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Global supply chain crunch may give local vendors a badly needed boost on Black Friday –



This time last year, Winnipeg-based entrepreneur Obby Khan started, an online portal that allows shoppers to browse a variety of products and services from local businesses, bundle them together however they want, and have them delivered to their door.

The initiative has been such a success that he’s taking the concept into the bricks-and-mortar world of retail this season, opening a physical store in Winnipeg’s Exchange District.

“The timing is perfect, just with the Christmas holiday season around the corner,” he said.

Khan’s sales pitch and motivation at launch was simple: People want to support local businesses whenever they can, so let’s make it as easy as possible to do so, at a time when they need it the most.

The nearly $1 million in sales that Khan’s passion project has done since launch was a welcome lifeline to local businesses that needed it. But along the way, Khan says the initiative has uncovered an unexpected secret weapon that local firms had all along — perhaps without knowing it: They buy local, too.

Supply chain issues caused by COVID-19 have walloped the markets for everything from toilet paper to semiconductors and lumber. But Khan says most of the local businesses he works with have managed to stickhandle their way through, because they tend to use locally sourced supplies themselves.

Buying early still encouraged

“The beauty thing about supporting local is that the supply chain isn’t a massive factor for us. A lot of these vendors are getting their products locally. They’re handcrafting them. They’re buying in small quantities,” he said. “Everyone’s talking about supply chain and problems and bringing in products overseas.… We don’t need all of those products.”

Online selling marketplace Etsy, which works predominantly with small businesses to help them sell their products beyond their local markets, has detected the same trend, especially in the lead-up to Black Friday.

“Our sellers are also well positioned during this busy time, when many big box retailers are facing supply chain disruptions, as many of them don’t rely on major manufacturing,” said Dayna Isom Johnson, Etsy’s trend expert.

Because of that, there are still some holiday-season deals to be found, said Johnson, reporting she’s seen discounts of up to 60 per cent from some Etsy vendors.

That’s not to suggest it’s business as usual, however. The site has made its seasonal sales event three days longer this year, she said, “to meet the seasonal buyer demand and encourage shoppers to start their holiday shopping early.”

Mirna Saffouri, with La Vie en Rose, says supply chain issues have forced the retailer to rethink its promotional strategy this holiday season. (Simon Martel/CBC)

Although it considers itself a proud local Canadian business, Montreal-based lingerie chain La Vie en Rose says it has not been immune to the supply-chain crunch that its much larger rivals have felt acutely.

Early on in the pandemic, demand for swimwear plummeted and never really recovered, said Mirna Saffouri, the chain’s vice-president of marketing. But that was offset by an uptick in sales of loungewear, and now the retailer is seeing a surge in bras and lingerie again.

While it’s great to see demand booming, that presents its own set of problems.

“We’re very proud to be a Canadian company and design everything in-house … [but those designs] are produced offshore,” said Saffouri. “We’re having some supply chain challenges as we ramp up to the holidays — as many retailers are.”

As the holiday shopping season gets underway, some retailers are being strategic about their Black Friday sales, due to global supply chain issues. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Typically at this time of year, La Vie en Rose would have already shipped its entire seasonal stock — about 150 containers worth of goods — and it would have arrived by October. But the supply chain crunch is so acute right now that 18 containers haven’t yet arrived, which means the chain has about 12 per cent less to sell right now.

There are no empty shelves yet, but Saffouri said the squeeze means the retailer has definitely changed its selling strategy. Instead of doorcrasher deals for Black Friday, they’re focused on making sure customers have an ample selection of goods to choose from.

“We’ve been less promotional in the last few months, and we’ve been selling a much more regular price as a way to control inventory levels,” she said.

Normally, the chain might roll out additional deals on Cyber Monday, when seasonal promotions move online. But they won’t be doing that this year either, given the constraints on their inventory.

“What we don’t want is people coming here and seeing empty shelves.… If that means selling more at regular price, I think that’s the strategy we’ll employ,” said Saffouri.

Buy local movement has legs

Back in Winnipeg, Khan said he won’t spend much time worrying about empty shelves this weekend, because ensuring sustainability for the long term is what matters to him. He says he’s always hated Black Friday — and the fact it encourages people to spend money on “stuff they don’t need.”

“It’s one day,” he said. “That doesn’t really help these small businesses. … We need to be mindful about these businesses and support them year-round.”

