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Retail trade results and outlook for 2009: CQCD


March 6, 2009
By Retail Council of Quebec

March 6, 2009 – The Conseil québécois du commerce de détail (CQCD)/Retail Council of Quebec presents the results and conclusions of its annual study on the status of the retail industry and consumer spending in Quebec and Canada for the year 2008 and the outlook for 2009.

The Conseil québécois du commerce de détail (CQCD)/Retail Council of Quebec presents the results and conclusions of its annual study on the status of the retail industry and consumer spending in Quebec and Canada for the year 2008 and the outlook for 2009. This study was conducted with the cooperation of Altus Géocom.

Results for 2008

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Retail sales in both Quebec and Canada grew in 2008 for the thirteenth consecutive year. In 2008, retail sales in Quebec increased by 4.7per cent, to $94.7 billion. In Canada, sales increased by 3.4per cent, to $426.2 billion.

In Quebec, seven retail sub-sectors grew by more than the average of 4.7 per cent: they are service stations (12.7 per cent), computer and software stores (8.4 per cent), electronic products and appliances (7.9 per cent), household accessories stores
(7.2 per cent), food stores (5.9 per cent), general merchandise stores (5.3 per cent) and hardware stores (5.0per cent).

On the other hand, seven sub-sectors experienced below-average growth: they are pharmacies (2.7 per cent), furniture stores (1.9 per cent), automobiles (1.4 per cent), clothing stores (1.3 per cent) and sports, music and book stores (1.3 per cent). Only the footwear sector saw negative growth (-1 per cent).

The retail sector experienced respectable growth in sales, in both Quebec and Canada, although the increase was greater in Quebec (4.7 per cent) than in Canada (3.4 per cent).

Personal disposable income increased from $24,505 in 2007 to $25,560 in 2008 in Quebec. The personal disposable income of Canadians was $28,511 in 2008. The gap in disposable income between Quebec and Canada grew to -10.4 per cent, from -9.2 per cent in 2007.

Outlook for 2009

According to the experts, the Canadian and Quebec economies are currently in recession. However, this decline could be of lesser magnitude and of limited duration in Quebec. The various programs that have been or will soon be put in place by governments should stimulate our economy and allow us to weather the crisis without too much damage.

The positive factors influencing consumer behaviour and spending will include stimulation resulting from low interest rates, a relatively low inflation rate, the tax measures provided in our governments' budgets and a slight increase in personal disposable income; however, these will be offset in part by anemic job creation and a rising unemployment rate.

Given the current uncertain climate, consumers might adjust the use of their discretionary income, allocating more to savings to the detriment of consumption.
The current economic situation remains uncertain and will affect consumer spending. While retail sales are expected to be weaker than last year, the CQCD anticipates negligible growth (1per cent) in 2009.

The complete results of the study are available at: http://www.cqcd.org/pdf-2009/bilan_perspective_2009.pdf


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