Friday , January 15 2021

COVID-19: a Black Friday “without madness”

The bargain hunt will have a special flavor this year, due to the pandemic.

• Read also: “Black Friday” will serve as a test

While the Retail Council of Canada is hoping for a “Crazy-Free” Black Friday in stores, about 44% of Quebecers wishing to take advantage of the discounts plan to shop in person.

Black Friday is a tradition imported from the United States that aims to offer large sales to consumers the day after Thanksgiving. For many traders, this is a period, with Cyber Monday, which almost eclipses in popularity the traditional post-Christmas sales.

This is particularly the case for the clothing retailer WLKN where sales during these important times of the year are similar. The CEO of the group, Pierre-Olivier Mercier, hopes that consumers will think about buying from businesses here.

“We must encourage Quebec companies. […] It’s extremely important, ”he says. Its brand, which has eight stores, is celebrating its ten candles this year.

Due to the constraints linked to the pandemic, the discounts for the shopping mass began several days ago at certain retailers, such as Ameublements Tanguay and Best Buy. The goal is to avoid gatherings in stores and shopping centers.

The Retail Council of Canada is hoping this marketing strategy dampens the craze for Black Friday itself. Recently, the organization published a study revealing, among other things, that 37% of Quebecers planned to take advantage of the discounts offered that day.

“We have done everything we can to reduce the craze in stores. We constantly remind our members of the importance of social distancing, ”says spokesperson Jean-François Belleau.

The delivery challenge

The Quebec Retail Council also expects a quieter day than in past years. At least, this is one of the findings that emerges after taking the pulse of retailers.

“Historically, the two weeks before Black Friday it was dead in the stores. This year the last two weeks have been very good. […] I think that part of the traffic on Black Friday has already passed in the stores, ”notes General Manager Stéphane Drouin.

The latter, however, fears significant delays in delivery services in the coming weeks.

“The delivery chain is likely to land from next week,” he warns.

For several weeks now, the government and retailers have been urging consumers to start holiday shopping earlier this year to avoid long lines.

– With the collaboration of Francis Halin

Package explosion … and accidents

Purolator plans to process 1.3 million packages today and 6.7 million during the week of Cyber Monday. At Canada Post, we have already processed nearly a million parcels this year in Quebec, compared to 655,000 last year, and the year is not even over yet.

To deliver its parcels, Canada Post hopes to hire 350 letter carriers as quickly as possible, but already thousands of deliverers are roaming our streets at full speed so that Quebecers can have their gifts under the Christmas tree.

In Quebec, over the past five years, the number of drivers and delivery people has jumped by 2%, from 33,100 in 2015 to 33,900 last year, but the work accidents of these workers have exploded by 34%, from from 1702, in 2015, to 2273 last year, according to data from the Commission for Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work (CNESST).

Excessive exertion (2,008), body reaction (1,886) and falling to the same level (1,537) are among the three most common types of accidents in this type of worker.

Discount or not?

According to professor at the Faculty of Administration at Laval University, Yan Cimon, and the Retail Council of Canada (RCC), the discounts surrounding Black Friday and Cyber Monday should be similar to those of recent years in most traders, despite the impacts of the pandemic. Moreover, for many, the sales started a few days ago.

Professor Yan Cimon also believes that there should be no major changes. He concedes, however, that some merchants who have suffered more from the pandemic, especially in the clothing sector, could be tempted to restrict their promotions.

The management of the WLKN sign notably indicated to the Newspaper concentrate its discounts on Friday and Monday and that the promotions will be “a little less important than usual”. “In all transparency, we have had a difficult year,” said CEO Pierre-Olivier Mercier.

Extension of hours

Last week, in an attempt to reduce the holiday hustle and bustle, the government announced the extension of business hours to pick up online purchases. This measure, which was a demand of the industry, begins Friday. Stores can now admit consumers to their establishments until 10 p.m. (instead of 9 p.m.) Monday to Friday and until 9 p.m. (instead of 5 p.m.) on Saturdays and Sundays. According to a study by the Quebec Retail Council published in October, 28% of Quebeckers plan to buy mainly online during the holiday season.

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