Tag Archives: Cross-border shopping

Bringing bargains closer to home

Outlet shoppers and bargain hunters, brace yourselves: you’ll soon be able to stay far closer to home when shopping your favourite brands.

In a few short months, a shiny new outlet mall will welcome to the GTA a variety of brands that have never before brought their outlet stores to Canada.

Toronto Premium Outlets is slated to open on Aug. 1st in Halton Hills, near Trafalgar Road and the 401.

An artistic rendering of the Toronto Premium Outlets.

An artistic rendering of the Toronto Premium Outlets.

Developed by Simon Property Group and Calloway Real Estate Investment Trust, the new retail hub represents the first Premium Outlet Center to open in Canada.

The upscale outlet mall concept has done well in U.S. markets and abroad, as Simon has continued to expand its roster of more than 300 malls.

Altogether, the mall will boast 85 upscale outlets, with at least eight representing outlet brands that are new to Canada. These include:

  • Cole Haan
  • Columbia Sportswear
  • DKNY
  • Icebreaker
  • Kate Spade New York
  • Polo Ralph Lauren
  • Restoration Hardware
  • Ted Baker London

With easier access to these and other brands, many Toronto-area shoppers may be taking fewer trips to the U.S. once the new shopping hub opens its doors. As a result, outlet malls south of the border may begin to see fewer Canadian shoppers browsing their offerings.

In particular, Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls – a popular destination among Canadians given its close proximity to the border – could see its traffic decline given that many of its retailers will now have Canadian locations.

Whether the merchandise offerings and prices are on par with the U.S. stores, however, remains to be seen.

Some of Toronto Premium Outlets’ other retailers include:

  • Banana Republic
  • Bench
  • Bose
  • Brooks Brothers
  • Coach
  • Dynamite
  • Eddie Bauer
  • Gap Outlet
  • Garage
  • Guess
  • J. Crew
  • Lucky Brand Jeans
  • Michael Kors
  • True Religion
  • Zumiez

In addition, the shopping centre will be anchored by the first ever Hudson’s Bay Outlet – something I’m personally curious to check out. Since The Bay has spent the past few years continuously improving the quality of merchandise it carries, an HBC outlet could be a good place to scoop up some high-end brands at affordable prices.

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Filed under Department Stores & Big Boxes, Sales & Deals, Shopping Hubs

Cross-border shopping shock

It’s no secret that there are some serious price discrepancies between merchandise in Canada and the U.S.  Since the loonie has edged its way above par with the greenback, there’s been plenty of attention on the fact that prices in Canada continue to be substantially higher than those south of the border, which is no longer justified.

I wasn’t too concerned about all of the hype around this issue – until, that is, I experienced it myself. I treated myself to a new watch a couple of weeks ago, after my old one began chewing through batteries unusually quickly.

For a week, I felt great about my new purchase from The Bay. Then it happened. I stumbled across an American website advertising the exact same Fossil watch I’d bought, for about 30% less than I’d paid. And this was at full price, not some sort of special deal.

Macy's is looking pretty appealing right now.

I compared other Fossil watches and found similar differences in the cross-border prices.

If the loonie were still worth 70 cents US, then these price discrepancies would absolutely be justified. But with the Canadian dollar currently worth even more than the American dollar, Fossil has some serious price adjusting to do.

It’s not often that I go shopping south of the border. Going to the U.S. simply seems like too much of a hassle, when most of the same merchandise is available at stores right here in Toronto. And as a proud Canadian, I like supporting Canadian retailers.

But if merchants and manufacturers don’t take steps to improve the fairness of their prices, I’m going to seriously consider doing more of my shopping on the other side of the Peace Bridge. And so will a lot of other Canadians. At least, those who aren’t doing so already.

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Filed under Retail & the Web, Sales & Deals

Cross-border shopping made easy

The loonie has once again reached parity with the U.S. dollar, making the massive retail market south of the border a lot more appealing to Canadians. The strong currency always presents a great opportunity to snap up items that aren’t available in Canada, and even those that are – at a considerably lower price.

If you want to take advantage of this opportunity, but don’t have a chance to actually cross the border, check out Bing Shopping. Microsoft’s search engine has launched a cross-border shopping tool that lets Canadians find the best bargains both north and south of the border.

The helpful tool lets you browse through a range of products, from electronics and computers to health and beauty products. It shows you the exact price of each item on both sides of the border, including taxes, and the percentage difference.

A Panasonic 8GB Memory Card, for instance, is 63% cheaper in the United States, at $30.29 in Canadian dollars, compared to $98.88 north of the border. Even taking into account shipping costs, that’s a huge level of savings.

In addition to this cross-border tool, Bing also has a broader shopping site that lets you find the best deal among products in Canada. Similar to the Canada Post Comparison Shopper launched last year (which I blogged about here), Bing Shopping compares a variety of retailers to show you the best price you can get on any given product.

The tool also shows you the benefits of shopping at any particular retailer, such as that company’s return policy, warranty services and shipping rates. In addition, the tool helps you determine the best time to make your purchase by showing you the price history for the past six months.

One of the best aspects of online shopping is the ability to comparison-shop quickly and easily, and online shopping tools like this one make it that much easier.

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Filed under Retail & the Web