Shoppers cash-strapped, cranky this season

Canadians are in a bearish mood this holiday season, and will shop primarily in stores where they feel they can get the greatest value for their money, according to a survey released Monday by Toronto-based Maritz Research Canada. 

RONA recognized as energy conservation leader
RONA Inc., a Canadian retailer and distributor of hardware, renovation and gardening products, has been awarded the Certificate of Recognition for Energy Conservation in Ontario by the Chief Energy Conservation Officer, recognizing RONA’s commitment and concrete actions in promoting energy conservation in Ontario.

More schools cultivate learning in student vegetable gardens
The eight-year-old girls peer through the leaves of basil, green bean and cucumber plants, searching for peppers that still need to be picked. The project is part of a larger movement sweeping the continent as schools use gardening to teach students about nature and perhaps more important about healthy food.

Name your best-selling product
It's already mid-November and the Christmas jingles have hit shopping malls. In just six short weeks, 2009 will upon us. Now's the perfect time to reflect on the 2008 selling year. How have sales gone at your garden centre? What's been your best selling product? Are you noticing any surprising new trends with your customers? Share your thoughts on our blog.

Retailers adjusting return policies in down economy
As retailers get a handle on return fraud, many are softening return policies this holiday season as a way to provide good customer service. More than half of retailers (52%) say their holiday return policies will be more lenient than the policy for the rest of the year.

Canadian Tire unveils new 'Smart' store concept

Two fundamentally different Canadian Tire stores are now open in Welland, Ont. and Orleans, Ont. These two stores are the first of Canadian Tire's latest store format - the Smart store - and feature significant changes to the Canadian Tire format.

Will that be cash or cellphone?
Next spring, the Royal Bank of Canada, Visa and Rogers Wireless Inc. are launching a mobile payments pilot in downtown Toronto to examine how consumers will use technology that lets them wave a cellphone at a cashier rather than opening their purse or wallet. 

Canada's first ever Red Day just two weeks away
Canada's first pre-holidays sale day is just two weeks away. Friday, November 28 has been designated "Red Day" in Canada to mirror the U.S. Thanksgiving weekend sales that lure many Canadians south of the border for the bargains.

Retail holiday season to ring a little less loudly: Ernst & Young
Despite a challenging economy, slumping consumer confidence and negative headlines, Canadian retailers will still see a steady flow of customers this holiday season. But those customers will be picking up more modest gifts than in previous years, Ernst & Young says.
What hot items you should offer your customers.   Nothing feels better than watching an item fly off your shelves. It’s great to see your spidey senses rewarded for just knowing that something’s going to be a winner. With the new buying season upon us, it’s natural to start wondering what the next “best thing since sliced bread” will be.
At the recent International Garden Centre Association Congress in Vancouver, our West Coast garden centres played host to some of the finest garden centres in the world. It was quite an experience. As part of the Congress, we visited garden stores in the Lower Mainland, the Fraser Valley and on Vancouver Island.

Scotiabank launches one-stop web site for small business owners
Scotiabank has launched a one-stop web site to help time-strapped small business owners access valuable interactive business-building resources and tools, ask for expert advice and network.
In a perfect world, every garden centre would sell-out their entire inventory in a timely fashion and with a good profit margin. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world and given the slowing economy we need to be more diligent than ever with the ebb and flow of the products we deal with.
Chances are you already have that list in the back of your head – actions or tasks you know will improve your business, but things you just don’t have time to do right now. Now that the summer season is over it’s time to stop making excuses.
Everybody, it seems, has gotten into the Christmas décor market in recent years. Department stores, the traditional sellers of festive ornaments and decorations, have been joined by competitors in the form of hardware stores, home wares and décor retailers, and others.

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