The Bay Centre has seen a steady increase in holiday shopping since 2018. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Greater Victoria malls see jump in holiday shoppers over last year

More people are heading to stores as the busiest shopping day of the year approaches

Last minute shoppers will want to brace themselves for the insanity of Christmas time at the mall.

Between Victoria’s Bay Centre, Hillside Mall and Mayfair Mall, thousands of shoppers are pouring into stores over the next few days, leading to hectic parking lots and long line ups.

“Between November and December we see a quarter of our annual shoppers,” said Sarah Park, media relations at Mayfair Mall. While exact numbers were not available, Park said the numbers are increasing.

“We’re trending up this year compared to other years,” she said.

ALSO READ: Woman pushing stroller assaulted at Mayfair Shopping Centre

Hillside Mall has also seen long line ups, both from people and puppies and kitties who were ready to see Mr.Claus. While pet photos wrapped up on Dec. 16, Santa photos for people are still available until Dec. 24, including a quiet-time session on Dec. 22 from 8 to 9:30 a.m. for children who may have different sensory needs.

The Bay Centre has seen a steady increase since last year, said general manager Darlene Hollstein. The month of November saw a five per cent increase while the official holiday kickoff, Black Friday, saw a 12 per cent increase over 2018.

“The first weekend into December was very strong as well, though it’s too early for final numbers since now we’re heading to the busiest weekend of the year,” Hollstein said.

Dec. 23 is typically the busiest shopping day of the year, though with this year’s falling on a Monday it’s uncertain how things will go.

ALSO READ: Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

“That’s always the time where it’s not so much about the magic of the year, and more about deadlines,” Hollstein said. “That’s why we installed a really beautiful holiday display on the ground floor to encourage people to slow down and enjoy themselves.”

Hollstein added that while some people shop online, many others still enjoy the instant gratification of having something in hand and knowing it’s right.

“Plus a lot of people are more focused on a new trend of sustainability, and thinking about how they are getting those products.”

All of this means that buyers should beware of the hectic nature of the next few days, and to schedule some extra time for shopping.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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