‘It’s hard to predict’: Edmonton retailers preparing for Boxing Day shoppers

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A second straight Boxing Day amid the COVID-19 pandemic has local retailers unsure what to expect from customers, but stores are nonetheless giving Edmontonians plenty of online and in-person shopping options.

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Melanie Kell, owner of The Plaid Giraffe on Whyte Avenue, said it’s hard to know how many people will feel comfortable shopping in public this Boxing Day.

“It’s hard to predict. I feel like this year we had more foot traffic pre-Christmas, but I think people will probably want to avoid crowds so we’ll see a bit more online traffic,” said Kell. “We’ll have to see but we’re sort of planning for half online, half in store.”

Boxing Day deals at her store feature jewellery up to 10 per cent off at the local shop, and select items up to 40 per cent off.

Whether it’s foot traffic or filling up an online shopping cart, Kell said she is appreciative of all the support The Plaid Giraffe has received over the years.

“That’s why we are still here,” she said. “We’re excited about 2022 because people have been moving into shopping local, so that is amazing. And then as for Boxing Day, we hope people are able to come out and check out us small shops because we do carry a lot of unique items you might not find anywhere else.”

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Another local boutique is gearing up for a busy Boxing Day, but it will be selling items only online.

“We are going entirely online again,” said Rychelle Tuck, owner of Red Ribbon Boutique on 102 Avenue and 125 Street.

“Our Boxing Day is really busy in general so to have that amount of people in the store, there’s no way we’d be able to manage it with the COVID restrictions. We went online last year, and it was really successful and we decided to do the same thing again this year.”

The store’s Boxing Day sales will begin on their website at 8 p.m. on Christmas Day and run for 24 hours. Tuck said all orders should be ready for pickup the following day and customers have until Jan. 10 to return items for a full refund.

“Everything in store is online and they get 30 per cent off site-wide with very little restrictions,” she said.

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Tuck encouraged people to shop at small businesses this holiday season because they need community support to stay open.

Edmontonians will likely be lined up outside Best Buy locations throughout the city before they open at 8 a.m. Sunday morning to cash in on the store’s Boxing Day deals. The store leader at the west-end location said the business is prepared for in-person and online shoppers.

“The great thing about shopping at Best Buy is there’s three different ways you can shop with us on Boxing Day,” said Louis Doyle. “The first one, of course, is in store. You can come into the Boxing Day culture, you wait in line, there’s just excitement in the air whenever you’re in the store.”

Doyle said shoppers can also make purchases online for delivery, or reserve items for pickup. Online sales have increased throughout the pandemic, he said.

Doyle said this year’s top-selling items include Oculus VR headsets, the Playstation 5 and other items such as a Fitbit.

ktaniguchi@postmedia.com

twitter.com/TaniguchiKellen

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