Helping small businesses succeed in the digital economy

Going digital is “kind of a life-or-death situation for small businesses”

Helping small businesses succeed in the digital economyA group of students led out of the University of Alberta School of Business is helping small businesses get ahead of the pandemic-induced warp-speed retail overhaul that is pushing customers online in droves. The students are at the heart of the new Digital Economy Program (DEP), a free initiative that sees a team of U of…

Dark stores on the rise as part of the campaign to deliver groceries

SkipTheDishes is building 38 dark stores across the country to support its online food delivery strategy

Dark stores on the rise as part of the campaign to deliver groceriesWe recently learned that SkipTheDishes is building 38 dark stores across the country to support its e-commerce renewal. Its strategy includes selling food online like any grocery store. Company CEO Kevin Edwards claims the online food market will be worth $120 billion in a few years. That number is a little ambitious, but many observers…

The rise of the once-silent, once-hidden food worker

Given our heightened consciousness about food systems, workers have more political capital than ever

The rise of the once-silent, once-hidden food workerWorkers across the food supply chain are expressing concerns about their livelihood. Last weekend, workers at the online grocery retailer Instacart went on strike for better conditions and higher wages. Instacart is a symbol of the new gig economy in food – you use a phone app to have someone else pick up your groceries…

Is your company being ripped off by your employees?

Ten ways you might be cheated and what you can do to reduce your risk

Is your company being ripped off by your employees?James and John came into my office one day and were noticeably shaken. James had just come from the accountant and learned that his business had lost $400,000 in the previous year. In obvious disbelief, he asked if I could help him figure out what the problem was. In our discussion it came out that…

How to create more affordable housing to meet rising demand

Housing regulations often limit people to Tesla-level homes or nothing

How to create more affordable housing to meet rising demandI’m an economist, so I’m not flattered by those who say you could teach a parrot to be an economist. The bird would need to know only two words, the joke goes: supply and demand. When the supply of any good or service increases, its price goes down. If the supply decreases or is less…

Restaurants face a great reset, thanks to COVID-19

Canada’s food service industry has suffered. But the pandemic may be exactly what it has been waiting for to make things better

Restaurants face a great reset, thanks to COVID-19It was certainly a year to be forgotten for the food service industry. Statistics Canada numbers told us this week that food service sales dropped a whopping 32 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the same period in 2020. The food retail/service ratio, a key metric to assess how important food service…

Three key elements to succeed in sales

Treat others the way you would like to be treated, know why you’re selling and put together a good plan that you’re willing and able to follow

Three key elements to succeed in salesLike many entrepreneurs and sales professionals, I’ve been selling since I was a teenager. Over the years, I’ve hawked worms, newspapers, pins, chocolate bars and books door to door, knives and lamps on street corners, vitamins and herbs in retail and online, and, eventually, advertising, as well as coaching services and training to companies. I…

October retail sales in Alberta end two-year slide

An increase of 0.4 per cent came after retail sales in the province had fallen below levels last reported in August 2017

October retail sales in Alberta end two-year slideRetail sales in Alberta reached $6.7 billion in October, up 0.4 per cent from the previous month, according to a report released Friday by Statistics Canada. The federal agency said the increase came after retail sales in the province had fallen below levels last reported in August 2017. “Despite the gain, the level of retail…

Celebrate more this Christmas, worry less about business

This year, stop rushing through the holidays long enough to let your thoughts be diverted from the burdens of work to the joyfulness of the season

Celebrate more this Christmas, worry less about businessWhat do we miss by rushing through the celebrations and skipping the festivities of the Christmas season? At the end of the year, many people celebrate holidays like Christmas or Hanukah, New Year’s Eve or Festivals of Lights. Even if you aren’t religious, you probably celebrate Christmas with gifts or family gatherings and large meals.…

The dollar store invasion gains momentum

Dollar stores in Canada sold well over $2 billion worth of food last year. And given how aggressive dollar stores are, that could double quickly

The dollar store invasion gains momentumA visit to any dollar store is something to remember: the bright lights, aisles filled with things you may or may not need, and the distinctive smell. If we had to create a smell that mixes plastic with China, the smell in a dollar store would be it. It’s not overly appetizing but a greater…

