Black Friday sales spread to Canada

Nov 20, 2012 | Biz/Tech

A Walmart Canada flyer, advertising Black Friday sales. PHOTO BY MELINDA WARREN.

By Melinda Warren and Neetu Thind

The holiday shopping season in Canada is being influenced by American counterparts as retailers schedule a number of Black Friday events to keep consumers at home, instead of heading south of the border.

Big markdowns, door-crasher events and extended shopping hours are just some of the ways Canadian companies are trying to compete with U.S. Black Friday deals.

The day signifies the time when retailers ideally turn a profit or “go into black.” It is also considered the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States.

Ken Whitehurst, executive director for the Consumers Council of Canada, told Humber News that more Canadian retailers are participating in Black Friday deals.

“There does seem to be observably more participation from Canadian retailers and certainly their participation online in having an intensified sales period. I think that’s the competitive pressures of the marketplace plus retailers who are operating on both sides of the border,” he said.

Whitehurst said the main thing for consumers to remember is to not make impulsive buys just because an item is on sale.

“I think the big thing for people is to not make hasty decisions. If you’ve already been in the marketplace looking to make a purchase and you’ve done your homework then sometimes it’s a good time to make a purchase,” he said.

In addition to Black, Americans increasingly are shopping online on the Monday after as well –known as Cyber Monday. Canadians are following this trend as well.

A poll conducted by CIBC said almost one-in-ten of the 1,000 respondents plan to make a purchase during the Black Friday to Cyber Monday period.

A poll conducted by Harris/Decima for CIBC said said 70 per cent of Canadians plan to make purchases with their debit or credit card in 2012; up from 67 per cent in 2011.

Promotions will be advertised in store windows, in flyers, on the radio and on television across the country this week with companies like PetSmart, Gap, Best Buy and Future Shop offering extended hours and sales.

“We’re actually opening all our stores for the first time ever at 8 o’clock a.m. countrywide,” online Elliott Chun, communications manager for Future Shop told Humber News in an email on Tuesday.

Chun also said some of the eastern stores will be opening at 6 a.m.

The poll also said nine per cent of Canadians plan to make purchases on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. GRAPHIC BY NEETU THIND.

Future Shop will be releasing it’s Black Friday prices on Wednesday to challenge American retailers.

Prior to 2007, Black Friday was only sought after by the most avid Canadian shoppers. That all changed when the Canadian dollar moved above parity.

Since then, Black Friday and cross-border shopping has also become more popular with the changes to government rules this past June.

Shoppers who stay overnight in the states are now allowed to bring back up to $200 compared to the $50 before the rules were changed. People who travel for two to seven days are now allowed to bring back $800, that number doubled from the previous rules.