Canadian stores experience Boxing Day barrage
Published Monday, December 26, 2011 8:57PM EST
The jingle bells have rung and Santa Claus has come to town but it seems some Canadians didn't get everything they wanted for Christmas, as evidenced by the frenzy of Boxing Day shopping anticipated across the country.
Bargain hunters were appearing at malls and shopping centres in droves on Monday to stock up on the latest and greatest deals available through the annual sale.
Stores selling big-ticket items like electronics were expected to be particularly popular, with the likes of Best Buy and Futureshop offering to strip hundreds of dollars from the price of new televisions and computers.
Clothing stores were also dressing up their deals, with some offering as much as 50 per cent off their entire store.
In Montreal, shoppers began gathering outside a downtown Futureshop as early as 1 a.m. Kevin Bergeron, 18, told reporters he planned on buying some computer games, a laptop computer or "whatever has the best deal."
Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre was inundated with holiday traffic, with cars circling the packed parking lot and traffic backed up onto the road for most of the day.
Lineups began to form inside Toronto's Scarborough Town Centre well before stores opened for business Monday morning, where EB Games, Lululemon and other stores were offering door crasher deals.
Once the mall was running at full speed, customers at H&M unloaded armfuls of shirts and sweaters, many marked down to $5, as dozens more shoppers lined up behind them.
Many bargain hunters appeared to be enjoying themselves despite the long lines and hectic atmosphere. Mike, who did not provide his last name, told CTV Toronto that he considers Boxing Day shopping a tradition.
‘It's always great on Boxing Day. It's a rush. You've got to rush through the mall, live a little and spend what little money you've got left after Christmas," Mike said while holding a newly purchased nail manicure set.
"You've got to come out for yourself, but if you forget your wife you are going to be in trouble. You've got to win those brownie points."
Derek Szeto, a spokesman for Redflagdeals.com, said Boxing Day is the premier business day for Canadian retailers, and still a much bigger deal north of the border than Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
"Boxing Day is much bigger, it is much more of a known shopping day than Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which really came from the U.S.," Szeto told CTV News Channel. "You can expect the sales are a little bit better, which is what we are seeing across the board."
With the growth of Internet shopping, many chains chose to launch online Boxing Day sales as early as Christmas Eve. But Szeto said the best deals on Monday will be available in person.
Chapters was cutting the price of some items in half and offering stripped $30 off of the price of a new Kobo Vox Colour eReader. HMV stores were selling many new movies for $10 and clothing stores such as Gap and Eddie Bauer offered between 40 and 60 per cent off the price of clothing.
The Retail Council of Canada said that retail sales were expected to increase by three per cent over last year's Boxing Day take.
Szeto adds that Boxing Day is a great opportunity to put new gift cards into use. With one in six gift cards being lost or forgotten, he said there's no better time to use them than right after receiving it.
"It is just money that is sitting there and Boxing Day shopping is the best time to get the best value for your money on your gift cards so get out there and use them," Szeto said.
With files from The Canadian Press