Last-minute shoppers pack malls days ahead of Christmas

EDMONTON – It’s getting down to crunch time. With just three days left before Christmas, shoppers were out in full force Sunday afternoon, trying to finish their last-minute Christmas shopping.

“Typical male shopping, last-minute, leaving it until the end,” said a young man who was shopping at West Edmonton Mall.

According to a recent CIBC poll, with one weekend to go before Christmas, over 60 per cent of Canadians hadn’t finished their holiday shopping.

And according to the same poll, Canadians have spent more this year versus the same time in 2012.

“As Canadians dash to stores to complete their holiday shopping on top of their already busy schedules this time of year, it’s important that they monitor their spending and keep their budgets in mind,” said Barry Gollom, Vice President, Consumer Deposits, CIBC. “To start the New Year off right financially, you need to ensure you don’t overextend yourself during the holidays and exceed your budget.”

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CIBC also compared the average dollar amount Canadians in different areas of the country have spent so far this holiday season, compared to what they planned to spend as part of a November CIBC poll:

“I did (a budget of) $1,000 and I think I’m almost $500 over,” said the male shopper at WEM Sunday.

With Albertans being the biggest spenders this holiday season, staff at Future Shop say they’ve noticed.

“We’ve definitely seen lots of people coming in, in a rush, getting out there, getting to other stores as quickly as possible,” said Adam Quist, General Manager of the Future Shop at Terra Losa Shopping Centre.

And while the store is experiencing the Christmas rush, Quist knows the busiest shopping day is yet to come.

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“It’s that balance right now, sort of getting ready, manage all the trucks coming in for Boxing Day, but still making sure we’ve got lots of people on the floor,” Quist said. “So it’s a really interesting balance that we have to walk right now, but Boxing Week is obviously our busiest week, kicking off with Boxing Day.”

Further results of CIBC’s poll have been posted below:

  • Entering the final shopping weekend before the holidays, 69 per cent of Canadians have not yet finished their holiday shopping, which includes 22 per cent who say they haven’t started yet.
  • Among Canadians who have started shopping, they say they’ve spent an average of $986 up to Dec. 16, 2013; that’s higher than the $852 holiday spending budget Canadians set for themselves in a similar poll done last month.
  • It’s also higher than the $692 Canadians said they spent last year heading into the final weekend for holiday shopping in 2012.
  • 20 per cent of Canadians believe they will be over budget by the time the last gift is wrapped, although 58 per cent believe they can still meet their budget.
  • Residents of Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan were among the most likely to say they had not started shopping yet (both at 26 per cent), while only 13 per cent of Albertans said they had yet to start their holiday shopping.
  • Quebec residents who have started shopping have spent $503, on average, so far this year, the lowest in the country. Among Albertans who say they’ve started shopping, they’ve spent $1,586 on average.

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With files from Shannon Greer, Global News.

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