Retail Council of Canada (RCC) is pleased that Premier Ford provided encouraging news to retailers today on the province’s reopening plan. Allowing ‘non-essential’ retailers to reopen at 25% capacity strikes an important balance between the public and economic health – one that is supported by both data and science.
Last week’s Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey shows just how devastating the “all or nothing” approach to the lockdown has been. This is especially true for the many retailers who had to shut down during the critical lead up to the holiday season and throughout January. Ontario is now down more than 150,000 jobs and a substantial portion of these are in retail.
When GTA retailers reopen on the target date of February 22, 2021, many of them will have been closed for 92 days straight – a crushing amount of time for these businesses. For some, the closures came at a time when retail sales are normally at their highest. In a typical year, the last six weeks of the year for retail trade represents on average 15% to 20% of the year’s sales. For some categories it’s even higher – the last six weeks of the year for the toy category, for example, represent nearly 40% of their entire year’s sales. For apparel and footwear, the challenges include difficulties in moving seasonal inventory for a season that has now passed.
Ontario’s retail sector needs time to rebuild and it cannot sustain another round of closures. This speaks to the importance of everyone – government, businesses and citizens alike – working together in the weeks and months ahead to preserve both public health and economic viability.
Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada
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About Retail Council of Canada
Retail is Canada’s largest employer with 2.1 million Canadians working in our industry. The sector annually generates over $76 billion in wages and employee benefits. Core retail sales (excluding vehicles and gasoline) were $377 billion in 2018. Retail Council of Canada (RCC) members represent more than two thirds of retail sales in the country. RCC is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association that represents small, medium and large retail businesses in every community across the country. As the Voice of Retail™ in Canada, we proudly represent more than 45,000 storefronts in all retail formats, including department, grocery, specialty, discount, independent retailers and online merchants. www.RetailCouncil.org