By Mark McKelvie
This year one of the most recognizable retailers in Canada, Sears, will be having the first ever Canadian Thanksgiving Black Friday.
The one day American-style shopping event will actually get a week-long treatment thanks to Sears.
Seven out of ten Canadians surveyed want Canadian retailers to offer sales similar to the United States’ Black Friday during Canadian Thanksgiving, according to a press release from Sears.
Capitalizing on those figures, Sears will offer sales beginning on Friday through to Oct. 17.
Janine Allen, Senior Director of Brand Media Relations and Experimental Marketing, said that Sears wondered if Canadians would have an appetite for a Black Friday at their Thanksgiving, which led to the planning of the promotion.
“Our own shoppers wanted to start seeing sales a little bit earlier in the year and we put out a poll and the responses were positive,” said Allen.
“Seven out of ten wanted a Canadian Black Friday, but they were split on whether or not it should be in October and November so we thought: ‘Why not have one in each month?'”
Sears said those surveyed were uncertain that Black Friday deals in Canada would be comparable to American Black Friday. However, Sears says it will be offering “a substantial variety of deals in stores and online at Sears.ca to celebrate”.
Anthony Casalanguida, General Manager of Yorkdale Mall, said he will need to see results to believe a Canadian Thanksgiving Black Friday could work.
“It is a novel idea in terms of looking at opportunities to increase your sales,” Casalanguida said.
“The difficulty it has in relation to how robust the sales are in the States is because Black Friday in late November is very close to the Christmas buying season that obviously creates momentum.”
However, Sears believes this new Black Friday could allow people to get a very early jump on holiday shopping.
“Our customers already participate in our Black Friday sale in November so we wanted to give them one that, in a similar style to the U.S., would accompany our own Thanksgiving Holiday,” said Doug Campbell, President and CEO, Sears Canada in a press release.
The idea of Christmas shopping in October may seem outrageous to some, though there are those who take part.
However, the question remain: Are there enough people who could get behind the Canadian Black Friday to make it work?
“We have a lot of positive feedback and there was just interest in a sale around this time of the year ” said Allen.
“In terms of Canadians buying into it as a frantic event as they do in the States, I don’t know if this year they could get that momentum,” said Casalanguida.
Casalanguida isn’t sure if the Canadian Black Friday will fly, but said that retailers here can compete with the retailers south of the border.
“As the dollar migrates closer to parity, people have a propensity to look at the border as an alternative,” Casalanguida said.