* Friday after Thanksgiving kicks off U.S. holiday shopping
* Mall operator hoping to head off cross-border shopping
TORONTO Nov 5 Cadillac Fairview, one of
Canada's largest mall operators, will open nine Ontario shopping
centers early on "Black Friday" in a bid to compete with U.S.
retailers on the traditional start of the holiday shopping
season south of the border.
In recent years, more Canadian retailers have been featuring
discounts on Black Friday, the day after U.S. Thanksgiving,
which falls on Thursday Nov. 22 this year. Canadians celebrate
Thanksgiving in October.
"Our retail sector has to work hard to remain competitive
and keep shoppers north of the border," said Martin Wray, a vice
president at Cadillac Fairview, in a release.
Many Canadians travel to nearby U.S. cities such as Buffalo,
New York, or Bellingham, Washington, for day or weekend shopping
trips. Prices are often lower, but shoppers can face long delays
at the border and customs duties on imported goods.
To keep more of them at home, Toronto's downtown Eaton
Centre, operated by Cadillac Fairview, will open at 6:00 a.m.,
instead of 9:30 a.m., while eight other properties will open at
Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year
for U.S. retailers.
Kelly Olive, a spokeswoman for the company, said it is the
first time all nine of the malls are opening early together. In
previous years some properties have opened to meet special
requests from tenants.
Cadillac Fairview, owned by the Ontario Teachers' Pension
Plan, is one of North America's biggest commercial real estate
owners and managers.
The fact that most Canadians work on Black Friday has done
little to deter retailers from launching new promotions.
Last year Wal-Mart Stores Inc launched its first
Black Friday-branded sales in Canada, and Sears Canada Inc
ran its first Black Friday price-matching promotion two