Increasing the Minimum Wage: A Mouthful for Retailers

    MONTREAL, Dec. 13 /CNW Telbec/ - This morning's announcement by Mr. David
Whissell, Quebec's Minister of Labour, regarding the $0.50 increase of the
minimum wage starting this coming May 1 is met with a mixed reception from the
Conseil québécois du commerce de detail/Retail Council of Quebec (CQCD).
    "A 6.25% increase of the minimum wage, which would affect close to 30% of
retail sector wage earners, will have a significant impact on our businesses,
which are already struggling to survive in a highly competitive environment",
said Me Gaston Lafleur, President & Chief Executive Officer of the CQCD.
    The CQCD has deplored the size of the increase, since salary adjustments
of 3% and less within the retail sector are expected in 2008.
    This increase, even if it will improve some individuals' purchasing
power, could have been spread over time to allow our businesses to adjust
themselves to it. It is estimated that the direct and indirect costs of this
minimum wage increase will represent more than $180 million for Quebec's
retail sector.

    For more than twenty-five years now, the Conseil québécois du commerce de
detail/Retail Council of Quebec (CQCD) pursues its mission of representing,
promoting this sector, to insure a development of the retail sector. The CQCD
defends the interest of its members, which represent 70% of the activities of
retail sector in Quebec. This sector represents more than 54 000 businesses,
more than $86 billions of sales and more than 400 000 jobs.

For further information:

For further information: Gaston Lafleur, President & Chief Executive
Officer, Conseil québécois du commerce de détail, (514) 842-6681, ext. 200,
1-800-364-6766; Source: Conseil québécois du commerce de détail, Website:

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Retail Council of Quebec

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