US sales hit K-W

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Downtown Toronto resident Venna Tudor had previously ventured to New York City every November for Black Friday with friends in the hopes of catching good deals on her many purchases of shoes and designer jeans. This year, she decided against going to the states and decided to shop locally. But that wasn’t without any initial cynicism.

“I assumed that maybe the deals here in Canada wouldn’t be as great as in the states, because it’s something that is more American,” Tudor said.

“I was shocked to see that there were big changes, though.  I shopped along Bloor Street and a bunch of stores like Winners and Skirt and all of my purchases had some sort of Black Friday sale put on it. I was pleased.”

Black Friday, widely considered as the “Boxing Day Sale of America,” takes place on the Friday following American Thanksgiving on Thursday. Many notorious tales had been told about the frenetic behaviours of people shopping on this day.

“I was in New York City about three years ago and I was shopping in Target and there was a reduced price put on televisions only until the early afternoon,” Tudor recalled.

“I watched a short middle-aged woman grab hold of one of the last flat screens on sale and a much bigger and stronger man just ripped it from her hands and ran off with it. It certainly was a breath of fresh air to do the shopping here in Canada and not feel like I’m in survival mode.”

Tudor is not the only one who has noticed the changes in Black Friday sales in Canada. Rhonda Richmond, the marketing director for Conestoga Mall in Waterloo, said that the stores were participating in the shopping deals for the benefit of Canadian residents who wished to experience the benefit of the sales without making the journey to America.

“This was the first year for us to hold a Black Friday event,” Richmond said.

“We had 78 out of our 130 retailers participating.”

The traffic data for Friday and throughout the weekend will not be released until later in the week in order to compare how many people were at the mall this year versus last year. However, Richmond and local shoppers indicated that the mall was extraordinarily eventful Friday and throughout the weekend.

With the success of Black Friday and it’s sales, this has begged the question of whether or not Canadian stores will continue to take part in Black Friday sales in future years. Richmond said that for Conestoga Mall, it would be dependant on how well the actual outcome of sales had become.

“We will be circulating a survey to our retailers this week to see how they found the event in terms of traffic and sales,” Richmond stated.

“Whether or not we promote a Black Friday event next year will be based on retailer feedback this year and how many will be offering a promotion next year if there is the same level of retailer participation we will promote a Black Friday event.”

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