CQCD - Consumer spending trends - Quebec consumers' optimism returns - The
confidence index soars!

MONTREAL, Sept. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - Those are the results of a survey made public during a news conference held today by the Conseil québécois du commerce de détail/Retail Council of Quebec (CQCD). The survey, on Quebec consumer spending trends and the buying habits of Quebecers, was conducted by Altus Géocom on behalf of the CQCD.

    -   Quebec households and their perception of their financial situation
        The last six (6) months

67% of households perceive their financial situation as being unchanged over the last six (6) months; 12% have seen an improvement and 21% have noted a deterioration. The principal and very significant cause identified by households reporting a deterioration of their financial situation over the last 6 months is the increase in the cost of living. This reason is cited by 41% of households, compared with 63% last year; it is followed by reduction in employment income (25% of households) and job loss (17% of households).

While a large majority of households (79%) report that their financial situation has remained the same (67%) or even improved (12%); the proportion of Quebec households whose financial situation has deteriorated is slightly lower (21%) that last year (24%) but remains significantly higher than at the same time in 2007 (10%).

        The next six (6) months

Quebec households are optimistic about their finances for the near future six months. In fact, 89% of households expect their financial situation to remain unchanged (63%) or even improve (26%) over the next six (6) months. Among the somewhat more pessimistic households (7%), the rise in the cost of living is identified in 56% of respondents as the main cause of the expected decline in their financial situation.

"Quebec households' perception of their personal finances indicates that they have bottomed out and are expected to stabilize in the immediate future; more than a quarter of consumers are even expecting a slight improvement," concludes CQCD president Me Gaston Lafleur. There has been a significant reduction in the number of pessimistic households, from 13% in 2008 to 7% in 2009. This pessimism is mainly associated with the cost of living.

- Quebec's financial situation

With regard to Quebec's economic situation for the coming months, Quebecers' optimism is at its highest level since 2002. Indeed, 41% of Quebec households expect Quebec's economy to improve, compared with a slim 8% at this time last year; 36% of Quebecers believe that Quebec's financial situation will remain stable, while 17% expect it to worsen.

"Overall, with regard to both their personal finances and Quebec's economic situation, Quebecers are more optimistic this year about the short-term future than they were at the same time last year," continues Me Gaston Lafleur.

- Quebecers' spending intentions

Major purchases

According to the survey, 24% of Quebecers plan to make a major purchase (automobiles, furniture, household appliances, computers, etc...) in the next six (6) months, compared with 19% at this time last year. It is interesting to note that this is the highest level of spending intentions in 7 years. Young people, those under 44 and more affluent households are the groups with the highest proportions of consumers intending to make major purchases. Automobiles rank first among the major purchases planned (10%), followed by household appliances, furniture and computers (4%).

Nearly half of Quebecers believe that it is a good time to make major purchases - 47% of respondents, up from 43% last year.

Other consumer goods

In the next six (6) months, Quebec consumers plan to spend more on shoes and clothing (+1%). On the other hand, they intend to spend less on audio and video equipment (-29%), furniture and household appliances (-23%) and toys (-23%).

- The Altus Géocom - CQCD confidence index is at a record high!

Quebec consumers have regained their confidence and optimism. The Altus Géocom - CQCD confidence index has literally exploded, to reach a high of 114.4. The consumer confidence level has never been this high in the past 5 years. It has increased by 41% since the beginning of this year and by 26% compared with the same period last year.

Consumers are confident about their own immediate future and that of Quebec, but will remain cautious in their spending for the next 6 months. "These positive factors bode well for the economic recovery, which we hope is on the horizon," concludes the CQCD's Me Gaston Lafleur.

The survey polled a random sample of 1001 Quebecers, between August 20, 2009 and September 12, 2009. It has a margin of error of 3.2%, 19 times out of 20.

The Conseil québécois du commerce de détail/Retail Council of Quebec (CQCD) is proud to promote, represent and enhance the image of the retail sector and its members in order to ensure the sound development and prosperity of the sector. The CQCD is an association of retail and distribution enterprises representing more than 70% of retail activity in Quebec. It is an indispensable interlocutor for this important economic sector of Quebec.

SOURCE Retail Council of Quebec

For further information: For further information: Conseil québécois du commerce de détail/Retail Council of Quebec: Gaston Lafleur, President; Céline Ducharme, Conseillère aux Communications, (514) 842-6681, ext. 200, 1-800-364-6766; Source: Conseil québécois du commerce de détail/Retail Council of Quebec, www.cqcd.org

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