U.S. Retailers Leverage Surging Canadian Dollar To Aggressively Market Online Cross-Border Shopping

    Canadian online shopping activity expected to surpass projections

    TORONTO, Sept. 24 /CNW/ - With the crucial holiday shopping period just
around the corner, savvy U.S. retailers plan to take advantage of parity
between the U.S. and Canadian dollar for the first time in 31 years to shift
Canadian spending preferences online. While this could spell great returns for
retailers in the competitive fourth quarter, the ultimate winner should be the
Canadian consumer according to online shopping authorities at
    "As the Canadian dollar gains strength, Canadian shoppers are realizing
the advantages of online shopping," says Emmie Fukuchi, General Manager of
www.airmilesshops.ca. "Our U.S. retail partners have seen a steady climb in
activity ever since the dollar hit the $0.80US mark two years ago. With
parity, they expect to see an increase in cross-border online shopping that
outperforms initial projections for the year."
    According to a January 2007 report by eMarketer, 12 million Canadians
shopped online and 9 million bought products or services over the internet in
2006, totaling $9.4 billion in sales on product and services (including travel
bookings). A 2006 Statistics Canada report estimates that historically
63 per cent of these transactions were with Canadian vendors, while 37 per
cent were with retailers in the U.S.
    "2007 was expected to be a year of accelerated growth for online shopping
in Canada, and with our dollar reaching parity and climbing, we should expect
to see an increase in both the total spend of Canadians online, and the total
number of Canadians shopping online," added Fukuchi. "U.S. retailers are also
picking up on this trend by adjusting their strategies accordingly with
discount offers for Canadian customers or by waiving service or shipping
    "As a result of increased traffic online, Canadian retailers should
experience a halo effect and benefit from the sheer volume of online activity
throughout the busy fall and holiday shopping season," says Fukuchi. "With
increased competition, we should see better offers and pricing for consumers,
as well as value-added customer service and an overall improvement to online
customer experience across the board."
    Jim Okamura, senior partner with Toronto-based e-commerce consultancy
J.C. Williams Group Ltd., stated that, "Canadian-based portals to U.S.
retailers offer even more value to Canadian online shoppers by providing
useful features, such as product search tools, special offers and in the case
of, www.airmilesshops.ca, the added value of a popular Canadian-based benefit
- AIR MILES reward miles on all purchases."
    Canadians can visit www.airmilesshops.ca to make purchases at leading
North American brands like J.Crew, Bose, Brookstone, Lands' End and Victoria's
Secret while saving time, gas and travel expenses and avoiding the hassles of
border crossing line-ups.
    In recent years, Canadians have been purchasing a wider variety of goods
online with clothing, jewelry, sporting goods and toys among the fastest
growing categories. Traditional online purchase such as books, CDs, DVDs and
personal electronics are more popular than ever.

    About www.airmilesshops.ca

    Airmilesshops.ca, the AIR MILES Online Shopping Mall, was launched in
2003 (as YourShops.ca) for Canadian online shoppers and brings together more
than 90 of the best North American fashion, entertainment, consumer
electronics, travel, home décor, lifestyle and gift retailers in one online
destination. Sites include chapters.indigo.ca, Amazon.ca, Dell.ca, Victoria's
Secret, Lands' End and Toys "R" Us. airmilesshops.ca also offers the added
value of AIR MILES reward miles. One AIR MILES reward mile is earned for every
$20 CDN spent.
    Shoppers can visit airmilesshops.ca by visiting www.airmilesshops.ca or
by logging onto www.airmiles.ca and choosing the 'shop online & collect'

For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Tara Reed, GCI Group,
reedta@gcigroup.com, (416) 486-5914

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