CALGARY – If you still have last-minute gifts to cross off your list, the clock is ticking.Chinook Centre opened at 9 a.m. Saturday morning and Calgarians wasted no time to get into the mall and get an early start to their day of shopping.
Cars filled up the parking lot as soon as stores opened and it’s expected to be the busiest shopping day of the year.
Shopper Elaine Smith is done all her shopping, so her family just comes to take in the Christmas festivities.
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“Well we come really early, get a great parking spot go have breakfast and just enjoy the people shop and check out Santa,’ said Smith.
“We have some family here from Australia and we want to buy some gifts for people, so today was the day that worked unfortunately,” said Amanda Nissen.
READ MORE: Important shopping day quickly approaching
We might be in the midst of a huge shopping weekend in Calgary, but this year, the slumping economy may have an impact on retail sales.
Even though people are converging on the malls, they may not be spending as much. For a second straight year, Canadians will be holding back.
Across the country, holiday spending is down more than seven per cent this year and in Alberta, it’s down due to job losses and the Canadian dollar plunging.
Thursday, the Canadian dollar lost 0.86 of a U.S. cent to close at 71.68 cents US, a day after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced it was raising its key interest rates after holding them at near zero levels for the last seven years.
This is also a crucial weekend for small businesses trying to make up some of that revenue.
If you are out Saturday, you may be in for some deals thanks to “Super Saturday”, another way retail shopping centres try to get people to open up their wallets.
Standard & Poor’s has downgraded Alberta’s credit rating from AAA to AA+.
READ MORE: Alberta’s credit rating downgraded over concerns of rising debt burden
The rating agency cites low oil prices, projected weak budget performance over the next two years…and the rapidly rising tax supported debt load for the change.
The NDP government said it’s not overly concerned by the move.
“We’re focusing on stimulating the economy, on growth, we’re focusing on jobs and partnering with the private sector to create those jobs,” said Deron Bilous, minister of economic development and trade.
The finance minister believes the rate change will have little impact on borrowing costs.
“Their activities haven’t even been neutral, they’ve been negative at every turn and the world has noticed,” Ric McIver, Alberta Progressive Conservative party leader.
With files from the Canadian Press