Black Friday sweeps Prince Edward Island

Doug
Doug Gallant
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Bargain hunters lineup outside the Wal-Mart in Charlottetown on Friday at 6:45 a.m. The store manager said over 300 people were lined up for the store’s opening. Guardian photo by Dianne Morrison

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.

 

Organizations: Wal-Mart, The Brick, Canadian Tire Zellers Future Shop The Source

Geographic location: United States, Prince Edward Island, Canada Charlottetown

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  • Mark Wallace
    November 27, 2011 - 22:57

    I thought PEI'ers had more sense!!! After you have seen Walmart in action for a while you realize that there were a few blowout items marked down to give the illusion of big price reductions and every other price was stiff as a board!!! The real sales start in about two weeks when the Walmart computer in Bentonville, Arkansas decides which items are selling and which ones aren't. The Bentonville computer knows what you have purchased before the sales clerk has a chance to put it in the bag! Then those items will start getting marked down. And don't look for a after Christmas sale, either. Walmart knows that nobody buys gifts on December 26 and they have their inventory trimmed down before Christmas. The kind of fantasy sales that those people are standing out in the cold for (isn't it cold on a late November Friday morning in Charlottetown?) went out when department stores started keeping inventory via computer. You don't stay in business selling items below cost and Walmart pays for the best market information it can get on what the shoppers want to buy this year. They don't make mistakes like buying too much and then selling it at a loss.

  • How it is...
    November 27, 2011 - 17:23

    SG, one of the myths around Black Friday, is that it's the point in the year when the companies sales surpass their costs (namely overhead for the year) and swap over from a negative net income (in the red) to a positive net income (in the black) for the year. Hence the saying Black Friday. Can you really be that fussy that you wont shop on "Black Friday" because of the word black? Give it a rest... I won't shop that day because it's busy as heck, but you won't because of the term they use for the day? Wow...

  • SG
    November 26, 2011 - 18:00

    Personally I don't find any Sales referred to as "Black Friday" inviting. I don't associate the Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Season or New Year with anything BLACK. I've never known Canadians to make such an association why start now? Call it a Blow Out Sale, Midnight Madness Sale, a Yellow, Orange, Red or Green Friday Sale and I might be inspired. But NEVER will I patronize a Black Friday or a Black any other kind of sale in Canada during such Holidays regardless of how Big the Savings might be. The US can do whatever they want. I'm a Canadian and I associate Black with Funerals and find Black in association with Christmas and other seasons morbid and in poor taste .

  • Shaking Heads
    November 25, 2011 - 17:45

    Reading about this kind of dedication to mass consumerism is very saddening.. Black Friday is a tool that large corperations like Wal-mart, Zellers, BestBuy etc. use to promote high-volume sales of cheap, low quality products. No wonder our local economy is going to hell.