fashion

Early holiday shopping important, as season is critical for many Montreal retailers: RCC

Do you prefer to wait until the last minute to complete holiday shopping? If so, the Retail Council of Canada is encouraging you to change your habits and get a head start.



a person standing in front of a store: A woman wears a face mask as she shops in a clothing store in Montreal, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world.


© Graham Hughes/ The Canadian Press
A woman wears a face mask as she shops in a clothing store in Montreal, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world.

“We’re trying to tell people, ‘shop safe, shop early and then shop local as well, so you end up spreading the traffic a bit,'” said Retail Council of Canada Quebec president Marc Fortin.

With five weeks to go until Christmas, Fortin was pleased to see Ste-Catherine Street bustling with shoppers over the weekend. He says this season is critical for retailers who are just scraping by.

“Christmas is going to be a key part this year. So if Christmas or the holiday shopping isn’t good this year, we’re probably going to have some bad news in January, February.”

Read more: Religious minorities say Quebec’s Christmas gathering plan shows a double standard

As the holiday season gets underway, sales have risen at Off The Hook, a boutique clothing store located downtown.

“The past few weeks were actually kind of busy, compared to the weeks after the lockdown,” said manager Denzel Flores.

For a business that’s been in Montreal for over 20 years, support from the community means even more after a rocky year.

“If you’re able to, go local shopping because it’s really important to support your local stores,” Flores said.

Read more: Quebec reports 1,154 new cases of COVID-19, 23 additional deaths linked to virus

Across the street, the line for Canada Goose stretched halfway down the block. The long wait, however, didn’t seem to deter customers with a list to check off.

“We have nothing else to do with Corona,” said Noor El as she waited in line. “So we’re just going out on Sundays having fun.”

Most shoppers kept their distance and left their masks on while walking outside. One couple with wrapping paper and bags of presents in their hands stopped to tell Global News they weren’t concerned by the amount of people.

“I think everybody’s respecting the rules as much as possible, there’s not huge crowds, everyone keeps their distance on the sidewalk, so it’s pleasant and safe, to an extent,” said Michael Ricci.

Read more: Infectious disease experts worried about impact of Quebec’s COVID-19 Christmas plan

That respect seemed to extend indoors, as Flores said his employees haven’t had any problems enforcing health guidelines.

“Usually there’s a lot of people that keep their distances by themselves, they respect the rules and that’s very important to see.”

He said the early support of the community is especially important for local businesses.

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