Icy weather no match for Boxing Day bargains

Shoppers were out in force across much of Canada today trying to snap up deals in the annual Boxing Day sales.

Mall owners consider the day a success after people lined up pre-dawn to shop for deals

A shopper rests with his bags after an early visit to the Boxing Day sales at the Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto on Thursday. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Shoppers were out in force across much of Canada today trying to snap up deals in the annual Boxing Day sales.

In southern Ontario, it's unclear how last weekend's ice storm has affected sales, but the manager of one of Toronto's biggest shopping malls says weather problems haven't kept people away.

Yorkdale general manager Anthony Casalanguida says you'd never know there were weather problems based on the number of shoppers in the mall.

He says since Monday many people without power have been using Yorkdale as a warming centre while others with no power at home came to the mall to recharge cell phones and laptops.

Casalanguida says it's hard to tell what the bottom line for retailers is since most won't have final sales figures available until next month.

But he says the mall is on track for a five per cent increase in shoppers this Boxing Day compared to last year.

Hundreds of people waited for the doors to open at 6 a.m. MT at the Future Shop in southeast Calgary, where the price cuts on select items were in the triple digits, in a few cases as much as 75 per cent.

One Vancouver couple paid someone they found on Craigslist $75 to wait in line for them so they could get a great deal on a TV.

Future Shop and its corporate cousin, Best Buy, opened their doors at 6 in the morning local time at most outlets on Ontario, the Prairies and B.C. The Bay was open at 7 a.m. at most of its locations.

That's despite the fact many Boxing Day deals can also be had online.

No Atlantic Canada shopping

There was little of the post-Christmas consumer madness in Atlantic Canada, where most stores are required to stay closed for Boxing Day under provincial law. Shoppers there can still take advantage of discount prices on Friday at many retailers, or in some cases through next week.

Stores in Quebec opened at 1 p.m. ET.

Boxing Day is observed mainly in Commonwealth countries and not in the United States, where the biggest retail crazes are on Black Friday in late November. Still, many U.S. merchants offer "day after Christmas" sales.

With files from CBC


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