Retail Trade: 2009 Results and 2010 Outlook

MONTREAL, Feb. 10 /CNW Telbec/ - The Conseil québécois du commerce de détail (CQCD)/Retail Council of Quebec today released the results and conclusions of its annual study on the status of the retail industry and consumer spending in Quebec and Canada for the year 2009 and its outlook for 2010. The study was conducted with the cooperation of Groupe Altus.

Results for 2009

In 2009, both Quebec and Canada saw a decline in retail sales after fourteen consecutive years of growth. In Quebec, sales were down by only -1.4% ($94 billion), compared with a decrease of -3.6% ($410.9 billion) in Canada.

The last decrease in sales in Quebec was in 1995, when they went from $49.598 billion to $49.292 billion. Sales had declined by 0.6% compared with 1994.

In Quebec, five retail sub-sectors saw an increase in sales; they are pharmacies and personal care products stores (+5.9%), food stores (+5.7%), home furnishings stores (+3.7%), sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (+3%) and general merchandise stores (+2.9%).

On the other hand, sales underperformed in seven sub-sectors: service stations (-19.6%), computer and software stores (-10.2%), furniture stores (-5.2%), automobile dealers (-4.4%), electronics and appliance stores (-4.1%), shoe, clothing accessories and jewellery stores

(-2.8%) and clothing stores (-1.5%).

Two sectors showed negligible variations in sales compared with the previous year: renovation, hardware, building and gardening centres (+0.1%) and miscellaneous store retailers (-0.1%).

Outlook for 2010

Canadians' and Quebecers' debt levels are growing. In ten years, the total credit level in relation to personal disposable income has shot up by more than 10%. In 2009, the level of consumer credit in relation to personal income reached 40.2%, while mortgage loans represented 89%.

"In 2010, three main factors will influence consumers' behaviour: a slight increase in their personal disposable income, a slight rise in interest rates and a relatively neutral inflation rate," explains Me Gaston Lafleur, president of CQCD.

Given the uncertain climate that continues to prevail, Quebecers will undoubtedly use a portion of their discretionary income for savings, to the detriment of consumer spending.

However, the consumer confidence index is high, which could contribute to the purchase of big-ticket items such as automobiles, furniture and household appliances, in the near future.

Overall, according to Me Lafleur, retail sales in Quebec are expected to grow by 2%.

The CQCD is the undeniable leader of the retail sector; its mission is to represent, promote and enhance the image of the sector in Quebec and to develop ways to foster the advancement of its members. The CQCD represents an industry comprising more than 54,000 commercial establishments, more than 420,000 jobs, or nearly one in five Quebec workers, and more than $94 billion in retail sales in 2008.

SOURCE Retail Council of Quebec

For further information: For further information: Me Gaston Lafleur, President, Conseil québécois du commerce de détail/Retail Council of Quebec, (514) 842-6681, extension 200; Source: Conseil québécois du commerce de détail:

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