Canadians thinking green for holiday shopping

And fewer consumers plan to shop on Black Friday and Boxing Day this year, according to Accenture survey

Canadians thinking green for holiday shoppingEnvironmentally friendly products will account for about one-third of Canadians’ spending this holiday season, according to the eighth annual Holiday Shopping Survey from Accenture. But they will be spending a little less money this year on average. “With increased awareness about the climate crisis, it’s no surprise that responsible retail matters now more than ever,…

Alberta new vehicle sales sluggish

Sales have been falling every month since August 2018: ATB

Alberta new vehicle sales sluggishA slow economy continues to dampen the number of new vehicles being sold in Alberta, according to ATB Financial’s Economics and Research Team. In its daily economic update The Owl, the financial institution said the seasonally adjusted number of new vehicles purchased in Alberta was down by 6.1 per cent in September compared to a…

Lowe’s Canada closing 34 stores – 6 in Alberta

The six stores in Alberta that will close early in the new year are mostly former Rona outlets that Lowes says are underperforming

Lowe’s Canada closing 34 stores – 6 in AlbertaLowe’s Canada is closing 34 of its what it call “underperforming” stores across Canada including six in Alberta. "While making decisions that impact our associates and their families is never easy, closing underperforming stores is a necessary step in our plan to ensure the long-term stability and growth of our Canadian business," said Tony Cioffi,…

Canadians increasingly embrace Black Friday

Study clearly shows consumers continue to enjoy shopping in physical stores: Retail Council of Canada

Canadians increasingly embrace Black FridayIt may be tied to an American holiday but increasingly Canadian consumers are doing their shopping on Black Friday. According to the Retail Council of Canada's (RCC) second annual Holiday Shopping Survey, which was released on Tuesday, 43 per cent of Canadian consumers plan to open their wallets on Black Friday, Nov. 29, the day…

Canadian consumers aren’t in a spending mood

Canadian consumers aren’t in a spending moodCanadian consumer spending growth has been muted of late despite strong fundamentals in the form of healthy labour markets and low borrowing costs, says a new report by TD Economics. The report by senior economist Brian DePratto, Whither Spending? The Drivers of Lacklustre Canadian Spending, says three key domestic factors are to blame: policy-induced softness…

Fashion retailer Forever 21 closing its Canadian stores

The chain has 44 stores in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia and employs approximately 2,000 people

Fashion retailer Forever 21 closing its Canadian storesFashion retailer Forever 21 says it plans to close its 44 stores in Canada. The company announced in a news release that Forever 21 Canada filed for and was granted protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Commercial List) in Toronto. PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. was appointed as monitor in…

Plenty of great hair days at Chatters

President Greg Moreau talks about how the largest distributor and retailer of professional hair care goods in Canada plans to keep building the brand

Plenty of great hair days at ChattersGreg Moreau is president and CEO of Chatters. Tell me a bit about Chatters. What do you specialize in? Moreau: Chatters is the largest distributor and retailer of professional hair care goods in Canada, and the third largest in North America with a 60/40 business of retail to service. From products to service, our specialty…

How sports card collectors can protect their investments

Jason Masherah of Upper Deck talks about avoiding scams, particularly in the online marketplace

How sports card collectors can protect their investmentsJason Masherah is president of the trading card company Upper Deck. Can you explain the number of scams related to your industry that have been going on lately and why this is happening? Masherah: Trading cards and memorabilia have been a longtime target for these types of scams. Quite frankly, it was the reason Upper…

Canadian retail sales get lift from Raptors’ NBA championship run

Canadian retail sales get lift from Raptors’ NBA championship runRetail sales across Canada were flat and unchanged at $51.3 billion in June from May but were up 1.1 per cent year over year, according to Statistics Canada. But the Toronto Raptors’ presence in the National Basketball Association finals increased sales at sports and sports clothing stores across the country. Stronger sales across most subsectors…

Walmart, Instacart offer on-demand grocery delivery across Canada

Expansion builds on a successful 17-store pilot in Toronto and Winnipeg. Delivery can be made in as soon as one hour

Walmart, Instacart offer on-demand grocery delivery across CanadaWalmart Canada and Instacart announced on Thursday the national expansion of their relationship, which will bring on-demand grocery delivery services from nearly 200 Walmart stores across Canadian in as fast as an hour. In a news release, the companies said the expansion builds on a successful 17-store pilot in the greater Toronto area and Winnipeg.…

