William Keful does some Christmas shopping at Bower Place Mall on Friday. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Red Deer retailers are hoping for last-minute surge of Christmas shopping

Holiday season as been too quiet for many local merchants

Many Red Deer retailers are counting on last-minute gift shoppers to bolster sales after a slow start to the Christmas shopping season.

Traffic through some stores started picking up this week, according to merchants who hope this last weekend before Christmas will be their busiest yet.

“It’s starting to pick up, but it’s not as good as it should be,” said the manager of the Ardene store at Bower Place Mall, who summed up the general sentiment in this lacklustre Alberta economy.

Many stores are already offering customers Boxing Day-style discounts.

“It’s not all doom and gloom, people are still shopping, but in my personal opinion, it’s slower than last year,” said Bret Nederlof, whose family owns Clowes Jewelers. His store was bustling because of a close-out sale (Clowes is at the end of its lease and considering a move to another location). Other mall outlets were also starting to get busier on Friday.

Phil Lapierre noticed traffic congestion in South Red Deer when he went out Christmas shopping. It’s dawning on people that there are only three days left, he added, with a chuckle.

Central Alberta artist Lorene Runham was happy with recent turnout in a local market area set up in the former Sears space. “It’s been very busy yesterday and today,” added Susan Rombs of Innisfail, from the nearby booth, The Gift Loft.

But while “Black Friday was crazy,” Rombs believes many area residents have likely cut back on their Christmas budgets, with less work in the oilfield.

Reay-anne Slayter, of Sylvan Lake, said her spending is actually up this year — by necessity. She now has a third child to buy for.

But long-haul truck driver Peary Thompson is carefully budgeting because he’s been off with a disability. “I’ve heard of a lot of people getting laid off and it’s not as easy finding a job…”

And Red Deer mother Dallas Lapointe has been scanning fliers for toy sales. “I can tell there’s not an excess of money in Red Deer,” she said, but Christmas is coming, regardless.

Deb Brodersen, manager of The Bear House in Parkland Mall, said she saw a flurry of early shoppers in who wanted to send off parcels before Canada Post took job action.

Local artisans at the Tinker’s Nook at Parkland Mall also saw more customers than last Christmas — perhaps because more people are now aware they are there, said the space’s creator, Judy Balderson.

But Harry Gopal, owner of TGT Goldsmiths, said “It’s not as good as it should be for this time of year…. people are watching their pennies.” And Mindy Mand, owner of The Shoe Chalet, is hoping for a last-minute surge of shoppers to make up for a slow Christmas season.

Amanda Gould, executive-director of Red Deer Downtown Business Association, said it’s been a quieter Christmas, because of the economy, but downtown retailers are remaining positive and hoping their unique products will bring more shoppers in this weekend.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Three teenage boys in hospital after opioid overdoses at Alberta house party

STRATHMORE, Alta. — Police suspect three teenage boys who are in critical… Continue reading

Poll suggests Canadian trust in science falling, scientists thought ‘elitist’

A survey suggests that the trust Canadians place in science may be… Continue reading

Trudeau attacks troika of Tories in first salvo for federal battle for Ontario

OTTAWA — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau fired the first shot in Monday’s… Continue reading

Global postal union meets amid Trump threat to pull US out

GENEVA — The effects of President Donald Trump’s standoff with China could… Continue reading

Travel chaos, jobs lost as UK firm Thomas Cook collapses

LONDON — Hundreds of thousands of travellers were stranded across the world… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Tuesday Bower Place Community Association Seniors Card and Coffee party at 1:30… Continue reading

Police investigating homicide after woman found dead in residential building in Winnipeg

Winnipeg police say they are investigating a homicide after a woman was… Continue reading

Samsung’s folding phone hits the US

NEW YORK — Samsung’s folding phone is finally hitting the U.S. Samsung… Continue reading

Thomas Cook collapse means headaches for Transat as partnership deal dies

MONTREAL — Tour operator Transat Inc. says it could face fallout from… Continue reading

Mikkelson sees evidence of success in women’s hockey showcase in Toronto

TORONTO — Two-time Olympic gold medallist Meaghan Mikkelson woke up in her… Continue reading

Canada downs Mexico 109-53 in women’s basketball AmeriCup opener

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Jamie Scott had 21 points, including five… Continue reading

Pink and red combos, Hollywood gold on the Emmys carpet

NEW YORK — Julia Louis-Dreyfus stunned in classic Hollywood gold, Zendaya donned… Continue reading

‘Everest has not gone away:’ Sharon Wood tells story of historic summit in book

CANMORE, Alta. — More than three decades after becoming the first woman… Continue reading

Most Read