With overstock and inflation-weary shoppers, retailers are offering bargains on Black Friday

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dated: 2022-11-25 16:37:57 .

High inflation this year has caused Canadians to count their pennies a lot more than usual, making retailers’ task of convincing them to spend this holiday season harder than ever.

Friday marks the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season as American-style Black Friday sales are now firmly entrenched in Canada as well.

Annual spending is different this year, however, as experts say that while there are more deals than usual, they come on the back of consumers who are more cost-conscious than ever.

“This really is the year of the discount,” retail consultant Bruce Winder said in an interview. “Consumers have shown that they are thrifty, they are stingy this year and they will not buy if it is not on sale.”

Lots of excess product

Excess inventory is the main reason why discounts may be higher than usual this year.

In the early days of the pandemic, retailers struggled with supply chain issues that resulted in empty shelves in many product categories. But Winder says the pendulum has now swung the other way, as many retailers are moving much more inventory than they normally would at this time of year – forcing them to discount more and earlier than usual.

“It may be out of stock, but that’s a good sign for consumers,” Winder said.

Elliot Morris, head of grocery and consumer goods at EY Canada, says retailers are caught between a rock and a hard place. “As the economy slows, there’s inventory that’s obviously building with retailers,” he said. “As we go through the rest of the holiday season and this inventory continues to be on the shelves…you will see deeper discounts.”

Retailers themselves are aware that shoppers are pickier than ever this year, which has led to some new names getting into the Black Friday game.

Melissa Austria runs the clothing store GotStyle in Toronto. This year, it plans to offer some discounts to money-saving consumers during Black Friday sales. (CBC)

Melissa Austria runs GotStyle, a unisex clothing store in Toronto. There are usually no package deals this time of year, but today her store is offering some suits and sports jackets at 50 percent off.

“We’re finding that we have to introduce things that are a little more price-conscious for the everyday casual shopper who wouldn’t normally shop here,” she said in an interview with CBC News. “The occasional customer who wouldn’t normally buy an expensive item is definitely holding back a bit.”

Michelle Wasylyshen, of the Retail Council of Canada, says she’s optimistic about the outlook for this year, but it’s clear that pricing will be the biggest consideration.

“I think everyone is worried about the economy slowing down, but it seems like consumers are still spending, they’re just spending more wisely,” she said in an interview with CBC News.

Pradheepa Simonpillai was shopping for Christmas gifts in Toronto when she spoke to CBC News. She says high inflation has made her more cost-conscious than ever. (CBC)

On the streets of Toronto, shopper Pradheepa Simonpillai says he plans to spend less than usual this holiday season, even though he has a young child to care for.

“I don’t buy anything unless it’s absolutely necessary,” she said. “I’m going to find really creative ways to not spend money this season.”

Another shopper, Amir Ali, says he plans to go shopping on Friday precisely because he thinks there will be a sale.

“You just have to make different decisions [but] I’ll still get gifts for the kids and things like that,” he said.

Annie Titheridge also plans to resist the crowds this year because she likes to touch and feel products before she buys them, which she can’t do when she buys online.

“My husband and daughter think I’m crazy if I go shopping on Black Friday,” said Titheridge, who will drive to Yorkdale Mall from King City, north of Toronto, that day. “But if the offers are good and I notice something, what can I do?”

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With overstock and inflation-weary shoppers, retailers are offering bargains on Black Friday

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Source https://canadatoday.news/ca/with-overstocking-and-inflation-weary-shoppers-retailers-are-offering-bargains-on-black-friday-162390/

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