CQCD - Consumer spending trends

    Quebec consumers plan to spend less
    The confidence index continues to fall!

    MONTREAL, Sept. 23 /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

    59% of households perceive their financial situation as being unchanged
over the last six (6) months; 17% have seen an improvement and 24% have noted
a deterioration. The rise in the cost of living was the main and significant
reason mentioned by households reporting a deterioration in their financial
situation over the last six (6) months; it was mentioned by 63% of respondents
in that group, compared 38% last year, while 25% mentioned a reduction in
employment income as the principal reason for the deterioration.
    While a large majority of households (76%) report that their financial
situation has remained the same (59%) or even improved (17%), the proportion
of Quebec households whose financial situation has deteriorated has almost
doubled (24%) compared with the same time last year (10%).

      The next six (6) months

    Quebec households are optimistic about their finances for the near future
six months. In fact, 83% of households expect their financial situation to
remain unchanged (59%) or even improve (24%) over the next six (6) months.
Among the somewhat more pessimistic households (13%), the rise in the cost of
living is identified in 68% of respondents as the main cause of the expected
decline in their financial situation.
    "The more pessimistic Quebec households (13%) are not afraid of losing
their jobs or having less income; rather, they are afraid that their expenses
will increase more than their income. They identify the cost of living as the
major factor impacting their financial situation," concludes CQCD president Me
Gaston Lafleur.

    - Quebec's financial situation

    Quebecers' perceptions of the province's financial health are essentially
less optimistic than the same period last year. In fact, 35% of Quebecers are
now pessimistic about Quebec's economy in the short term, compared with 24% at
the same time last year. 47% of Quebecers expect Quebec's economic situation
to remain unchanged and 8% expect to see an improvement over the next six (6)

    - Quebecers' spending intentions

    Major purchases

    According to the survey, 19% of Quebecers plan to make a major purchase
(automobiles, furniture, household appliances, computers, etc...) in the next
six (6) months, compared with 22% at this time last year. The highest
proportion of consumers intending to make major purchases are found among
young people under 35, and more affluent households. Automobiles rank first
among the major purchases planned (8%), followed by household appliances (5%)
and furniture (4%).
    Nearly half of Quebecers don't believe that it is a good time to make
major purchases - 49% of respondents, up from 38% last year.

    Other consumer goods

    In the next six (6) months, Quebec consumers plan to spend more on
hardware/renovation items (+6%) and shoes and clothing (+4%). On the other
hand, they intend to spend less on audio and video equipment (-24%), furniture
and household appliances (-20%), computer equipment (-20%) and toys (-19%).

    - The Altus Géocom - CQCD confidence index

    The Altus Géocom - CQCD confidence index continues to fall. It reached a
low of 90.6 in September, down from 104.4 in September 2007 and 95.6 in March
    "The economic context for the coming months remains precarious and
uncertain. Quebec consumers are less confident; they will be more cautious in
their spending over the next six months," concludes Me Lafleur of the CQCD.
    The survey polled a random sample of 1008 Quebecers, between August 21,
2008 and September 10, 2008. 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 the sector it represents.

For further information:

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

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