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Retail Conditions Report: Spring 2024

June 12, 2024

Each quarter, Retail Council of Canada surveys members from coast to coast to bring you the latest news on the retail industry's performance across Canada. The Retail Conditions Report provides members with valuable, real-time insight into consumer behaviour, best practices in retailing, trends, and economic conditions.

Spring 2024

Discretionary Retail Gets Crowded Out as Consumers Brace Against an Unrelenting Tide of Tax & Cost of Living Increases

Consumers Have Reached Their Collective Limit, Leading to a Collective 'Tap-Out' From Shopping with Retailers Turning Their Minds to Efficiency In Their Business to Ride Out the Storm and Prepare for Better Times

Consumers have pulled back into what one retailer has described publicly as a "discretionary recession." This is little surprise to the retailers we spoke with, almost all of whose sales (70%) March-May MTD are down to varying degrees from 2023. Retailers expected a soft first half of the year but were a bit surprised at the rapid deceleration of spending and trading-down behaviours. All are hoping that the pressures on consumers will decrease for the all-important last two quarters. There is some sign of this, with food inflation slowing and some commodities beginning to reverse. All eyes will be on the June Bank of Canada interest rate announcement, which may signal some relief and a walk-back from the higher interest rates.

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