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Oil crashes more than US$10 as new COVID variant roils markets – BNN



Oil prices suffered one of the largest ever one-day plunges, crashing more than 11 per cent on Black Friday as a new coronavirus strain sparked fears that renewed lockdowns will hurt global demand.

The crash, the 7th largest ever for Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, may prompt the OPEC+ cartel to re-consider its policy when it meets next week, with the group increasingly leaning toward pausing its output hikes.

The sell-off was amplified by low liquidity on a festive day in the U.S., the breach of several technical supports and Wall Street banks rushing to dump oil futures to protect themselves against positions in the options market.

The development apparently wrong-footed many in the oil market who had been comforted by low inventory levels and demand that had rebounded to 2019 levels, said Rebecca Babin, senior energy trader at CIBC Private Wealth Management.

“It was a lack of downside that had us continuing to think nothing bad could happen,” she said. “No one was thinking we could get a variant that we’re not familiar with and it could have meaningful impact.”

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The price drop capped a dramatic week for the oil market, which started when U.S. President Joe Biden challenged OPEC+ by tapping the country’s strategic petroleum reserve in an effort to bring gasoline prices down. China, India, Japan and South Korea all joined the American effort.

Oil traders and analysts were divided about whether the flash crash was an excessive reaction to the COVID news. Damien Courvalin, oil analyst at Goldman Sachs in New York, called the drop an “excessive repricing” and ventured OPEC+ will respond pausing its production increases by three months.

High gasoline retail prices prompted U.S. President Joe Biden to seek ways to ease the pressure on consumers, leading to Tuesday’s announcement that the U.S. will release 50 million barrels of crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, with China, Japan, India, South Korea and the U.K. also set to tap inventories. Still, oil rose on the day that the move was confirmed, suggesting traders had already priced in the new supply, or that they were underwhelmed by the supply response.

OPEC+ had warned previously it would reconsider a potential output increase if other nations went ahead with a reserve release. UBS Group AG said Friday that OPEC+ could choose to pause its current planned output hike of 400,000 barrels a day, or even cut production.


  • West Texas Intermediate for January fell US$10.24, or 13.1 per cent, from Wednesday’s close to settle at US$68.15 a barrel in New York. The decline was the largest since April 2020.
  • There was no settlement Thursday due to the Thanksgiving holiday and all transactions will be booked Friday
  • Brent for January settlement tumbled US$9.50 to settle at US$72.72 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange

Friday’s oil selloff was likely exacerbated by a lack of trading activity during the U.S. holiday period, coming a day after Thanksgiving, and as the New York market closed early. 

“It’s a sign the market got carried away from itself and that we still remain very vulnerable to COVID-19,” said John Kilduff, founding partner at Again Capital LLC. 

Aside from the headline prices, crude traders also watched several other notable shifts in the market. WTI crude futures closed below its 200-day and 100-day moving averages, signs of technical weakness. The extreme pressure on the U.S. benchmark meant its discount to Brent expanded, reaching the widest since May 2020. 

The picture wasn’t much brighter in oil-product markets, the part of the oil complex most directly affected by end-user demand. Diesel plunged, particularly in Asia, as the market began to price in a potential renewed hit to economic growth.

“This is a huge overreaction in terms of the market,” Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at consultant Energy Aspects Ltd. said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “This is the market pricing in the worst possible scenarios.”

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Shoppers taking advantage of Black Friday deals in Ottawa – CTV Edmonton



Shoppers rushed to the stores in Ottawa on Black Friday, hoping to get the best deals of the year heading into Christmas. 

Some have even come from other countries for these sales like Elizabeth Elnakla, who is here from Scotland visiting her daughter Reem Almaqla. 

Elnakla is what you might call, a Black Friday newbie. 

“This is my first Black Friday. I’m super excited, it is so busy,” says Elnakla. 

She’s looking to snag all the deals she can before she heads back home in three days.

“Shopping back home, I live in a small town called Dundee and it’s not very large,” says Elnakla. “So the shopping is never crazy. It’s quite quiet.”

Last year, many were stuck doing their Black Friday and Boxing Day shopping online. This year, back to the in-person busyness.

Tanger Outlets

“We missed Black Friday last year,” says Almaqla, who wanted to show her mom what Black Friday was all about. “I just want her to go through this experience. To see what Black Friday is like here.”

Tanger Outlets in Kanata was packed for Black Friday sales all week, but nothing like today. 

