© Guardian photo by Dianne Morrison
Bargain hunters line up outside the Walmart in Charlottetown before Black Friday sales in 2011.
You don’t have to cross the border into the United States to take advantage of Black Friday sales.
A number of Canadian retailers have now initiated Black Friday sales of their own in hopes of minimizing the flow of Canadian dollars into American pockets.
Black Friday is the single biggest retail sales day in the United States.
Millions of people push themselves away from Thanksgiving dinner and head directly to the malls, waiting outside overnight to get first crack at deep discounts on everything from home electronics and clothing to furniture.
It hasn’t reached that level of frenzy in Canada yet, at least not in P.E.I., but Canadians are getting into the spirit of the day.
Hundreds of shoppers were lined up early Friday morning at Wal-Mart in Charlottetown in hopes of picking up bargains in a number of different departments.
Leon Baker, store manager, said the store has had major sales before on the same day as the big post-Thanksgiving sales in the U.S but has never billed them as Black Friday sales.
“We decided to call it a Black Friday sale this year based on our customer research and the level of consumer awareness of the Black Friday sales in the U.S.,” Baker said.
Baker said he was pleased with the public’s response.
“We had between 300 and 500 people in the line-up before the store opened at 7 a.m. We normally don’t open until 8 o’clock.”
And unlike some of their consumer counterparts in the U.S. there was no panic, no stampede, no frenzied charge.
“We were very happy with how the customers conducted themselves,” Baker said. “They entered the store in a very orderly manner. We had other customers tell us how orderly it was.”
Baker said sales were good.
“On our website we had Black Friday sales starting at midnight with exclusive online sales items and sales were good there as well.”
Canadian Tire does not have a Black Friday sale per se but does have a major three-day sale on.
“We’ve been having this ale for years,” a store spokesman said. “We used to call it a moonlight madness sale, now we just call it a three-day sale. We’ve been doing it for years.”
A number of other retailers, Zellers, The Brick and Future Shop among them, also have large sales around American Thanksgiving but don’t call them Black Friday sales.
Several also have large sales on their websites with exclusive online items.
The Source is one of those retailers and they do call their sale a Black Friday sale.
The Brick calls their sale a VIP Sale but it too happens on Black Friday.