HED: Quebecers less keen on Boxing Day bargain hunting

MONTREAL - Quebec bargain hunters started lining up as early as dawn Wednesday as they prowl for Boxing Day specials, but a study predicts we will be hitting the stores in far fewer numbers than in some other Canadian provinces.

A Bank of Montreal survey suggests that 62 percent of Canadians plan to take advantage of post-Christmas retail bargains.

But Quebecers lag far behind other provinces in Boxing Day mania, as only 36 percent plan to hit the shops, while 76 percent of Albertans plan to go shopping.

Those numbers might be skewed, however, as the poll was conducted between 11 and 16 October. The pollsters sounded out 1,000 Canadians and the survey has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Out on Ste-Catherine St., some people were lined up around the block outside Future Shop to snap up discounted TVs and other electronics.

“Our buyers are planning this for months in advance just to make sure the people who are going to come in the store are not disappointed with what they find,” said Future Shop manager Thierry Lopez.

Quebec labour laws only allow stores to open at 1 p.m. on December 26, including Quebec’s SAQ liquor outlets, which closed on the afternoon of December 24.

Supermarkets are open but will be staffed by a smaller staff than on a usual Wednesday.

Pharmacies, gas stations and restaurants are open their usual hours, as they are deemed essential services. Banks, post offices and provincial and federal institutions are closed on December 26 in Quebec.

—With files from The Canadian Press.