‘It isn’t just like the previous days’: How Black Friday has modified in Saskatoon

SASKATOON –

Black Friday is back and the general manager of Best Buy on Preston Avenue says many things have changed from previous years.

“It’s not like the old days where we open the door and it’s a huge lineup,” Rokhan Sarwar said.

Instead, Sarwar said his store has seen a steady flow of customers throughout the week as Best Buy began offering Black Friday deals last week.

It’s a trend that’s becoming more common for many stores, especially during COVID-19.

“We want to make sure we keep the safety of our employees and customers top of mind have that social distancing, but it also alleviates a lot of pressure on our supply chain, you know, that’s been a big concern especially in COVID,” Sarwar said.

Despite being able to hunt for deals all week long, many still chose to come out on the actual day.

Sarah Weiklie was at Best Buy with her husband looking for a TV.

“It’s the iconic Black Friday, so you think the deals will be better today maybe,” she told CTV News.

Like many, Weiklie said she uses the day to get a head start on Christmas shopping.

“We definitely try to have an idea of what we want for Christmas shopping and then we’ll buy that Black Friday and give it on Christmas and then we feel a lot better about it all,” she said with a laugh.

Nathan Johnson and Natasha Loewen travelled from North Battleford to Saskatoon to get new accessories for their Xbox.

“We’re already in town, so we thought we’d come in and the rush hasn’t been too bad yet, so it’s been nice,” Johnson said.

Loewen added, “We’re looking for accessories that we can’t get in town and we’re having some pretty good luck here so far.”

David Williams, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Saskatchewan, said the move to online shopping has also changed the way Black Friday looks.

“A lot of consumers still go to the store having gotten their information online, on mobile devices. Definitely they’re aware of the sales and the flyers, so the two are kind of blurred. Online has made the Black Friday event longer and taken away from the in-store crowd.”

Williams said this year, it may be hard for people to get good deals because of supply chain issues.

“There won’t be the bargains that there traditionally are as it’s more of a retailer’s market and there will be supply issues. The smart shoppers would have shopped early, so there’ll be less surplus stock to turn around and less day-crashers and so, it will have an impact on availability of products.”

As for Sarwar, he said the move from one day of sales to a week-long event has been positive.

“With excitement just for that one day, it was also a high stress environment both for customers and employees because we did have to multitask and help multiple customers at the same time. But, with extended sales, it allows us to serve them and provide quality service.”

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