Canadian Black Friday just as great as U.S.

The biggest day of the year for retailers is just a week away.

Black Friday sales will soon take over malls and stores all across Canada and the United States.

The shopping phenomenon was originally just a tradition in the U.S., as Black Friday is always the day after their Thanksgiving.  However, Canadians have been able to get similar deals without crossing the border for the past five years now.

Since five years ago, when the Canadian dollar was on par with the American dollar, Canadian retailers have begun to offer cheaper Black Friday sales to keep Canadians shopping at their stores, said Andrew Sharpe, a retail marketing strategist.

In the beginning, Canadian Black Friday sales were nothing compared to the American sales, but they are now trying to live up to the same standards.

“When Black Friday first came to Canada, it was a sale in name only with deals not comparable to the United States. After that our merchants felt the pressure to step up the discounts,” Sharpe said.

Karrie Consitt, a frequent across the border shopper, said she is staying in Canada to do her shopping this Black Friday for the first time in ten years.

“The way the dollar is right now it is not really worth the drive anymore,” she said.

Consitt is also impressed with how Canadian retailers have stepped up their game to compete with the U.S. deals.

“They have just as good of sales as the States do now, and to be able to support your own economy is not a bad thing either,” she said.

Shop The Neighbourhood is another way Canadians can support their economy this year. The initiative, created by Yellow Pages, promotes shopping at locally owned stores instead of the brand-name department stores.

Shopping local is a great way to give back to the community, both culturally and economically, said Maddison McKitrick, program and events coordinator from Shop The Neighbourhood.

“We feel Shop The Neighbourhood is a great initiative to be a part of because it creates a real sense of community by shining the spotlight on small businesses locally across Canada,” she said.

The initiative hopes to raise awareness of how large-scale retailers, both online and across the border,  move business away from the small local stores and impact the health of local neighbourhoods and communities.

“When shopping this holiday season, people should remember that shopping local will help their community in the long run,” McKitrick said.

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