The shopping habits of Quebecers in 2008 - Caution is the watchword

    MONTREAL, March 19 /CNW Telbec/ - The Conseil québécois du commerce de
détail/Retail Council of Quebec (CQCD) released on March 19, 2008 the results
of a survey conducted on its behalf by Altus Géocom on consumer spending
trends in Quebec.

        - Quebec households' perception of their financial situation

    The last 12 months

    The survey reveals that 84% of Quebec households consider their financial
situation to have improved or remained stable over the last 12 months. This
figure compares with 82% in March 2007.
    The other 16% of households indicated that their financial situation had
deteriorated over the last 12 months. Among the reasons mentioned were an
increase in the cost of living (51%), a deterioration in working conditions
(22%), change of status: retirement, back to school, etc. (13%) and job loss

    The next 12 months

    As regards their financial situation for the next 12 months, Quebec
households are relatively optimistic; 84% expect their situation to either
remain stable (54%) or improve (30%). Only 12% of households expect their
situation to worsen, with the great majority of these (69%) citing an increase
in the cost of living as the major reason for the deterioration.

        - Quebec's financial situation

    Quebecers are less optimistic with regard to Quebec's financial situation,
with 37% expecting to see a deterioration over the next 12 months. However,
this proportion is significantly increasing than last year, when 29% of
Quebecers were pessimistic regarding the financial situation of Quebec.
    "We can conclude that, in general, Quebecers are less optimistic than last
year about Quebec's financial future," notes the CQCD's president, Mr. Gaston

        - Spending intentions

    Major purchases

    The survey reveals that 27% of households intend to make a major purchase
in the next 12 months. This is the same proportion than last year.
    Automobiles are in first place among the major purchases planned: 12% of
Quebec households intend to buy an automobile in the next 12 months; house
appliances come second (5%), followed by houses furniture (5%), and computers
and software (5%).

    Everyday purchases

    In the coming months, Quebecers plan to spend more on footwear and
clothing and on hardware and renovations. However, they intend to spend less
on other consumer goods.
    The six-month outlook on spending intentions is relatively neutral, as
consumers intend to spend more in six categories of goods and services while
they plan to spend less in the other seven categories.

        - The Altus Géocom - CQCD confidence index: in low decreasing

    The Altus Géocom - CQCD consumer confidence index in March 2008 is at
95.6, compared with 104.4 in September 2007.
    The decline in Quebec consumers' confidence index can be explained largely
by the prevailing uncertainty with regard to the strength of our economy and
how it is being affected by the weakening US economy.
    The survey polled a random sample of 1002 Quebecers between March 3 and 15
2008. It has a margin of error of 3.2% 19 times out of 20.

    The CQCD is the largest association representing the retail trade in
Quebec. Its membership encompasses all retail specialties and distribution
channels, including department stores, major food distributors, specialized
boutiques, pharmacies, hardware and home-renovation stores, franchise
concepts, independent branch stores and retailers, as well as major commercial
partners in the goods and services trade sector. The CQCD represents an
industry comprising more than 56,000 commercial establishments, more than
500,000 jobs, or nearly one in five Quebec workers, and more than $86 billion
in retail sales in 2006.

For further information:

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

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