thursday morning

“We would have arrived much sooner, but after standing in line about three-quarters of the way, they stopped letting people enter the ground floor entrance for about 40 minutes when they allowed to enter from the second floor.

“It was so frustrating because we had been waiting all this time and the people at the back of the line were basically having a ‘fast lane’.”

Yet despite the disappointing queue experience, Ellie said it was totally different once inside and praised the store for the way it handled late-night shopping.

She added: “The interior was so quiet, the quietest I have ever seen. We had so much freedom for shopping and we weren’t afraid to be too close to everyone, especially nowadays. It was really easy to see everything as you could tell they did their best to keep it as tidy and well stocked as possible.

“The only element that was really not well organized, where the checkouts to pay for your purchases. Out of about 20 cash registers, there were only three staff members on duty at a time. It meant you had to wait over an hour in a queue just to pay for your stuff.

“I definitely won’t do that again!” I will just wait until the next day when it will be warmer, fewer people and more staff available in the store on the checkouts! ”

Primark at Trafford Center was one of 11 stores to trade for a 24-hour period from 7 a.m. on December 2 until closing time on December 3.

The retailer has pledged to extend hours of operation to meet expected increased customer demand ahead of the holidays and to help safely reduce queues by spreading shopping hours over a longer period.

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