Canadians are flocking to U.S. malls located near the border ahead of the legendary American shopping day known as Black Friday, but they may have to root a little deeper this year to find real bargains.

Black Friday falls on the day after American Thanksgiving and is meant to kick off the Christmas shopping season.

CBC News visited Bellis Fair mall, located in Bellingham, Wash., about a 90-minute drive from Vancouver, and found a parking lot filled with cars with Canadian licence plates.

Mike Sorgiovanni of Vancouver had gassed up the car and headed south in hopes of scoring a good deal on shoes. He told CBC he was expecting to save up to $70 on the purchase.

Len Walker of Langley, B.C., was there, too, saying he thought he'd find better deals in the U.S. because "they are feeling the crunch more. The bargains are better."

Heather Walker of Maple Ridge, B.C., was ready to boost the U.S. economy, saying she was "getting deals — good deals."

U.S. retailers have, indeed, had a hard time of it but no worse than those in Canada if sales figures are to be believed.

Statistics Canada said this week that retail sales in Canada were up one per cent in September, the seventh increase in nine months. In the U.S., retail sales were up 1.4 per cent in the same time period.

At least with the Canadian dollar being so strong, you'd expect to find some steals, but a quick price check by CBC at the Bellis Fair mall turned up just small savings.

An xBox 360 Elite was going for $299 US at Target in the U.S. At a Future Shop in Vancouver, it was $299 Cdn.

The Call of Duty Modern Warfare video game was priced at $59.99 US, again, the same ticket price as in Canadian stores.

An eight-gig iPod Touch? The same ticket price north and south of the border.

A Canon Powershot? Also virtually the same ticket price.

A Dewalt Drill Driver was only slightly cheaper in the U.S.

However, one retail worker, Krystal Cantrell, assured CBC news that Friday's bargains would be hard to beat, saying the price drops would be the best all year.

Bellis Fair mall plans to take full advantage of the day by opening at 6 a.m. Bring on the shopping mobs.