Consumer Confidence Slips, Not Crashes

    WINNIPEG, March 3 /CNW/ - The latest Harris Decima Investors Group
measure of Canadian Consumer Confidence reveals that the economic turmoil of
recent months has taken a toll on consumer confidence. However, a majority of
Canadians continue to have confidence in the economy in the medium and longer

    -   The overall index dropped to its lowest point since September 2005,
        but remains higher than the comparable US index.

    The five components that make up the index revealed a pattern of
deteriorating confidence, but nothing approaching despair about the economic
future. Three of five indicators showed a significant increase in negative
sentiment from the last measurement period in September, 2007.
    Overall, bullish sentiment continues to outweigh bearish feelings, with
the exception being about the short term macro-economic outlook:

    -   53% say it's a good time to make a major purchase, while 31% say bad
    -   46% say the economy will be better in five years, 38% say worse
    -   27% say they will be better off next year than today, 12% say worse
    -   22% say they are better off today than last year, 19% say worse
    -   16% say the Canadian economy will be stronger in a year, 28% say

    According to Harris/Decima President Bruce Anderson "People may not feel
invulnerable, but they are clearly not hugely traumatized by roiling stock
markets, the credit crunch, or a wounded manufacturing sector. So far, people
appear to believe that the economy is both softer than in the recent past, but
stronger than it has been over the longer term history. Those who do see
problems, tend to think they will be short lived and not have much impact on
them personally."
    "This is a good example of how emotions can affect Canadians' attitudes
in the short term" said Debbie Ammeter, Vice-President of Advanced Financial
Planning for Investors Group. "Not surprisingly, a period of stock market
volatility has shaken consumers' overall confidence but - at the same time -
Canadians don't seem to be feeling much personal financial pain and appear to
have good degree of confidence in the continued strength of the Canadian

    Each week, Harris/Decima interviews just over 1000 Canadians through
teleVox, the company's national omnibus survey. These data were gathered
February 8th through 17th 2008 for a sample of just over 2,000 respondents.
The poll's margin of error is 2.2%, 19 times out of 20.

For further information:

For further information: Bruce Anderson, President, Harris/Decima, Tel:
(613) 230-2200,

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