Quebecers' shopping habits and intentions in 2009 - Quebecers intend to spend with care



    MONTREAL, April 6 /CNW Telbec/ - The Conseil québécois du commerce de
détail (CQCD)/Retail Council of Quebec today released the results of a survey
conducted by Altus Géocom on Quebec consumers' spending intentions for the
next 12 months.

    - Quebec households' perception of their financial situation

    The last 12 months

    According to the survey, 74% of Quebec households see their financial
situation as having improved or remained stable over the last 12 months. This
figure compares with 84% in March 2008.
    The other 26% of households reported a deterioration in their financial
situation over the last 12 months. Among the reasons mentioned were the rise
in the cost of living (43%), a deterioration in working conditions (21%), a
drop in the value of their investments (18% vs. 3% in 2008) and job loss
(14%).
    It is interesting to note the increased importance placed on the decline
in the value of investments as a cause for the worsening of households'
financial situation over the past year.

    The next 12 months

    Quebec households remain relatively optimistic with regard to their
financial situation for the next 12 months; in fact, 75% (vs. 84% in 2008)
expect their financial situation to either remain the same (56%) or improve
(19%).
    On the other hand, 17% of households expect their financial situation to
worsen, with the majority of them (49% vs. 69% in 2008) indicating an increase
in the cost of living as the cause of this deterioration. Other reasons
mentioned include a deterioration in working conditions (25% vs. 15% in 2008),
a drop in the value of their investments (10%) and fear of job loss (10%).

    - Quebec's financial situation

    Quebecers are much more pessimistic concerning Quebec's financial
situation for the next 12 months; in fact, 62% expect it to deteriorate. This
is a significantly higher proportion than last year, when 37% of Quebecers
were pessimistic in this regard.
    "We can conclude that, in general, Quebecers are less optimistic than
they were last year about Quebec's financial future but their confidence in
their personal financial situation has not been shaken to the same extent,"
notes the CQCD's president Me Gaston Lafleur.

    - Spending intentions

    Purchases

    The survey reveals that 24% (vs. 27% in 2008) of households plan to make
a major purchase in the next 12 months. The situation is stable.
    Once again, automobiles top the list of big-ticket purchases planned (10%
of households); they are followed by household appliances, furniture,
household articles, and computer equipment, at 4% each.
    With regard to everyday purchases, Quebecers expect to spend less in the
coming months.

    - Altus Géocom - CQCD confidence index: down slightly

    The Altus Géocom - CQCD's Quebec consumer confidence index was at 81.4 in
March 2009, compared with 95.6 in March 2008. The drop in the Quebec consumer
confidence index is explained largely by the prevailing uncertainty with
regard to the strength of our economy and how it is being affected by the
weakening US economy.
    On the other hand, when this result is compared with the lowest level
previously observed for this index, 86.6 in September 2005, the gap is only
5.2 points. It is important to remember that, at that time, Quebecers had seen
a major increase in energy costs, with a significant rise in gas prices at the
pump.
    "The current situation and Quebec households' forecasts allow the CQCD to
conclude that Quebecers will be cautious in their spending, in the present
context, this situation should provide some comfort to retailers," concluded
Me Lafleur.
    The survey polled a random sample of 1007 Quebecers between February 25
and March 12, 2009. The margin of error is +/-3.2%, 19 times out of 20.

    For more than 30 years, the CQCD has been the largest association
representing the retail trade in Quebec. Its membership encompasses all retail
specialties and distribution channels, including department stores, major food
distributors, specialized boutiques, pharmacies, hardware and home-renovation
stores, franchise concepts, independent stores and other retail formats, as
well as major commercial partners in the goods and services trade sector. The
CQCD represents an industry comprising more than 56,000 commercial
establishments, more than 500,000 jobs, or nearly one in five Quebec workers,
and more than $94 billion in retail sales in 2008.




For further information:

For further information: Céline Ducharme, Communications, (514) 842-6681
ext. 200

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