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Canadian Push 8-21-15

Canadian Retailers Increasingly Facing Stronger Headwinds - Retail Sales Growth Slows - Amazon Takes A $1B Bite  U.S. and international retailers have sharply escalated the pace of new store openings in Canada over the past five years, with many seeing Canada as an engine to fuel top-line growth. The Canadian retail market has experienced slower growth in 2015, however, largely due to a softer Canadian economy. While both luxury and value retailers are seeing continued growth, a number of 'middle-market' retailers that are failing to differentiate themselves are struggling and in some cases, shuttering.

Retail Council of Canada numbers indicate that the annual rate of Canadian retail top-line growth for the year to July 2015 was only 1.7%, compared with 4.6% and 4.3% in the corresponding two prior years.

There are two 'silver linings', however - cross-border shopping trips to the U.S. are estimated to have decreased by 25%, resulting in the repatriation of those retail sales to merchants in Canada. Canadian will save $1,500 annually as a result of the reduction in retail gas prices, resulting in an additional $15-20 billion in the hands of Canadian consumers.

In addition to the above macro-economic headwinds being faced by retailers operating in Canada, the significant increase in competition both from new entrants into the Canadian market as well as from e-commerce pure-plays (it has been estimated by some that Amazon's Canadian business is now over $1 billion) is impacting the overall market share for incumbent retailers as a group.

Amazon's corporate culture raises questions about Canadian similarities
The excesses of's hard-driving corporate culture made headlines this week, raising questions about whether similar problems are possible at Canadian companies. Parker said a company based in Canada with a similar mission would likely demand the same of its employees.

"Amazon knows who they are," he said. "They're trying to take over the world and they recruit people based on that." That type of extreme workplace environment is often seen in high-volume, low-margin industries like retail, where efficiency is paramount. The biggest problems arise, Parker added, when managers down the line from Bezos do their best to implement their own interpretations of his uncompromising vision for productivity. They're going to be representing that culture every day and some of them are just going to take it way too far," he said.

"The idea that employees should be radically flexible, always on call, always serving the customer, and sacrificing themselves to help the company is something we find all over the world," he said.

Yet Steven Murphy, dean of Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management, said it's less likely for a Canadian company to drive its workers as hard as Amazon allegedly does. "A lot of U.S. corporations, and especially tech, ride that balance between dedication and a level of commitment that we may not see in Canadian organizations," he said.

"Canada remains one of the most favourable markets in the world for supermarkets," Loblaw & Metro Continue to Grow  Canadian consumers are spending more on food, and competition among supermarkets has settled down after several years of intense competition, according to CIBC World Markets analyst Perry Caicco. "It now looks like the glory days will extend into 2016, and possibly beyond," said Caicco, who upgraded his outlook on Loblaw Cos. and Metro.

Jeweller Michael Hill plans to almost double its Canadian store count
With 60 stores and eight new ones this year, they plan on opening six in 2016 and six in 2017. Plan on 110.

Sears to close Seaway Mall, Welland location - affecting 55 employees

Toronto's high-end grocer Pusateri's will rebuild flagship after last weekend's fire Saturday night

Retail Fast Facts: July 2015 

● Total monthly retail sales changed by 1.2 per cent over the comparable month last year. 
● Total sales excluding food, automotive and gasoline changed by 3.8 per cent over the comparable month last year. Read more


Keynote Session:

The Boston Bombing!
Leadership Lessons From the Hero Who Saved the Day

Sep. 16th - The International Centre


As the Superintendent-in-Chief of the Boston Police Department, Dan Linskey was thrust into managing one of the largest law enforcement operations in history. In this compelling talk on leadership and emergency response planning, Chief Linskey will share how he transformed his intense emotional response into the coolest, most calm he's ever been, the importance of specificity of training, why it's important to maintain a team of "Evil Geniuses," why you should never have a "not my job" mentality, and why too much help can be a bad thing. This is a half hour lesson in leadership that every LP professional should hear, regardless of the size and scope of the incident you will be called to lead.

See full agenda here.    Register here.



Two arrested after TVs, electronic equipment stolen from Canadian Tire in Stephenville  RCMP on the west coast have busted a man and a woman who got away with thousands of dollars in merchandise from stores in the Stephenville area. But as VOCM's Brian Madore reports, the woman didn't exactly surrender peacefully. They got a call during the supper hour yesterday about a possible theft in progress at the Canadian Tire store on Prince Rupert Drive, and later arrested a 28-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman outside the apartment belonging to the woman, less than 1/2 a kilometre from the store. Police also recovered several flat screen TV's and other electronic devices which were later found to have been stolen from Canadian Tire earlier in the day. RCMP then got a search warrant for the woman's apartment and recovered additional items from Canadian Tire and other stores in the area.

Sobeys shoplifting suspect arrested in Cow Bay after RCMP release photo
Nova Scotia RCMP have arrested a woman wanted for assaulting a staff member at Sobeys in Cole Harbour in June. When the Sobeys staff confronted the woman about shoplifting on June 19, police say she assaulted a staff member and fled the store with merchandise. On Tuesday, police released a photo of the woman taken from a surveillance camera. And during the evening, RCMP and Halifax Regional Police were investigating another case in Cow Bay when an Halifax Regional Police officer recognized the woman. The officer arrested her and she was handed over to RCMP. The 42-year-old woman faces charges of assault and theft under $5,000.

Bonnyville RCMP searching for liquor store thieves
Bonnyville RCMP is requesting the public's assistance in helping to identify four male suspects who broke into several stores in town early Monday morning. According to a police report the suspects used an axe to break through windows and security doors at the Bonnyville Liquor Store and Liquor Depot before stealing a large quantity of liquor. All four suspects were able to somewhat conceal their faces from security cameras.

Attempted Armed Robbery in Torbay thwarted by c-store staff

Kelowna RCMP Warn About Credit Card Skimmers at Fuel Pumps

Canadian Push 8-21-15
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