Retail experts say boxing day sales threatened by Omicron variant

Boxing Day will fly a younger competitor this year.

Black Friday has already overtaken December 26 as a seasonal shopping day, according to business experts, but pandemic restrictions and concerns about rising COVID-19 cases could further widen sales gaps as more consumers stay home during the holidays.

The Canadian Retail Council in August. An annual holiday survey carried out in may be the biggest shopping event of the year. It is now said to overshadow Boxing Day even more when the Omicron variant was feared in early December.

Capacity constraints in at least six provinces, including Ontario and Quebec, will have minimal impact on outlets that are accustomed to adapting to the measures, said Karl Littler, a spokesman for the retail council. However, none of these thresholds have been set for Black Friday, and he and Boxing Day are associated with long queues and crowded floors, which could deter customers.

“We’ve really seen consumers be much more optimistic this year than they were last year. And they really wanted to go back to more traditional holiday traditions,” Michelle Wasylyshen, another spokeswoman for the retail council, said in a telephone interview.

“It’s all like a gutter right now.”

Anxiety about bleak global supply chains

For two days, shoppers have different goals: gifts such as clothes, toys and food are at the top of the Friday blacklist, and so-called self-purchases, especially electronics, appliances and furniture, define the day after Christmas.

However, these expensive goods remain among the hardest hit global supply chains, making them more difficult to obtain.

“It really affected the supply chain of products that arrive late, the products may not arrive at all, retailers did not know when the product will be delivered,” said Wasylyshen.

“Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday have really stolen some Boxing Day shopping.”

The drastic decline in cross-border travel over the past 21 months has diverted business to Canadian retailers and from the US, where Black Friday emerged – a trend that has already been observed.

“Perhaps there was a time 10 years ago when Canadians crossed the border, went into stores and got those goods in stores, especially when the dollar was the equivalent,” said Kate Musgrove, director of the shopping forum. telephone interview.

“It’s not so easy to cross the border now, and the dollar is definitely not equal to the US dollar,” so there were more domestic purchases at the end of November.

Bargain hunters hoped to connect to the internet

While the best deals are often found in stores – “if you really like bargain hunting”, online shopping will be a delicious alternative for those who want to surf comfortably on the couch, she added.

Philip Thampy, Best Buy Canada’s director of retail and operations for Geek Squad, said demand was strong throughout the pandemic.

Although Black Friday has grown in recent years, Boxing Day is still one of the biggest events of the year.

“Boxing Day is still a very important day and week for us,” Thampy said. “Many consumers see electronics as a way to shop for Boxing Day.

Many people get gift cards or cash for Christmas and are looking for Boxing Day sales to spend those sums, he said.

Best Buy planned to make sure there were enough stocks in advance to meet demand for Boxing Day, Thampy added.

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