Inside the big socially distanced Joules sale
- Credit: Archant
The Big Joules sale is back at Trinity Park near Ipswich this weekend for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown - and here is what you can expect if you are going along.
We were told this was the first event around the country for the events team after county shows, horse events and pop-up sales were stopped in March when the nation was gripped by Covid-19.
Tickets need to be bought in advance for a designated time slot - and these cost £5 each. This is then taken off the cost of your basket at the till.
But by selling tickets the organisers can control how many shoppers are in each session.
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We were told the pop-up shop is operating at 25% of the usual capacity, with 10x10m of space for each shopper.
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In the past, the sale has been electric with people scrabbling for bargains but this was a whole different experience. It was calm, ordered and there were plenty of staff wearing PPE on hand to help you locate anything you were searching for.
The room was split into sections - men’s, women’s, boy’s and girl’s clothing, plus a smaller section for homeware. And in each of the clothing sections there was a table for each individual size. Items were laid out, and there were only a few of each design in each colour so you still needed to look through piles to find gems.
However, it was a very laid back environment and allowed you to browse rather than panic buy. In fact, we would go as far as saying it was the calmest shopping experience we have had since shops reopened.
The designated time slots meant you had just over an hour to look around and make your purchases and even for an indecisive shopper that was plenty.
How much are items?
All kid’s clothing was half price with coats costing around £35, tee-shirts around £10 and dresses around £15, while women’s wear had up to 70% off - some harbour-style dresses were as little as £10 instead of £35.
Admittedly, the end of season sales at Joules are often even better but there was a huge volume of stock whereas in store there is usually a lack of sizes.
There was a fairly even spread of items in each size, although there did seem to be more in the larger sizes than the very small sizes. Bedding and picnic hampers had 50% off.
There were a range of spring, summer, autumn and Christmas clothing from past seasons and staff had crates under each table so could look for extra sizes you may not be able to find.
Wellies were prices at £15 for kid’s styles and from £20 for adult sizes - a bargain as some retail at around £60.
Will there be another?
The Joules team have regularly hosted sales at Trinity Park, home of the Suffolk Show, for many years and organisers are hoping they will return again soon. They hope that by giving people more space to see what is on offer and the chance to browse more freely that sales won’t suffer too badly from the dramatic cut in capacity.
Leigh Gosson, Head of Shows for Joules, said: “We are operating well within the government guidelines with 10m square social distancing.
“Now the first session has drawn to a close I think everyone has seen that is a very civilised, well-run event.”
Tickets are still available for Sunday’s shopping sessions, book here