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Most retailers ready for penny phase-out


January 31, 2013
By Canadian Garden Centre & Nursery

Jan. 31, 2013, Toronto — The majority of Canada's retail businesses are prepared for the disappearance of the penny and intend to use the federal government's proposed rounding guidelines when it begins, according to a survey of retailers.

"On Feb. 4, most of Canada's retailers will be ready at the cash
register to handle the phase out of the penny phase-out," said Diane J.
Brisebois, president and CEO of the Retail Council of Canada (RCC).
"While we have been supportive of this initiative all along, we are
grateful that the government delayed implementing the changes until this
point, as retailers have needed the extra time to prepare."

Brisebois
went on to say that these changes are voluntary and that she expects
retailers' decisions will be focused on doing what is best for their
customers. While it seems that the majority will follow the federal
government's proposal, many will continue to make exact change until the
supply of pennies runs out. Others will choose to employ other
approaches to providing change to their customers. She also noted that
rounding only affects cash transactions and does not affect electronic
forms of payment such as credit and debit transactions.

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The
Canadian Mint stopped producing pennies in the spring of 2012. RCC
advocated for the phase-out of the penny to be delayed until after the
busy holiday season, and the government agreed. On Feb. 4, the Mint will
stop circulating pennies to financial institutions and will also be
encouraging them to send back any pennies that they have on hand.

RCC
surveyed its members as to: their readiness for the phase-out of the
penny; the approach they intend to use for rounding; and the potential
costs to their business. The survey found that 55 per cent of retailers
are prepared for the phase-out. It also found that 74 per cent of small
retail businesses and 75 per cent of medium businesses will round
manually at the cash register. However, 63 per cent of large businesses
will be changing their point of sale systems. It could cost them more
than $100,000 to do so.

"While smaller businesses will do the
rounding manually at first and then determine the appropriate course of
action, both in relation to cost and customer service, it is not a
practical approach for large retailers with thousands of employees,"
said Brisebois. "This of course represents a substantial cost for
retailers to enable them to maintain standardization and meet consumers'
needs and expectations."

To answer questions pertaining to the penny phase-out, RCC has created a webpage called "The Penny Stops Here."
It contains a series of frequently asked questions, such as how the
government's proposed rounding policy would work, and useful links for
further information.


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