PEI

Atlantic Canada retail outlook OK despite bad weather, council says

Despite some bad weather in Atlantic Canada this season, the retail outlook is good, according to the Retail Council of Canada.

'Retail will always adapt and the good retailers will always end up finding a way to make it work'

'For the most part Atlantic Canadians statistically have shown they spend more than anywhere else in Canada during the holiday season which is good,' says Jim Cormier, Atlantic director of the Retail Council of Canada. (Katherine Holland/CBC)

Despite some bad weather in Atlantic Canada this season, the retail outlook is good, according to the Retail Council of Canada.

Jim Cormier, Atlantic director for the council, said he thinks retailers will look back at the holiday shopping season as OK, and the year on the whole, as a good one.

"It depends on where you are. For the most part Atlantic Canadians statistically have shown they spend more than anywhere else in Canada during the holiday season which is good," he said.

"That said, provinces like P.E.I have had some nasty weather on some of the key weekend shopping periods leading into the holidays, so that impacts the bottom line as well."

Changing landscape

Cormier said about five years ago retailers were moving away from brick and mortar stores and focusing on online shopping.

He said retailers are finding that having both an online presence and a storefront is important.

'Retail will always adapt and the good retailers will always end up finding a way to make it work,' Cormier says. (Submitted by Jim Cormier)

"You're seeing the entire retail landscape changing," Cormier said.

"There's always disruption. You know, retailers will change with the times."

Online commerce is a main area of growth in the industry, and Cormier said people are shopping more and more using their smartphones. 

A 'good marriage' between storefront and online sales

Though the number of people going into stores has dropped, the conversion rate, or number of people making purchases has risen, Cormier said, adding this is likely because people are ordering online and then going into stores to pick up their items.

Having people pick up items is beneficial to retailers for several reasons. Retailers don't need to pay to have items delivered, and having people come into the store means they might buy more than what they ordered online.

"It just goes to show the need to have a good marriage between your bricks and mortar offering and you're online offering," he said.

"Retail will always adapt and the good retailers will always end up finding a way to make it work."

More P.E.I. news

With files from Jessica Doria-Brown

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