Sales of Halloween costumes are down sharply, and barring a surprise by the end of October, retailers are very likely to get stuck with large inventories.
Benoît Doyon, owner of the L’Imaginaire chain of stores, knows all about it. Activity is at a standstill in the satellite stores in Quebec and Trois-Rivières.
“We ordered our products from suppliers in January. The context was very different from the one we are currently experiencing. In May, I saw that it wanted to start again, but we backed down for the trouble. […] In total, this is a decrease of 90%, ”said Mr. Doyon, who is present at the Laurier Québec shopping center.
In addition, this year, merchants could not have hoped for better since Halloween falls on a Saturday night, which means increased activity in specialty stores over several days. With COVID-19, hopes of doing good business have gone up in smoke.
“We have a little over $ 600,000 in Halloween accessories and costumes in stock that we will not sell and that we will have to support until next year,” added Mr. Doyon.
The family business owns five conventional L’Imaginaire stores, and in August it rents additional premises to sell costumes.
This year, only Trois-Rivières and Quebec City hosted ephemeral stores, but in Mr. Doyon’s eyes, that’s two too many.
“I understand the Prime Minister telling people to stay home, but if you want to be sure you don’t catch the Covid, come to the mall. There is nobody. ”
Halloween sales are a big part of their annual sales. On a Thursday, three weeks before the event, there would be four employees on the floor “running” to answer customers.
Instead, the Laurier Quebec store seemed very quiet with only one employee.
“We are healthy. Everyone is in the same boat. If we just think about that, we are no longer productive and it becomes difficult for those around us. Customers will come back. You have to be there. ”
Several retailers have started selling their decorations and candy, offering discounts of up to 50%.
“This year, it’s dead more than anything else. We had not ordered a lot of decorations and we did well because we will stay with the stock we have, ”commented Jennifer Murray, clerk at the Chant-O-Fêtes Party boutique in Quebec City.
“Usually, we open another store that is dedicated to Halloween, but this year, that was not an option. Normally, it’s a very busy period. […] Not everyone’s gone to big Halloween parties this year, ”she adds.
Opinions on whether or not public authorities should cancel the party are mixed.
“In my opinion, children should not be deprived of that,” said Claire leaving the Walmart Duplessis. “Under the current circumstances, I think it’s safer to let it go,” added Anya, who still intends to indulge herself by eating candy.