The CQCD takes stock of the retail sector - Quebec leads the recovery of retail sales in Canada

MONTREAL, Feb. 2 /CNW Telbec/ - With retail sales in Quebec of $99.9 billion and a 6.6% increase in these sales over 2009, Quebec's retail sector exceeded the 2% forecast for 2010 and experienced its strongest growth since 2005.

These are some of the findings of a study on the results for 2010 and the economic forecasts for 2011 released today by the Conseil québécois du commerce de détail (CQCD)/Retail Council of Quebec. The study was prepared by Groupe Altus. It reveals that employment in the retail sector is stable, with 448,000 persons employed, thus maintaining the sector's position as the leading employment sector in Quebec. The study also reveals that Quebecers' savings rate was very close to the all-time high for the decade in 2009, and reached 4% in the third quarter of 2010.

2010 Results

Retail sales for the year 2010, both in Quebec and in Canada, grew at a faster rate than before the crisis of 2008-2009. In Quebec, they increased by 6.6% in 2010, reaching $99.9 billion, just short of the $100 billion mark. In the country as a whole, sales grew by 5.1%, to $436.4 billion. In this context, Quebec saw a significant drop in the number of commercial bankruptcies, confirming the trend of the last three years.

Certain sub-sectors experienced better performance in 2010. In Quebec, four retail sub-sectors exceeded the 6.6% average growth rate: service stations (20.9%), home furnishing stores (11.6%), automobile and auto parts dealers (10%) and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (8.6%). On the other hand, only two sectors saw a drop in sales: renovation, hardware, building and gardening centres (-1.1%) and miscellaneous retailers (-1.3%).

With regard to personal finances, Canadian households' consumer credit was down slightly in 2010, at 42%. Quebecers' personal disposable income grew from $26,031 in 2009 to $26,725 in 2010. However, it is lower than the personal disposable income of $29,499 observed for the country as a whole. The gap in personal disposable income between Quebec and Canada grew to -10.4% in 2010, compared with 10% in 2009. With a personal savings rate of 4.6% in 2009 and 4% in the third quarter of 2010, Quebec households are approaching the savings levels that existed before the 2008-2009 crisis.

2011 Outlook

In a context where employment remains weak and confidence continues to decline in Canada, it is important to remain cautious in forecasting retail sales for the year 2011. Consumer spending and consumer behaviour will be influenced by a slight increase in inflation and in consumers' disposable income. On the other hand, employment and interest rates should remain relatively stable in 2011, or possibly increase slightly. 

Consequently, the CQCD is forecasting a 3% to 3.5% increase in retail sales in Quebec in 2011.

The year 2011 is also expected to be marked by several major issues for the retail sector. Consumer affairs, the environment, labour relations, promotion of careers, as well as issues concerning the study of payment methods in Canada will be widely discussed in the public arena. A third phase of the reform of the Consumer Protection Act, focusing specifically on consumer credit, is expected in the first quarter of 2011. The environment will also be at the heart of the debates, with three projects relating to residual materials management. Finally, in Ottawa, the question of fees charged to merchants for the use of credit and debit cards will be addressed in three ways: by the Task Force for the Payments System Review created by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, by Bill S-201, and by the decision of the Competition Tribunal concerning the restrictive and anti-competitive rules imposed by the major credit and debit card networks on merchants using their payment systems.

All the data from this study are available at: .

The Conseil québécois du commerce de détail (CQCD) is proud to promote, represent and enhance the image of the retail sector and the retailers who belong to it in order to ensure the development and prosperity of the sector. The CQCD is an association of retail and distribution businesses representing more than 70% of retail-related activities in Quebec and is an indispensable voice for this major sector the economy.


For further information:

Jocelyn Desjardins
Director of Communications and Marketing
Conseil québécois du commerce de détail
Tel.: (514) 842-6681, ext. 200 or 514-604-6273

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