“There’s nothing like a good sale, right? We all love the deal,” says shopper Josie Mousseau. “It’s just nice being outside in the fresh air. At least you get a little bit of an escape with your mask. You can take it off occasionally whereas when you’re confined to a mall, you really can’t.”

Monika Mehl describes the amazing deal she got on a Michael Kors purse. 

“I got it for 70 per cent off, and then an additional 15 per cent off. And because everything totalled over $300, I got another 10 per cent off.”

Stores at Tanger opened at 7 a.m. Friday. Maria Argyriou left Montreal at 5 a.m. to make sure she got here on time. 

“We went to all the sports stores and they’re all basically 50 per cent off,” says Argyriou.

Montreal is known for its shopping, but she wanted to try her luck in Ottawa.  

“There’s a lot of people [in Montreal]. Here there’s less people, and we can get better deals,” says Argyriou.

With lineups at dozens of stores, shoppers stood in line for up to 30 minutes, braving the rain and cold to get deals only available once a year.

All day, bags of items flew off the shelves. And with supply chain issues this year, many of these shoppers know that once it’s gone, it’s gone.

“So you better get your shopping done honey,” laughs Mousseau.

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N.B. COVID-19 roundup: First children get pediatric COVID vaccine, outbreaks at Saint John hospital –



Ninety-nine new cases of COVID-19 were reported Thursday as the province began vaccinating children five to 11 years old to try to slow the spread of the virus.

In Fredericton, brothers Max and Luc Corman were the first to receive their first doses of the pediatric vaccine.  

About 9,300 children have appointments booked to get vaccinated, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard told reporters at the legislature Friday morning.  

“I am heartened that so many young New Brunswickers have received their first dose of vaccine and that even more have appointments to do so in the coming weeks,” Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said in a statement. 

To meet the demand for vaccinations, new clinics have been added in the Moncton and Fredericton region, the province said. 

More than 130 pharmacies will also take part in dispensing doses of the vaccine for children, receiving shipments between Dec. 2 and Dec. 8, the province added.

More information is expected soon on when appointments at the pharmacies will become available.

Horizon Health Network has declared COVID-19 outbreaks in two units of Saint John Regional Hospital. (CBC News file photo)

Outbreaks declared at Saint John Regional Hospital

COVID-19 outbreaks have been declared in two units at the Saint John Regional Hospital, Horizon Health Network said in a news release Friday evening.

Outbreaks were declared in the orthopedic surgery (3CS) and internal medicine (4CN) units after a patient on each unit tested positive for COVID-19, communications advisor Kris McDavid said in the release.

He noted Horizon has implemented “comprehensive infection prevention and control precautions” as well as contact tracing to protect the health of patients and staff.

“Patient and staff in affected units are being tested,” McDavid said. “So far, no further cases have been identified. Inpatients are being screened for COVID-19 symptoms … every 12 hours.”

There will be no patient admissions or transfers to and from these units during this time and the Designated Support Person (DSP) program will be temporarily suspended on these units.

Surgeries, labour and birth services, ambulatory care and professional services appointments will continue, McDavid said in the release. 

787 active cases across province

Along with the 99 new cases of COVID on Friday, Public health reported 55 more recoveries, putting the province’s active case count at 787, up from 743.

Fifty-six people are in hospital with COVID-19, including 18 in intensive care, according to the daily news release. 

The one person under 19 who has hospitalized because of COVID-19 Thursday is no longer in hospital. 

A total of 87.8 per cent of New Brunswickers aged 12 or older are now fully vaccinated, up from 87.7 per cent, and 93.5 per cent have received their first dose, unchanged from the last update. 

New Brunswick has had 8,087 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, including 7,176 recoveries and 123 COVID-related deaths.

Moncton region still leading in new cases

(CBC News)

The new cases break down this way:

Moncton region, Zone 1 — 48 cases:

  • 19 people 19 and under
  • Seven people 20 to 29
  • 10 people 30 to 39
  • Three people 40 to 49
  • Five people 50 to 59
  • Two people 60 to 69
  • Two people 70 to 79

Thirty-one  are under investigation and 17 are the contacts of previously confirmed cases.

Saint John region, Zone 2 — 23 cases:

  • Seven people 19 and under
  • Three people 20 to 29
  • Five people 30 to 39
  • Two people 40 to 49
  • Three people 50 to 59
  • Two people 60 to 69
  • A person 70 to 79

Twelve cases are the contacts of previously confirmed cases and 11 are under investigation.

