Low dollar likely to depress holiday sales

Plummet of Canadian loonies on the global market to 76 cents U.S. will likely result in a slow holiday shopping season, experts say. (Photo: Creative Commons, Sharon Drummond ) Plummet of Canadian loonies on the global market to 76 cents U.S. will likely result in a slow holiday shopping season, experts say. (Photo: Creative Commons, Sharon Drummond )

Robert Williamson
News Reporter

This year, the holiday rush will be more of a stroll.

In a period when the Canadian dollar has taken a nosedive on the global market, experts are anticipating a slow year in terms of holiday shopping.

“Canadians everywhere are feeling the effects of the hit,” said John Williams, founder and partner at J.C. Williams Group, a global retail advisor based in Toronto. “The hit to the dollar has restricted spending both in and out of the country.”

Through the emergence of online shopping, Canadians have been spoiled in their choice of where to bargain hunt during the winter season. Though, due to the drop off to 76-cents on the United States dollar, the low loonie has prevented retailers from rolling out the sales this year.

“Retailers are being effected most of all,” said Williams. “Stores on the other side of the border know that Canadians won’t be crossing over to shop there this holiday season, which has caused them to reduce any and all sales they may have had in a regular year.”

While American retailers are delaying sales due to the absence of demand, Canadian stores are having a tougher time marketing products due to the cost of bringing them in.

“Canadian retailers are in the same boat, the price of foreign products are far too high now for there to be significant cost cuts and price saving over the holiday,” said Williams.

Stores are having a rough time accommodating seasonal shoppers,  so many tech savvy consumers have turned to the web for their deals.

“I haven’t been able to find any deals in stores, that’s true, but I’m always hunting and finding some decent deals online,” said Taras Michalek, 24, woodworking student at Humber College. “The sales aren’t as big as usual, but they’re there.”

A Statistics Canada report titled Consumer Holiday Shopping Patterns said nearly a quarter of a retailer’s sales in a fiscal year come from the two months of holiday season.

Williams said the typical winter sees sales that average 50 per cent higher than the rest of the year’, however the anticipated consensus for 2015 is that regular holiday sales won’t materialize either in shops or online. “Canadians can’t expect the same level of saving they’ve enjoyed in past years while the dollar was a bit stronger.” he said.

The high priced holiday season has become a talking point for students heading into the winter break, though some don’t see an issue with the price hike.

“This won’t effect me either way,” said Kavya Mohan, a 20-year-old nursing student from Humber. “I don’t plan on spending either more or less money this year.”

While some students can afford peace of mind surrounding the matter, others feel they will be affected.

“The fact that almost everything online is priced by the American dollar is going to make it pretty difficult for me this year.” said Michalek. “With shipping and handling tacked on, I can’t afford half of what I’m used to at Christmas.”

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