Kelowna retailers report strong Black Friday sales as cash-strapped shoppers look for bargains

Strong Black Friday in retail

Only time will tell if this holiday shopping season will see a slump in sales, but if Black Friday is any indication, people still want to put plenty of gifts under the tree.

“Obviously with the economy, everyone is looking for a really good deal,” notes Andre’s Electronic Experts owner Andre Blanleil. He says sales were up slightly Thursday through Sunday compared to last year.

Orchard Park Shopping Centre says traffic was up over 2022. It was bustling on the weekend as Santa made his grand entrance on Friday.

“As we’re all aware, this year has been financially challenging for most people living in Canada, so it was wonderful to see the shopping centre busy with holiday shoppers taking advantage of the great Black Friday deals. Our retailers were happy to see big crowds kicking off their holiday shopping,” said Orchard Park management.

Blanleil isn’t sure if people are eager to shop earlier, rather than later because of limited budgets.

“We’ll see how Boxing Week goes because Boxing Week has always been the secondary big time that people are looking for good buys. But I think, definitely, people are looking for good deals.”

“I think it’s a combination, though. They’re holding off. For example, we were fairly slow the first kind of week-and-a-half of the month, or two weeks of the month. People are kind of waiting up and then coming and buying in a one week window. Definitely it makes for a busy week,” he adds.

He says post-pandemic supply chain issues are a thing of the past in the electronics industry. Suppliers now have plenty of inventory they want to get off their hands.

“In our business it’s deflation not inflation. So, you’re probably getting a much better price on whether it’s a TV or appliance, or whatever you’re buying this year than say in the last two or three years. Because suppliers all have lots of inventory coming in and they continually want to move it. So, they’re continually offering us very aggressive pricing to make sure it does sell through the whole year.”

The 6th annual Retail Council of Canada/Leger Holiday Shopping Survey found that Canadians predict they will spent an average of $898 this year, compared to $782 in 2022. However, due to economic concerns including rising inflation, 88% of those polled are turning to proactive shopping tactics, including hunting for sales, preparing in advance and adhering to a precise budget. They also plan to prioritize sales/promotions, free shipping and in-store exclusives.

The survey also found that 40% of Canadians intended to shop on Black Friday, up from 28% last year.

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