Offering an alternative voice for best practices in retail

Bruce Winder of Retail Advisors Network talks about the dramatic evolution taking place in retail and where the marketplace will go next

Offering an alternative voice for best practices in retailBruce Winder is co-founder and partner of Retail Advisors Network. Tell me a little bit about your background and what you do now? Winder: I spent about 20 plus years in big retail at places like Canadian Tire, HBC, Sears and Air Miles before deciding I wanted to explore life outside a head office and…

Jana Sobey’s devotion to family, food and community

The Sobeys Inc. vice-president talks about the dynamic trends in her industry, from e-commerce to buying local

Jana Sobey’s devotion to family, food and communityJana Sobey is vice-president of merchandising, community format, Thrifty Foods and Field for Sobeys Inc. She recently received a 2019 Star Women in Grocery Award. How did you feel about winning the award and what did it mean to you? Sobey: It felt really good. I was actually quite surprised, to be quite honest. So being…

Sobeys to eliminate plastic grocery bags

Sobeys to eliminate plastic grocery bagsSobeys Inc. announced on Wednesday that it will remove plastic grocery bags from all Sobeys grocery stores by the end of January 2020. The change will take 225 million plastic grocery bags out of circulation at Sobeys' 255 locations across Canada each year, it said. “So many of our customers and our employees have told…

Westleaf to supply $4M of cannabis derivative products to Delta 9

Westleaf to supply $4M of cannabis derivative products to Delta 9Westleaf Inc. announced on Wednesday that its subsidiary, Westleaf Labs LP, has entered into a white-labelling agreement with Delta 9 to supply approximately $4 million of cannabis derivative products from its large-scale extraction and manufacturing facility in Calgary. Calgary-based Westleaf said the contract will begin on Oct. 1, subject to receipt of final licence approval…

Staples Canada launches new digital platform on Shopify Plus

Staples Canada launches new digital platform on Shopify PlusRetailer Staples Canada has launched a new digital platform on Shopify Plus as the company continues its transformation to “The Working and Learning Company.” Shopify Plus will host the retailer’s core e-commerce platform at staples.ca. “We are excited to be working with Shopify Plus because the team shares our values of helping drive forward entrepreneurship…

The power of bricks and mortar in a disruptive world

Eileen Halpin-Tarrant of Oberfeld Snowcap Realty talks about the bright future that innovative retailers are bringing to the marketplace

The power of bricks and mortar in a disruptive worldEileen Halpin-Tarrant is president of client services, broker of record (Ontario), and managing broker (British Columbia) with Oberfeld Snowcap Realty, Brokerage. What is Oberfeld Snowcap and what does it do? Halpin-Tarrant: Oberfeld Snowcap is a national real estate advisory firm focusing primarily on retail real estate and tenant representation across Canada. Our core asset and…

Westleaf announces same-day cannabis delivery in Saskatoon

The feature is being offered through its Prairie Records online store

Westleaf announces same-day cannabis delivery in SaskatoonCannabis users in the greater Saskatoon area can now have same-day delivery of their product, thanks to Calgary-based Westleaf Inc. The feature is being offered through its Prairie Records online store. "Adding another customer-centric feature is all part of enhancing the Prairie Records brand among our customers and making it that much easier to purchase…

Want to write a book and get published? Here’s what you need to know

Terry Whalin of Morgan James Publishing explains why the author is so important to the marketing process and why e-commerce alone won't get the job done

Want to write a book and get published? Here’s what you need to knowTerry Whalin is acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. Tell me what you do with Morgan James Publishing? Whalin: For over six years, I've worked as an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. An acquisitions editor is the first person to see the submission and evaluate whether it’s appropriate for the company. We receive over…

Working in the post-retail era requires a reset

There are still plenty of jobs at the low end of the pay scale. But wouldn't it be a better idea to simply upgrade your skills?

Working in the post-retail era requires a resetOne day you head out to your favourite store and it isn’t there anymore. It could be a local specialty shop, part of a major chain or even a department store like Sears, whose stores and catalogues have been around seemingly forever. Retail outlets are disappearing all over, along with the jobs they provide. In…
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