holiday sales toronto

Here's how holiday gift sales are going at some local stores in Toronto

With only a few good shopping hours left for Christmas gifts, retailers in Toronto are doing their best to navigate this very different holidays season.

"It's been very very hard for us," Trinh Ngo, owner of Juxtapose, told blogTO.

Juxtapose, which has both a home goods store and a card and gift shop in Toronto, not only relies on people being able to just casually browse their store but they also count on the holiday season for the majority of the yearly sales. 

"Our time of the year is Christmas but because [of the lockdowns] we probably lost about 50% our sales," said Ngo. "We're doing the best we can. We're just trying to stay afloat."

And Juxtapose isn't alone in the struggle. 

Gary Newbury, a retail supply chain strategist and serial transformation executive, told Retail Insider that the closures between Black Friday through to the conclusion of January sales, including Boxing Day sales, are devastating for any independent or chain retailers not deemed "essential" 

"This is traditionally a very busy time for retailers. In a normal year they would plan to make 80-90 percent of their profit during this short window, and given most were locked down for two to three months during March – May, they would have been looking forward to getting a clear run to try and regain their cash flow during this time," he said.

However, some stores have been exceeding all expectations this season. 

Christie Pinese, owner of Rose City Goods, says sales are up even in comparison to last year. 

"To be honest we're doing great. I feel guilty that we're doing okay, but it's been overwhelming in a really beautiful way," she told blogTO. "We expected things to be a lot worse but the community really came together."

Pinese explained that her community really steps it up when it comes to supporting local businesses like hers.

"We're in such a great neighbourhood and people really are supporting the shops as much as they can. It's like people are suddenly aware of what small businesses carry," she said, explaining that there's a growing awareness around shopping sustainably.  

"I think this year really forced people to slow down and they're more conscious about how and where they spend their money and they're being more thoughtful," she explained. "I think that people are going back to supporting mom and pop shops and are more mindful where they're spending their money and making sure they have more sustainable shopping habits."

She hopes this trend continues into the new year as well since the movement has definitely brought lots of new customers into Rose City Goods.  

Meanwhile, shops, like Juxtapose that are in a more precarious position are just hoping things get better soon. 

"I don't know what else we can do but keep on doing our Instagram and letting people know what we have," Ngo said. "We'll see how January hits."

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez at Rose City Goods

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