Canadian Convenience Stores Association's 2013 State of the Industry Report - Over-regulation threatens viability of c-store operators

MONTREAL, Oct. 23, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - An astounding 868 federal, provincial and municipal regulations have been identified as directly impacting convenience store operators in Canada, according to the Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA). The estimated cost to retailers: $225 million annually. The findings are part of the CCSA's 2013 annual C-store State of the Industry (SoI) Report. The report was released today in Montreal during the industry's annual convention of retailers, distributors and manufacturers.

Last year's report focused on federal and provincial regulations while this year the report was expanded to include municipal regulations found in five of Canada's largest cities (Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver). An additional 176 municipal regulations were discovered which add a significant burden to the cost of doing business in those cities, especially when compounded with a large number of federal and provincial regulations.

"The volume of regulation impacting our members in Canada poses a real threat to our industry," says CCSA President Alex Scholten. "By eliminating out-of-date regulations, simplifying others or avoiding new, unnecessary regulation, we could achieve major improvements to the profitability of our members and to the Canadian economy in general. For this reason, we are calling upon governments to alleviate this burden, which we believe will trigger the creation of thousands of jobs and preserve a unique family business model that generates billions in tax revenues for the government. We have been working with a number of provinces and the federal government to achieve 'smart regulation' - regulation that is deemed effective and efficient by the industry and government alike."

Over-regulation has significantly hindered the profitability of c-store retailers in Canada. According to the latest CCSA SoI report, sales in the Canadian convenience store industry topped $40 billion (an increase of 3.28 per cent over 2011). However, due to increasing costs (including the cost of compliance with ever expanding regulation), the threat of contraband tobacco, credit card fees and competitive pressures, the industry collectively lost an estimated $254 million in 2012 compared to an estimated $1 billion profit in 2011. Only two-thirds (66.2 per cent) of traditional c-stores (convenience stores without gasoline) reported a profit last year.

The current environment is particularly challenging to small, "mom-and-pop" independent c-store owners - many of which are operated by newly established Canadians. Since 2008, among the 2,252 c-stores that have closed, most were independently owned. The proportion of independent c-stores has fallen from 47.8 per cent in 2011 to 44.9 per cent last year, a staggering three per cent reduction in just one year representing almost 700 stores.

"We are asking Canadian politicians across the country and at every level to start working in partnership with our industry to achieve a smarter regulatory environment," Scholten said. "This will ensure a healthier and stronger c-store industry that can continue providing jobs, wealth and essential services to all Canadians well into the future."

Canada's c-store industry employs over 190,000 Canadians, generates $4 billion in wages and benefits annually and collects an estimated $17 billion in tax remittance yearly for all levels of government.

About CCSA

The Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA) is a national not-for-profit trade association that represents the interests of over 23,000 convenience store retailers operating in Canada. Our mission is to foster the success of the convenience store industry in Canada by representing the best interests of our members, and the communities they serve. We accomplish our mission through government relations and advocacy, promoting the professionalization of the industry and creating industry recognition and awareness.

SOURCE: Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA)

For further information:

Dianna Eakins, CCSA
Cell: (905) 630-4208

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Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA)

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