Buffalo region poised for “hot” summer shopping

June 11, 2012 by  

Buffalo merchants are applauding their neighbor to the north and with good reason.

On June 1st, Canadians that stay in the U.S. for more than 24 hours can bring home $200 in merchandise duty-free, a significant increase over the current limit of $50 but that’s not all. A visit of 48 hours or more and the limit goes to $800 without paying the added tax. The past rule allowed $400 after a week-long stay and $750 for longer visits.

Mary Whelan, General Manager of Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls, noted that Canadian customers were excited about the duty-free changes. Her sentiments were echoed by Patricia Fournier, a regular shopper from Ontario. Asked if the higher limits would make a difference in her buying habits, Ms. Fournier laughed and said: “Yes, of course!” She already comes to the Buffalo area a couple times a month to shop and will start extending her visit once the increases are in effect.

Clothing and shoe purchases in the States are easier on the Canadian pocketbook by roughly 14%, according to a report issued by BMO Capital Markets. For Lisette Klimek, of St. Catherines, style is also a draw. “You have to come here to get the variety.”

Thanks to Canada’s tariff reforms, the Buffalo area is poised for a shopping boon. Other businesses are also eager for the increase in cross-border customers. For instance, local print companies supporting merchants with services such as poster printing can expect an up-tick in orders as shopping demand grows.

There’s no doubt the changes in Canada’s policies are a welcome, economic development for the Buffalo region, much like a cool, Canadian breeze on a hot summer day.