Even though their sales have stalled this year, retailers feel they have risen to Premier François Legault’s challenge by avoiding the disastrous Mad Friday crowds.
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“For the government, it was a big test on Good Friday. I think we passed the test,” Jean-François Belleau, Director of Government Relations at the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) – Quebec, said late Friday.
Industry leaders feared that Quebec City would tighten control measures in retail businesses if Good Friday got out of hand with monster crowds in the midst of a pandemic.
But Belleau says that while it may have been difficult on Friday to maintain the distance in some areas, shopping went well across the province.
“If you look at the numbers compared to last year, the ridership rates are definitely lower. Sales are not the same, but it’s a good deal,” he analyzed.
For the CEO of the La vie en Rose banner, François Roberge, sales down 33% from last year Friday at 5 p.m. left a bitter taste.
“Usually these are the biggest days of the year for us,” he sighed.
Although it saw its web sales increase 30% over 2019, this increase did not offset the decline in its 240 stores across the country, with 26 stores closed with confinements in Manitoba and Ontario.
“It’s been a pretty stressful year,” he said, confirming it was the most difficult period of his career.
“We didn’t expect to have as many people as usual… [à cause de la COVID] “said Alexandra, manager at L’Intervalle at the Eaton Centre in Montreal.
“What I’m noticing is that people don’t deny today… [vendredi]. They don’t come to just watch, they buy. And that’s still something different than usual, especially at the Black Friday “, launched Mona, manager of the Arabella jewellery store at Carrefour Laval.
– With Clara Loiseau and Martin Jolicoeur