Shoppers in Edmonton descended on malls in search of last-minute Christmas gifts on Friday, a day industry experts consider to be one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
The last Friday before Christmas is consistently one of the busiest shopping days of the year, according to payment processing giant Moneris.
This year, it predicted there would be 600 to 700 transactions per second at the day’s peak — all made in brick-and-mortar stores.
“It’s really an in-store day. Online, the time for delivery is running out, so this is what makes this day busy,” said Jeff Guthrie, the company’s chief sales and marketing officer. “A lot of people are thinking now, ‘I better get out, get that gift and then get to the grocery store and get that food.'”
At West Edmonton Mall, crowds picked up throughout the morning and into the afternoon.
“This is better than some years. I’ve done Christmas Eve before, so I’m ahead of the game,” one shopper told Global News, who was buying gifts for his children.
It was a similar scene at Edmonton’s Southgate Centre, where most parking spots were full by mid-afternoon.
“The crowds are nuts. There’s no parking, so we had to travel around the parking lot a few times,” said Loretta Brkin, who was visiting the mall with her son.
Last year, spending on the last Friday before Christmas was 45 per cent higher than Boxing Day, according to Moneris.
Southgate Centre expected 45,000 to 50,000 shoppers on Friday alone, according to the mall’s general manager.
“Very busy. It’s one of our busiest weeks of the year,” Vivian Wagner said.
Wagner recommends shoppers take public transit to avoid packed parking lots and also to be patient.
“Come prepared, know what you’re looking for. Window shopping is great on a day like this,” Wagner said.