Shoppers, retailers greet a more muted Boxing Day
Lines were shorter than usual for Thunder Bay’s Boxing Day sales this year, with some stores skipping traditional early openings.
THUNDER BAY – The usual long lines and store openings were nowhere to be seen for Boxing Day this year, although retailers say the event is still a shopping day to be reckoned with.
At Best Buy, which usually opened its doors at 6 a.m. on recent Boxing Day days to a throng of shoppers, a small crowd filed in Monday for an 8 a.m. opening.
“It works best for our community as well as our employees,” store leader Shannon Morson said of the later opening. “It just allows everyone to get a little extra sleep and come in well rested and happy.”
Despite smaller than usual crowds first thing in the morning, Morson expected a strong day of sales.
“Black Friday was a huge success – I think today will be very similar,” she said.
Deals on big-ticket items continued to draw people into the store, Morson said. When asked what items people were looking for, she didn’t hesitate.
“Definitely Playstations, TVs, Meta Quest,” she said, referring to a virtual reality headset.
At Thunder Bay’s self-described “Boxing Day headquarters,” The Power Centre, manager Dave Radford said there was no question Monday morning was quieter than an average boxing day, but said a few factors likely contributed.
“We always have a great crowd that shows up,” he said. “I noticed this morning started a little slower than normal, but I know for a fact that it will be busy all day and all week.”
With Black Friday and Boxing Week, savings are spread over a longer period around Christmas, he said, putting less emphasis on Boxing Day itself.
Items such as 85′ TVs and new dishwasher models that include a third rack were two big sellers this holiday season, Radford reported.
Jason Briggs, district sales trainer at Marnics Mobile, agreed that Boxing Day got off to a “frightful start” on Monday morning and said the recent winter storm that made a mess of local roads could be partly to blame.
“I think the weather had a big impact on shoppers,” he said, adding the rise of Black Friday also shifted more deal hunting to pre-Christmas.
At the Intercity Mall, shoppers Debbie and John were looking for bargains.
“We just thought we’d take a look and see if there was anything that stood out and said: [buy me!]'” said Debbie.
The mall was considerably less busy than usual, both agreed – something John attributed at least in part to inflation and rising costs.
“We feel sorry for the stores, but hey, there’s only so far the dollar goes,” Debbie said.
Still, there were signs that some items undoubtedly remain in demand – a new Andrea Bocelli album Debbie was looking for was sold out at the mall’s music store, she reported.
“I think a lot of times now people just buy stuff online, so you don’t really get the rush of people anymore,” said shopper Diego Villanueva.
However, he said his own early-morning in-person trip was “worth it” to get a deal on a TV at Best Buy.
He also believes that the rise of Black Friday has dampened enthusiasm for post-Christmas shopping.
“This is no longer just a one-day sale – these sales start from the beginning of December to the end of December.”
With files from Vasilios Bellos, TBT News