Thousands of Toronto shoppers turned out to brick-and-mortar stores this Boxing Day, despite the increasing popularity of online shopping — a reality one retail expert believes is unlikely to change.
As shoppers rushed through a busy corridor at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre on Thursday, the mall’s marketing director, Mina Barbuto, told Global News her team was prepared.
“It is the busiest day of the year, but we’ve really staffed up,” she said.
“We have a lot of manpower.”
Akins Lucas said he arrived at Yorkdale with his brother, Olo, at about 6 a.m. They were each shopping before heading back to post-secondary school outside of Toronto.
“My dad gave us money. We’re like, ‘Well, it’s Boxing Day. Let’s spend it all,'” he joked.
The Lucas brothers were just two of more than 100,000 shoppers expected to pass through Yorkdale this Boxing Day.
Michael LeBlanc, a senior advisor with the Retail Council of Canada, expects in-store shopping will likely remain popular in the face of growing online sales.
“The number one reason that people come and shop in store when you’re thinking about buying something is to try it on, to take a look at it, touch and feel,” LeBlanc explained.
As he stood in Yorkdale, LeBlanc said that beyond some other practical advantages, shopping at brick-and-mortar stores is also about the experience.
“You see people here enjoying their family, enjoying their friends, having a drink, being social,” he said.
LeBlanc said it highlights “the fact that these malls are community gathering places.”
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For Alyssa Rouzies, who shopped Thursday with her friend, that point rang true.
“It’s more fun to get it yourself when you’re at the store,” she said. “Online takes too long.”
Akins Lucas said a bad experience online has caused him to prefer shopping in-store.
“Sometimes what you see online is not what you get, so it’s better to see it in person,” he said.