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Is Boxing Day shopping losing its lustre? Vancouver shoppers flock to malls in search of sales

Metro Vancouver shoppers try to snag Boxing Day deals
WATCH: Are the days of the legendary Boxing Day door-crasher sales over? Nadia Stewart reports.

Many people across Metro Vancouver went shopping on Boxing Day, either in brick-and-mortar stores or online.

The dash for Boxing Day deals started early Thursday morning, with a small but dedicated group of bargain hunters waiting outside the Best Buy in downtown Vancouver at 6 a.m. for the doors to open.

WATCH: The changing face of Boxing Day

The changing face of Boxing Day
The changing face of Boxing Day

Store leader Manek Mavalvalla, however, said the days when shoppers would camp out overnight for door-crasher deals are largely a thing of the past.

“Customers are getting up a little later, but our store is busy all the way through [the day], all the way to the end,” he said.

“It is an all-day event.”

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Vancouver International Airport warned travellers to prepare for traffic congestion due to the Boxing Day sale at a nearby outlet mall.

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READ MORE: Canadian shoppers turn to Black Friday for holiday shopping more than Boxing Day

The McArthurGlen Designer Outlet, which shares some road access with the airport, is holding its annual sales event on Dec. 26.

Large crowds were also spotted at the Tsawwassen Mills outlet mall and the Arc’teryx factory store in North Vancouver.

David Ian Gray, a retail analyst with DIG360, says recent research conducted with their partner Leger suggests that shoppers are increasingly turning to Black Friday — a sales bonanza imported from the U.S., where retailers long slashed prices the day after their Thanksgiving holiday — at the expense of Boxing Day.

The real story behind Black Friday
The real story behind Black Friday

“People are a little less likely to be going out for Boxing Day and Boxing Week this year compared to last year,” he said.

“Our prediction is, for the first time, we’re about to see the same traffic Boxing Day as Black Friday.”

READ MORE: Unpacking Boxing Day: The unclear origins of the post-Christmas holiday

Gray noted that there will still be interest in Boxing Day sales, especially among younger shoppers.

“It’s a young person’s sport,” he said. “It’s very social, it’s an event… For those bargain hounds, they want to be the first in.”

The Vancouver Public Library, meanwhile, had some fun with Boxing Day shopping, noting that it was hosting its “biggest sale of the year,” with books and movies available at the rock-bottom price of free.

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“Do not miss this deal! You will be able to get it every other day this year,” it joked.

— With files from Simon Little and The Canadian Press