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2013-12-21 at 6:00 PM

Retail rush: Last minute shoppers prepare for last chance

By Matt Vis,
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The holiday shopping rush is on in Thunder Bay.

With the number of shopping days until Christmas counting down, last minute gift buyers are heading out to cross items and names off their lists.

Intercity Shopping Centre marketing director Shannon Young said business is starting to increase with Christmas right around the corner.

“It’s been a slow start to the year, as it’s been for the past couple of years. But in the last week or two it’s picked up quite immensely, especially in the last week,” Young said.

The shopping centre extended their evening hours until 10 p.m. for much of the past week, and that has led to increased traffic as shoppers head out after dark.

It is expected to culminate this weekend, one of the busiest retail stretches of the entire year.

“The weekends have been a really busy time and then this weekend coming up will be the busiest shopping weekend of the year for us,” Young said.

Some stores in the mall are thriving, while others are seeing a bit of a dip compared to past years.

One business that is performing quite well inside the shopping complex is the Bath and Body Works store.

Store manager Kerri-Ann McCullough said their third Christmas in the city has been a busy one, and they are seeing quite a diversity in their customer base.

“It’s the place to be for the Christmas season. It’s a perfect gift giving destination,” McCullough said.

“We’ve had a lot of men in this week, and they normally come in on the 24th and that’s what we normally expect. We applaud them for shopping a little bit earlier.”

This is the first Christmas shopping season for Intercity with Target being a tenant in the mall. So far, the Minneapolis-based retailer is providing a boost at the south end of the mall, operating out of the former Zellers location.

“The traffic counts on that end of the mall have increased since Target has been here and they are busy with lineups,” Young said.

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Curious says:
I am surprised how busy it is in the mall. The line up at Rydens for people picking up parcels were well out the door. It seems some folks are doing all of their shopping online in the states. Apparently you can't get nearly the deals in Canada. Makes it bad for shopping local.
12/21/2013 9:58:18 PM
Potso says:
I was one of those people picking up parcels at Ryden's. I had ordered two gifts online from the States. One item was not available in Canada and the other was sold out here. The rest of my Christmas shopping was done in Thunder Bay as I found the prices very close to the US.
12/22/2013 3:22:13 AM
Reignmaker says:
Local shops sometimes can't (but more often just won't) keep their prices low enough to be enticing.

I will shop local if I can, but if the difference is significant I will go across the border. Sometimes we simply don't have the items here either.
12/22/2013 8:40:59 AM
advocate says:
Usually it is can't. The suppliers here charge much more to the stores than in the US. I remember when I was in retail, the supplier price was 40% less.
12/22/2013 2:35:56 PM
unknowncronik says:
Seems XMAS has got their claws into many peeps again making them spend beyond their limits on gifts just to show others they care. LOL!

12/22/2013 11:40:17 AM
rocketship says:
There a quite a number of locally owned independent businesses in Thunder Bay. We need to be supporting our friends & neighbours who own these business which provide unique goods & services. GET OUT OF THE MALL...AND LOOK AROUND!!!
12/22/2013 12:38:37 PM
rootbear says:
Personally I miss Zellers. I found it had a better selection of everything than Target. I am not a Target customer but, any retail anchor is better than none.
12/22/2013 2:52:56 PM
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