By FRANCINE KOPUN
Special to SAF
Shopping on Black Friday is getting bigger in Canada, with 21 Cadillac Fairview malls signing up to open early on Nov 29, and retailers offering discounts to keep shoppers from spending their Christmas dollars in the US.
“I think it’s a new tradition. I think it kicks off the shopping season nicely,” said Wendy Greenwood, director of marketing, Ontario portfolio, Cadillac Fairview.
The Friday after Thanksgiving Thursday in the US has long been known as Black Friday, with retailers offering door-crasher discounts to get shoppers into stores to kick off the holiday shopping season.
Last year Canadian retailers began jumping on the Black Friday bandwagon in greater numbers and the results were positive, say retailers.
Traffic jumped 22 per cent at the nine malls that participated last year and 69 per cent of stores reported sales increases, said Greenwood.
Masonville Place in London, Ont, had a record day on Black Friday, even beating Boxing Day sales, said Greenwood.
Typically the Saturday before Christmas is the busiest day in malls, she said.
The Eaton Centre will open at 6 am. Other Cadillac Fairview malls will open at 7 am, or 8 am.
Yorkdale spokesman Anthony Casalanguida said the mall will open at 7 am, with an all-day, live, television broadcast.
“We’re expecting a lot more customers over last year,” he said, adding that some discounts will be bigger than Boxing week sales, which have traditionally been strong in Canada.
According to their own research, 94 per cent of customers plan to take advantage of Black Friday sales in Canada, compared to 37 per cent last year, said Casalanguida.
Square One in Mississauga will open at 7 am. The Scarborough Town Centre will open at 8 am.
The three malls are managed by Oxford Properties and owned by Alberta Investment Management Corp (AIMCo) and Oxford Properties Group.
Keith Pitts, blogger and author of The Canadian Cross-Border Shopping Guide, said that even with Black Friday bargains here, Canadians can save more money by buying in the US on Black Friday.
The trick, said Pitts, who has shopped Black Friday in the US, is to know what you’re going for, including the location of the store. Even if you lose out on the door-crasher items, shoppers can easily save 20-30 per cent on other items.
“It makes sense for Canadians to go to the US to shop, period,” said Pitts, who has carefully compared prices and the cost of driving to the US from the Toronto area.
If Canadian shoppers are looking for big-ticket items, like a television or major appliance, they could find deals that are 50 per cent to 60 per cent better than Canadian prices on Black Friday.
While studies generally put the retail price differential between the countries at 10 per cent to 15 per cent, he thinks it’s closer to 30 per cent and more if you plan carefully, shop sales and use coupons and loyalty rewards.
Pitts shops across the border about once every three weeks.
— Torstar News Service
By FRANCINE KOPUN