Ottawa shoppers kick off hunt for Black Friday deals early

On the eve of Black Friday, many shoppers were out at Ottawa malls looking to beat the crowds, and hopefully find some deep discounts.

But as inflation continues to put pressure on people’s budgets, consumer habits are likely to change.

The main event, Black Friday, is still one day away, but Karen Bell found some deals at Tanger Outlets in Kanata too good to pass up.

“Seventy per cent off and more at Kate Spade,” Bell says. “I did manage to buy a few things; they’re for myself and for gifts for Christmas.”

Supply-chain problems have mostly passed, and stores are flush with products. While cyber-sales have ruled over the past few years, retail has returned as king.

Black Friday, the annual American event that has made its way into Canada, has become more of a month-long sale. November is the busiest shopping time for Canadians looking to prepare for the holidays.

“Retailers who offer lower prices, discounts, free shipping that really appeals to consumers. There are lots of reason to believe that they will still shop, it’s that they will be mindful of how they spend their dollar,” says Michelle Wasylyshen with the Retail Council of Canada, adding shoppers are likely to stick to the same budget in years past, about $800.

“People are worried about inflation and finances understandably, but they do still plan to celebrate the holiday season and so this year the change is they’re going to be looking for more practical, more meaningful gifts, perhaps they will decrease the number of gifts for people that they buy for.”

Sandra McMurray, senior travel consultant with Centrum Travel says she has seen a sharp increase in larger groups and families looking to travel to destinations all over the world and that Black Friday is a popular time to book.

“I’ve got people going on African safaris. I’ve got people going on river cruises for the next year and the down south stuff is selling out fast, everything flights especially,” McMurray says. “A couple booked a Trafalgar Tour for Europe next year; they got over a thousand dollars off a person. But the down south, so much stuff is selling out so there’s not a lot of huge sales just because there’s not a lot of availability but they are getting an upgrade on a room from a regular to an ocean view for instance.”

Whether it’s shopping Black Friday deals for necessities, gifts or just a little something extra, Bell says it’s simply fun to splurge.

“We’ve had a rough time so it’s a good year to treat yourself and your friends to something really nice,” Bell says. “But on Friday I’m going to stay home and check my bank account.”

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