Fredericton region, Zone 3 — 15 cases:

  • Three people 19 and under
  • Three people 20 to 29
  • A person 30 to 39
  • Four people 40 to 49
  • Three 50 to 59
  • A person 60 to 69

Eight cases are under investigation and seven are the contacts of previously confirmed cases.

Campbellton region, Zone 5 — two cases:

  • A person 20 to 29
  • A person 50 to 59

Both remain under investigation.

Bathurst region, Zone 6 — three cases:

  • A person 19 and under
  • A person 40 to 49
  • A person 50 to 59

Two cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases and one is travel-related.

Miramichi region, Zone 7 — eight cases:

  • Five people 19 and under
  • A person 30 to 39
  • Two people 50 to 59.

Two cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases and six are under investigation.

More cases at the Moncton Hospital

A total of 23 patients and five staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Moncton Hospital as of Friday, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard says. 

“All the patients effected are being tested again today and staff will be tested early next week,” she said. 

On Wednesday, the cases at the hospital totalled 20, including three in intensive care.

7 schools currently affected 

Nine new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at seven schools, the COVID-19 dashboard shows.

Thirty-six schools are currently impacted.

Three schools joined the list Thursday, including Millerton Elementary and Junior High School in the Miramichi region, and Centennial School and Bayview School in the Saint John region.

The four other schools with active cases are Gretna Green School in the Miramichi region, École Le Sommet in the Monction region, Devon Middle School in the Frederiction region, and Forest Hills School in the Saint John region. 

A total of 495 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at 141 schools since the beginning of the school year.

A case has also been confirmed at the Boys & Girls Club of Saint John After School in the Saint John region. 

New cases have also been confirmed at a several previously impacted facilities including Origins Natural Learning Centre in the Saint John region, Spring Roots Early Learning and Childcare Centre inthe Fredericton region, Northend Learning Center and Causerie Amicale in the Moncton region.

“If you or a family member have been in close contact with a case, you will be notified by Public Health or the facility for contact tracing,” Public Health said. “If you are not notified directly, you have not been identified as a close contact.”

A total of 90 early learning child-care centres have had confirmed cases of COVID-19 since Sept. 7

New public exposure notices

Public Health shared new public exposure notices on Friday:

Saint John region, Zone 2:

  • Nove. 23 between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. – Giant Tiger (100 Prince Edward St., Saint John)
  • Nov. 20 between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. – Brilliant Smoke Shop (122 Lansdowne Ave., Saint John)
  • Nov. 20 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. – JJ’s Diner (216 Roachville Rd., Sussex)
  • Nov. 18 and 19 between 2 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. – Brilliant Smoke Shop (122 Lansdowne Ave., Saint John)
  • Nov. 13 between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. – Vito’s (324 Rothesay Ave., Saint John)

Acadie-Bathurst region, Zone 6:

  • Nov. 23 between 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. – Atlantic Superstore (3455 Main St., Tracadie-Sheila)

Nov. 14 between 6 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. – Knights of Columbus (4293 Beauregard St., Tracadie-Sheila

For the full list of new and previous public exposure notices, please visit the provincial government’s website.

People who have not been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to a possible exposure and who have symptoms should get a COVID lab test. They can book an appointment online or call Tele-Care 811 and must isolate while waiting for their test result.

People who are not fully vaccinated and do not have symptoms are now being instructed to pick up an At-Home COVID-19 Rapid Point of Care Test (Rapid POCT) screening kit. They do not need to isolate if they have not been directed by Public Health to do so.

All positive point-of-care test results must be confirmed with a laboratory polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test.

It can take up to 14 days to test positive after being exposed to COVID-19, so even if results come back negative, people should continue to self-monitor for any symptoms and get tested immediately if any develop.

They should also avoid visiting settings with vulnerable populations, such as nursing homes, correctional facilities and shelters during that 14-day period.

For people who have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to a possible exposure, Public Health recommends they monitor for symptoms for 14 days after the possible exposure and get a COVID lab test if symptoms develop.

They do not need to isolate while they wait for their test results.

If they do not have symptoms, they can pick up a rapid test kit and do not need to isolate.

What to do if you have a symptom

People concerned they might have COVID-19 can take a self-assessment test online.

Public Health says symptoms of the illness have included a fever above 38 C, a new or worsening cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, a new onset of fatigue, and difficulty breathing.

In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.

People with one of those symptoms should stay at home, call 811 or their doctor and follow instructions.

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