Mail strike forces people to stores for Black Friday

Eli Ridder | Analysis

The annual Black Friday discounts that drive people to purchase big across Canada and the United States could push more consumers to stores this year due to a five week Canada Post strike.

In the case of Winners brands, including Homesense, Marshalls and TJX Style Plus, the company website is promoting “#OfflineShopping”, and is sending potential shoppers to physical brick-and-mortar stores.

The Canadian government is working on contentious back-to-work legislation to end the postal strike, but for now, there’s no confirmed end to the dispute that has caused a backlog that could cause delays into 2019.

However, products bought online this weekend on Friday, and on Cyber Monday, may be subject to rotating strikes by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers at Canada Post. 

CUPW says one of the major issues for their workers is disparity in pay between urban and rural postal workers, where urban carriers are paid by the hour and rural carriers on route size.

While going in-store might be the best option for Canadian shoppers this year, there are a few options for online shopping that could be safe.

Amazon Canada delivers their packages through a variety of carriers, including and its own delivery service, Amazon Logistics, and says it is monitoring the postal situation on their Canadian website.

The digital giant is communicating with major carriers “to minimize any service disruption” for customers and is adjusting delivery dates in real time, but orders from third party sellers could be less reliable.

It’s the small businesses that could be hit the worst in a drop in sales this weekend as many do not have brick-and-mortar stores in multiple locations and rely on digital shopping delivered by Canada Post.

However, there will be no confirmation on whether online shopping activity drops and in-store purchases rise for this year’s buying until statistics are in for the annual major sales weekend.

More details to follow. Image of shoppers on Dundas near Yonge St. in Toronto from Wikimedia Commons.

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