B.C. duty free shop sees record sales for summer 2016

A continued slump of the Canadian dollar, paired with a stellar ski season, are behind record sales at the Peace Arch Duty Free Shop in Surrey.

Peace Arch Duty Free has noticed a 20 per cent increase in business over last year due to dollar

The Peach Arch Duty Free shop says it's had the best summer of sales since it opened 10 years ago due to Americans coming north with their strong dollar. (Peach Arch Duty Free)

With the Canadian dollar still relatively low, many shops in Washington are wrapping up a summer to forget when it comes to Canadian visitors.

But one particular store on the B.C. side of the border has reached record sales.

Peace Arch Duty Free Shop, which has been around for 10 years, has just seen its busiest season ever.

20 per cent increase

Management is enjoying a 20 per cent increase in total business over last year.

"This is the biggest growth we've had since we opened," said Reginald Raju, the store's manager.

He says while the amount of Canadian traffic heading south has been cut in half compared to the same time in 2015, his store has noticed nearly twice as many Americans entering B.C.

"With this kind of dollar discrepancy, U.S. traffic is coming in big numbers because everything they look at is almost half price. Especially with in-store purchases; all the liquor is almost half price due to Washington's high state tax on liquor," he said.

Snow helps too

The other factor receiving credit for the sizeable increase in American visitors is a winter that brought piles of snow to B.C.'s mountains.

"Ever since February with Whistler's snow season, we've had a huge influx of U.S. traffic ... almost double."

And Raju doesn't expect business to slow down anytime soon.

"The next big weekend for us that we're looking forward to is November long weekend, American Thanksgiving, and then the Christmas season."

Some stores in the Bellingham area had promoted a summer incentive of long weekend "at-par" sales to try to encourage Canadian visitors to spend their money stateside.