Canadians prefer status quo on shopping hours

June 23, 2010
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June 23, 2010 – Store hours in Canada are regulated by each province with restrictions on both hours and days of operation. But in an ever increasing 24/7 society, are store-hour restrictions still desirable?  To help answer this question a special consumer study was conducted for the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) by Acrobat Research.

In this special consumer study, Canadian households were surveyed to view this issue from two sides—as consumers and as employees—in order to assess whether store-hour restrictions should be eliminated throughout Canada. When asked from the standpoint of the consumer, nearly 60 per cent (57.9%) of households were opposed to lifting store-hour restrictions. The one exception to this was for households with incomes of over $100,000 dollars, which narrowly (50.9%) preferred to remove all legal store-hour restrictions so as to provide more convenient opportunities to shop. Homemakers were the least supportive of lifting the store-hour restrictions, with 67.9 per cent of this group opposed. 

From the perspective of employees, households were asked whether they would welcome retailers opening on holidays and/or having extended store hours. The majority (64.4%), which was a slightly larger percentage than from the consumer perspective, felt that they would not welcome this change since it would be viewed as having negative social and family implications. There was a significant—though still negative—difference among men (54.5%) and women (73.2%) on this point. Generally, the larger the community size the greater the acceptance of the removal of the store-hour restrictions. Indeed, in communities with populations over one million residents, 55.6 per cent of those surveyed favored the removal of the restrictions and saw more opportunity for work and flexible shopping hours.

“This special survey suggests that Canadians are not yet ready for longer retail store hours, relative to their regional norms,” noted Jean Lambert, ICSC director of industry research.  “Surprisingly, the ICSC survey also found that younger households tended to be even more opposed to longer working hours in the retail industry than older workers, with 69.4 per cent of households that were headed by someone aged 18-29 years sharing that view compared with 62.8 per cent for those aged 30-49 years and 63.4 per cent for those aged 50 years and older. But as social norms evolve, ICSC will continue to monitor this important issue,” Lambert added.

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