Retail Council of Canada's Holiday Shopping Survival Tips

TORONTO, Dec. 14 /CNW/ - As the 2010 holiday shopping season kicks into high-gear, so too can your stress level. To make sure you leave stores and malls with a smile on your face and your gift list crossed-off, follow just a few easy steps to make your holiday shopping experience safe, productive and stress-free.

Set a budget. While the holidays are a time to give, you don't want to overspend. To stay on track, compile a list of recipients, determine what you want to buy, and set a budget (per gift or for the total holiday season). This way, you'll be in control of your finances and won't be afraid to open your mail in the New Year.

Don't procrastinate. While sales and discounted prices are available throughout the season, keep in mind that waiting for the best deal may mean the product you are planning to buy may not be available when you decide to make the purchase. Shop wisely, but keep in mind that many retailers carry less and less overstock - thus, the products on sale may disappear faster than you think.

Remain alert. Never leave your purse or wallet unattended. Also, make sure your debit and credit cards are accounted for after each use and that you keep a copy of your transaction. Finally, when using your debit card or credit card, remember to protect your PIN - make sure no one is looking over your shoulder as you enter your number.

Play it safe. Make a note of where you parked your car. Also, make sure you lock the doors and place all parcels and other valuables in the trunk or out of site. Finally, park your car in a well-lit area and, if shopping late, use the buddy system.

Ask before you buy. To avoid undue hassle after the holidays, find out what the store's return/exchange policy is before you make a purchase. Also, find out whether there is a time limit for refunds and exchanges and when the merchant will accept returns/exchanges following the holidays. Also, don't forget to keep your receipts.

Consider gift-wrapping. If the thought of wrapping gifts sends shivers up your spine, why not have someone else do the work? Many stores and malls offer gift-wrapping services and some even donate the proceeds to a worthwhile charity.

Take breaks. Holiday shopping doesn't have to be exhausting. If you're feeling tired or overwhelmed, take a break, have a drink and a snack, and then return to the stores for round two.

Buy yourself a treat...or two. If you feel you need a break from buying gifts for others, why not treat yourself to a gift or two? Now that's the perfect way to ward off any holiday stress!

Run out of ideas? When you just can't seem to find that perfect present, remember that gift cards are always a great option.

Dress for comfort. It may be cold outside, but it can get incredibly hot in those check-out lines. If possible, wear a lightweight jacket that you can throw in a bag, tie around your waist or easily carry.

About Retail Council of Canada
Retail Council of Canada (RCC) has been the Voice of Retail in Canada since 1963. We speak for an industry that touches the daily lives of Canadians in every corner of the country — by providing jobs, career opportunities, and by investing in the communities we serve. RCC is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association representing more than 40,000 store fronts of all retail formats across Canada, including department, specialty, discount, and independent stores, and online merchants. RCC is a strong advocate for retailing in Canada and works with all levels of government and other stakeholders to support employment growth and career opportunities in retail, to promote and sustain retail investments in communities from coast-to-coast, and to enhance consumer choice and industry competitiveness. RCC also provides its members with a full range of services and programs including education and training, benchmarking and best practices, networking, advocacy, and industry information.

SOURCE Retail Council of Canada

For further information: For further information:

Mark Beazley, Director, Communications,

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