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Canadian Push 3-9-12


2012 Archives

Canada's "socially progressive national newspaper" - The Canadian takes a swipe at Nordstrom and all "cheap sizzle U.S. retailers." Focusing in on Nordstrom's attempt to open their first Canadian store in Ottawa's Rideau Center the writer brings up an old class action suit where the Seattle Times reported "Nordstrom did not pay workers for time they spent working off-the-clock, or on their own time, performing such extra tasks as writing thank-you notes to customers, delivering merchandise and stocking shelves." Which resulted in a class action suit. Then he reports "Since that time, Nordstrom has campaigned to change its image, but does "the leopard change its spots" that easily? "Are we as Canadians sacrificing our labour standards and whole quality-of-life for the cheap sizzle that U.S. retailers present us with. What is the state of our national conscience as Canadians who are committed to human rights, if we put up with such U.S. transnational enterprises coming into Canada, without any regard to their labour and human rights practices? Aren’t we also obliged to protect Canadian small business who are the backbone of our economy from potential predatory commercial practices? Such practices end up creating mass-layoffs and socio-economic disenfranchisement. " And he goes on with - "Nordstrom joins Target, Victoria's Secret, Kohls and Marshalls in the American retail invasion of Canada. The American retail invasion by multi-billion dollar retailers are pursuing the destruction of Canadian labour laws. These retailers want our Canadian labour laws to become as watered-down as labour laws in the United States." (Source

Editors note - This is an incredibly important column to read as it does reflect some of the sentiment about the U.S. "invasion" and we as retailers, as executives, and as U.S. citizens need to understand that indeed this is another country and we're just not crossing the street and going thru some border check. We're entering another country that indeed has different laws and regulations that we need to be sensitive to in order to be successful and in order to help our individual businesses grow.

The Canadian grocery landscape is changing as fast as the U.S. and maybe even faster once Target enters the market. Wal-Mart's entry in 1994 has gained them 5.9% of the market and once they've converted the rest of their 300 stores to supercenters they could control 10% and with Target's 130 coming in 2013 there's going to be pressure. So far their three grocery chains, Loblaw, Sobye's and Metro, have staged "vigorous price-reduction" campaigns and "price re-set's" over the last 5 years. Where this goes no one knows but one thing is sure - they'll be a battle and some stores will lose. And with the sentiment mentioned above any U.S. retailer better be prepared and we'll see this same battle in other retail channels. (Source

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