April 20, 2015

TORONTO, April 20, 2015: The results of Nielsen’s study on the impact of tariff elimination on baby clothes and sporting goods do not accurately reflect the benefits of tariff elimination to Canadian consumers, Retail Council of Canada announced today.

The study was intended to analyze the impact on consumer prices of tariff eliminations introduced in the 2013 federal budget. The approach taken by Nielsen meant that the study never had a chance of meeting its stated objective. Nielsen only began monitoring prices in Fall 2013, a full six months after tariffs were eliminated and in most cases, consumer pricing had already been adjusted to take into account these lower input costs.

“A before-and-after study was called for,” says Retail Council of Canada President & CEO, Diane J. Brisebois. “What Nielsen should have done was to capture prices before the tariff elimination and then again well after the change. Instead, we got a start point after the initiative had already come into effect and then an arbitrary end-point,” adds Ms. Brisebois.

Nielsen researchers themselves recognized this shortcoming and several other factors that call into question the soundness of the report’s methodology and its’ conclusions. Nielsen admits that all data used in price comparisons was collected after tariff cuts were implemented, notes the contemporaneous decline in the value of the Canadian dollar, its inability to measure a full year of data for seasonal products and the exclusion of sale pricing.

RCC undertook its own analysis and compared prices before the tariff elimination and again following the April 2013 cuts. “When the analysis is done properly, it demonstrates that Canadians did see substantial savings,” says Ms. Brisebois. For example, Canadian families saved some $44 million to outfit children less than 24 months of age and over $33 million in savings were passed along to equip young hockey players. Visit retailcouncil.org/tariffs.

RCC will continue the fight to eliminate tariffs on products that Canadian families use every day and press the government to negotiate free trade agreements with major trading partners. RCC has called on the government to eliminate tariffs in apparel, footwear and linen categories as part of the 2015 federal budget which will be introduced on April 21.

Retail Council of Canada (RCC) is the Voice of Retail in Canada representing more than 45,000 store fronts of all retail formats, including department, specialty, discount, and independent stores, and online merchants in general merchandise, grocery and drugs.  Its membership represents over 75% of all retail sales in Canada.  RCC is a strong advocate for retailing in Canada and works with all levels of government and other stakeholders to support employment growth and career opportunities in retail, to promote and sustain retail investments in communities from coast-to-coast, and to enhance consumer choice and industry competitiveness. RCC also provides its members with a full range of services and programs including education and training, benchmarking and best practices, networking, advocacy, and industry information. @retailcouncil @RCCMySTORE

For further information:
Colin Asuncion
Retail Council of Canada
[email protected]