Canada: Vancouver stores look to cash in on Black Friday


Vancouver retail stores are hopeful that the low Canadian dollar will help bring this shopping day hype north.

Ally Day, marketing manager for McAuthorGlen Designer Outlet Mall, said Black Friday shopping has really taken off outside the United States in the last few years.


It’s no longer exclusive to the U.S.,” Day said. “In fact, McArthurGlen’s portfolio, which extends across Europe, now celebrates Black Friday in Europe.

“It really has become a global retail holiday phenomenon, and it’s clear to see the demand from Canadian shoppers for a similar shopping experience.”

McAuthurGlen Vancouver is trying to make Black Friday a staple in Vancouver retail and capitalize on the new global trend by requiring affiliated brands and businesses to participate in the event.

Day said brands in the outlet center are required to have significant Black Friday offerings. Some retailers will be offering holiday sales and others will provide special “door crasher” items only available to early birds and first-comers to the shopping event.

According to Statistics Canada, the types of stores generally associated with Black Friday promotions experienced higher sales in November last year. Revenue was up 2.2% for clothing and accessories stores and 2.1% for electronic retail stores.

British Columbia saw revenue increase in 2016 by 1.8% month to month compared with national growth of 1.7%. The province had the fourth largest revenue growth in the country behind New Brunswick, Manitoba and Ontario.

Black Friday became a cross-border shopping event that Canadians wanted to take advantage of  because Canada didn’t have the same outlet and retail presence that the United States had, Day said.

“From our experience, people are staying home now because they now have a true outlet opportunity that they haven’t had in the past,” Day said. “Previously they’ve had to go cross-border shopping.”

Day says that business owners should create Black Friday offerings that are unique to both the holiday as well as the individual business. An exclusive market offering and effective messaging is the best way to get Canadians to your store on Black Friday.

Darren Dahl, professor of marketing for the Sauder School of business, is less optimistic about the chances for Canadian businesses to attract American consumers on Black Friday.

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“The tradition of Black Friday is very retail-centric in the U.S., so Canadian retailers would be competing with some pretty aggressive competition.,” Dahl said. “The sales and the push by retailers in the U.S. is significant and extreme because it’s the biggest retail shopping day of the year in the U.S. So they’re not eager to let a competitor into the space.

“That being said, the Canadian dollar is making retail attractive for American tourists and visitors.”

Another difficulty that Canadian businesses face when attracting American consumers on Black Friday is that the retail event falls on Thanksgiving weekend in the U.S. Dahl says that Thanksgiving is arguably the most popular American holiday of the year, and it’s unlikely Americans would come to Canada simply to shop for deals that could also be found in the U.S.

Both Day and Dahl suggested using the American holiday as a way to attract Americans to Canada on Black Friday as both shoppers and tourists. Canadian businesses should attract Americans from cross-border communities by encouraging them to take advantage of a low dollar and celebrate their thanksgiving weekend in Canada, including Black Friday.

Canadian businesses planning to participate in Black Friday will not only have to attract Americans north but they’ll have to prevent their fellow Canadians from going south, by land or online. According to a UPS report, 45% of Canadians intended to take part in American deals; this is up from only 29% last year.

“A good question would be, how many Canadians consumers are going down to the U.S, to buy on Black Friday,” said Day. “I would guess probably more Canadians are heading south than Americans heading north.”

Source: Business Vancouver 


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