Saturday, December 17, 2011

Shopping Season

Unusual for me, I finished Christmas shopping Wednesday, a full ten days before Christmas.  Gifts are wrapped, put away, and I'm ready to contemplate the new year.

Neither Guildford nor Central City Shopping Centres seemed very crowded.  In fact, I kidded the salesperson at the Bay at Guildford for the lack of staff.  Whatever happened to holiday hiring?  Much of the merchandise at the Bay was 40%-50% off (genuinely so, compared to other years, not just marked up to be marked down), but still little traffic.

The new 212,000 square foot Wal-Mart Super Centre at Guildford is now open, but not accessible from the main mall.  It has a separate parking lot and entrance, and maybe that is part of the reason for fewer shoppers.  I predicted a year ago when construction began that the new store (now including a large grocery section) would negatively impact the other businesses in the mall.  We'll have to wait and see, but I'm not sure how stores can survive if they are empty during the Christmas season.

I had an afternoon dental appointment at Central City on Thursday, and it seemed empty as well.  I had a laugh at Lucinda's jewelry, promoting everything at 80% off.  The merchandise should have been flying off the shelves.  Instead only one sales clerk, looking a bit forlorn.  The only business with steady traffic seemed to be Tim Hortons, which always has a lineup.  People do like to eat.  I took home half a dozen doughnuts myself.

I'm not sure how the economic slowdown has impacted North Surrey.  No new businesses are opening up, but then hardly any have closed.  In the past, growth has been more dynamic, at least variable.  Maybe just a sign of a maturing neighborhood.