MONTREAL — The Omicron variant threatens to tamp down retail sales on Boxing Day, as COVID-19 concerns rise along with case counts and pandemic restrictions.
Experts say Black Friday had already overtaken Dec. 26 as the most popular day for juicy consumer deals, but the trend now looks likely to ramp up further.
The Retail Council of Canada, whose annual holiday shopping survey in August found that Nov. 26 could be the biggest shopping event of the year, now says it will further overshadow Boxing Day after Omicron fears shot up in early December.
Retail council spokesman Karl Littler says capacity restrictions in at least six provinces including Ontario and Quebec will have a minimal impact on outlets used to adapting to the measures, but that consumer confidence may be shaken.
Customers have divergent aims on the two days, with gifts such as clothing and toys topping the list on Black Friday while so-called self-purchases — particularly of electronics — define the day after Christmas.
But those digital items also remain among the most impacted by strangled global supply chains, making them harder to get a hold of.
Best Buy Canada retail director Philip Thampy says Boxing Day remains key, and the retail council says that while the best deals are often found in-store, online purchases will offer a tasty alternative to those looking to browse from the comfort of their couch.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 24, 2021.
The Canadian Press