The lead-up to Christmas can be a busy time in retail but this year, it’s coming with extra challenges for some stores, as postal workers continue rotating strikes.
While many stores don’t rely on Canada Post for delivers, those Okanagan retailers who provide online shopping and use the post to help stock their store shelves are feeling the impact of the ongoing Canada Post labour dispute.
Canada Post said the strike action has caused a backlog and delivery delays.
For one Vernon knitting shop, that backlog is translating into online orders that haven’t yet arrived.
Owner Camella Making said she is getting emails from customers asking where their packages are.
“We are getting down to the crunch. Especially the knitting crunch when people are wanting to get those projects finished well in advance of Christmas,” Making said.
The shipping uncertainty means many of her online customers haven’t been ordering in the last two weeks.
“It has dropped off probably about 90 per cent,” Making said.
“A lot of what we service are places that are more rural… so I think those people are really especially feeling the pinch.”
For some retailers, the strike has also meant delays on product deliveries.
“They are a little bit late right now so with Christmas coming up, it is a little bit frustrating,” said Nicole Chu, who owns a children’s clothing store in downtown Vernon.
“A lot of the brands I carry are local within the Okanagan so for me, I can just drive to pick them up so that’s been really helpful as well.”
Others are skipping Canada Post and dealing with the extra cost of bringing products in by courier.
“I’m waiting for cheques in the mail, so I don’t know when that’s going to come,” said Nadine Wilson who owns an art supply store in Vernon.
Retailers can only hope the postal headache will tempt Canadians to buy in-store this holiday season instead of online.