As retailers gear up for the final weekend of holiday selling – in the U.S. it's called Super Saturday – they're counting on shoppers turning out at stores despite forecasts of sleet, rain and snow in parts of Canada and tight-fisted spenders.
The tale of the 2013 holiday shopping season is playing out in the latest Canadian retail sales data: Online shopping is gaining speed while spending at bricks-and-mortar stores is slipping.
Between Dec. 3 and 16, pre-holiday spending declined by 2.06 per cent in physical stores – which represents the vast majority of total retail sales – while spending online jumped 14.54 per cent, according to Moneris Solutions Corp., Canada's largest credit and debit card processor.
Apparel online sales picked up the most during the period – by 31.1 per cent compared with a year earlier – while in-store consumer electronic purchases dropped 13.08 per cent although online spending of those items rose 23.13 per cent in the period, the report found.
"Canadians are turning to cyber-space to make many of the purchases they used to make in traditional brick-and-mortar retail environments in the past," said Jeff Guthrie, chief sales and marketing officer at Moneris.