Black Friday is the official kick off to the Christmas shopping season in the United States and the tradition has been adopted by Canadians but are the deals really as good as they seem?

Many malls and retail outlets in and around the city held Black Friday sales and shoppers were out searching for deals despite the slow economy.

Some stores offered customers up to 60 percent off and many mall parking lots were packed by mid-morning.

“Get here early, get out early,” said Shauna Madsen. “You kind of get the deals before Christmas whereas Boxing Day you find that they’ve boosted the prices just to give them basically the same as what they were before so.”

“We had to take advantage of it,” said Brooklyn Koenning.

“People think that the sales are better than they are so they just splurge and buy everything,” said Alex McAteer.

Chris Sutton works at BestBuy and says his store is seeing about the same number of people as last year.

“We had a lineup outside this morning of excited shoppers wanting to come in to take advantage of some Black Friday sales, lots of great electronics going out today,” he said.  “Regardless of the economy, you know, it’s the Christmas holiday season and everybody wants consumer electronics.

Last year, Alberta had the biggest jump in spending over other parts of the country at 15 percent but experts don’t expect to see the same spending pattern this year because of the economy.

"We’re not going to be spending as much money as last year,” said Mohammed El Hazzouri, Assistant professor of Marketing at Mount Royal University. “Even people who have jobs already, they might be worried that they might not have a job next year or in a few months and so on, so what happens there is, I would keep my money just in case and I would buy only necessities so people are still going to go out shopping but it would be more things that they need rather than just shopping for the sake of it simply because there is a sale.” 

El Hazzouri says Canadian retailers aren’t feeling as much pressure to compete with stores across the border now that the dollar is below par.

“Now it’s not really worth it anymore,” he said. “Retailers were under pressure when we were at par that Canadians are going cross border shopping, now they’re not, so that means that maybe the sales will not be as aggressive because we’re not scared that our consumers will go down to the U.S.”

According to financial tracking information, on average, Canadians spend about 25 percent more on Black Friday than they do on Boxing Day.