Monday, January 25, 2021
ADVT 
National

Black Friday off to a quiet start across Canada

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 27 Nov, 2020
  • Black Friday off to a quiet start across Canada

Black Friday is off to a quiet start in Canada, with early indications from across the country pointing to a subdued in-store shopping day amid the pandemic.

Many brick-and-mortar stores seemed almost deserted compared to the usual crowds and fanfare of the one-day shopping bonanza.

Some stores had short lineups, but most remained under capacity limits throughout the morning.

Discounted big ticket items at big-box stores — often among the first products to sell out on Black Friday — were still well-stocked in many locations by mid morning.

It's a sign that staggered Black Friday promotions, which many retailers began rolling out as early as October, as well as the push to offer more sales online has helped curb in-store shopping.

Still, some consumers across the country opted to shop in brick-and-mortar stores.

In Halifax, Daniel Smith said he decided to check out the sales at a local Walmart and was surprised to find no lineup outside and very few people in the aisles.

"I can’t believe there aren't more people here, it's reassuring," he said, though he added that the retail event is usually "tame" compared to the United States.

Smith's shopping cart was filled with toys, like L.O.L. Surprise balls and a Rainbocorns slime milkshake.

"It’s a good time to get Christmas presents," he said. "There were some good deals and I’ve got a bunch of nieces and nephews to buy for."

Also in Halifax, a Best Buy worker described the day as "pretty chill," while a Canadian Tire clerk said the only item that had sold out at that location was a cat playset. She said Thursday — when the store's weeklong sales started — was busier.

By mid-morning, one of the only lineups observed in Halifax was at a Tim Hortons drive-thru, as consumers observed the city's 25 per cent retail capacity restrictions.

The slow start to Black Friday on the East Coast was mirrored across much of the country.

In Montreal, the city's popular downtown shopping district along Ste-Catherine St. and the Eaton Centre mall appear subdued.

Still, a few stores had small lineups, and customers at one shoe store said they’d waited since Thursday night to get deals on Nikes.

Meanwhile, one Toronto-area mall was no busier than a typical pre-pandemic weekend.

Only the public health protocols differentiated the scene at Mapleview Shopping Centre in Burlington, Ont., from a usual day.

Staff were stationed at each entrance to the building and at central elevators, making sure shoppers kept a safe distance.

Only a few shops — generally the ones advertising storewide promotions without the usual “up to” and “almost everything” caveats — saw customers lining up to enter.

Connie Johnson, a local resident toting a lone shopping bag from the women’s clothing store Laura, said she hit the stores early in a bid to beat crowds.

“I’m always concerned about going somewhere, with the virus, but you have to go out and do some things, and I do go to the grocery store and the drugstore, and today I figured I’d go and take a chance,” she said from behind her reusable mask.

Parts of Western Canada also saw some shoppers out and about, but fewer than in previous years.

Ten minutes before a Best Buy store in northwest Calgary was set to open, there was nobody in line.

When the store opened, about 25 customers, socially distanced, were lined up waiting to get in. A sign on the door announced a limit of 164 customers and a digital check-in where people would be texted when there was space for them to shop.

"It's a smaller crowd than I was expecting," said Dean Rawley, who was planning to use a gift card to take advantage of the Black Friday deals.

Even with a surge in COVID-19 cases and new restrictions imposed on numbers entering businesses, Rawley wasn't concerned about venturing out.

"Not particularly. I'm not too worried about it," he said. "If something happens. It happens."

In Manitoba, the province urged people to stay home and shop online, saying that provincial workers will be "out in full force on Black Friday" ensuring public health orders are adhered to.

Retail analysts say the bulk of today's purchases will probably be online.

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, said e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

He said given ongoing lockdowns and in-store capacity limits, online sales are expected to be strong today and remain heightened over the holiday shopping season.

Black Friday, which started as a post-Thanksgiving sale in the United States, has gained in popularity in Canada in recent years.

It has also become an increasingly important sales event for retailers, along with Cyber Monday, overshadowing Boxing Day.

Robin Sahota, managing director and Canadian retail lead for professional services firm Accenture, said retailers might be saving some special discounts for Cyber Monday.

“It's going to be a day where retailers look to add some sweeteners to entice consumers, particularly with the pull forward of Black Friday," he said. "I think folks will be seeking out something special on Cyber Monday.”

MORE National ARTICLES

Liberals face pressure for economic plan in update

Liberals face pressure for economic plan in update

Business and labour groups say the government must outline concrete proposals to manage COVID-19 in the short term, but also outline more long-term steps for recovery.

Liberals face pressure for economic plan in update

Minassian shows no anger, emotion, doctor says

Minassian shows no anger, emotion, doctor says

Minassian has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder.

Minassian shows no anger, emotion, doctor says

Man dies after confrontation with Vancouver police

Man dies after confrontation with Vancouver police

Officers were called and say the man was aggressive and combative when he came out of the bathroom, leading to a physical altercation.

Man dies after confrontation with Vancouver police

Help identify robbery suspect: Surrey RCMP

Help identify robbery suspect: Surrey RCMP

The suspect was described as Caucasian, in his 40’s, wearing a dark coloured helmet, white face mask, black pants, black gloves, and Nike shoes.

Help identify robbery suspect: Surrey RCMP

AOC to join NDP leader in online 'Among Us' Friday

AOC to join NDP leader in online 'Among Us' Friday

Jagmeet Singh challenged the firebrand member of Congress to a round of "Among Us," a popular online multiplayer game, and she accepted.

AOC to join NDP leader in online 'Among Us' Friday

Watchful neighbour helps foil break-in attempt

Watchful neighbour helps foil break-in attempt

On November 25, 2020, 34-year-old, Leo Hamm, and 31-year-old, Kalman Hlavacs, were charged with break and enter.

Watchful neighbour helps foil break-in attempt

PrevNext