There’s some momentum here, despite Canada’s drawbacks.
Enter Orvis, Crate & Barrel
Orvis recently entered the Canadian market. And Crate & Barrel, which test-mailed two catalogs last year in Canada, plans to open its first store in Toronto next year.
Another cataloger present at this event was Jason Root, vice president of merchandising and print marketing for Smarthome, a cataloger we profiled in last July’s issue of our print magazine. He gave a presentation on Smarthome’s program in Canada; the cataloger has upped its circulation north of the border this year to 300,000 from 70,000 just a few years ago.
Root pointed out that in comparison to the 19 highest ranking U.S. states in terms of sales for Smarthome, as a 20th “state,” Canada ranked 18th in 2004, 13th in 2005, eight last year and to date this year is now up to sixth.
Canada’s population grew by 5.4 percent from 2001 to 2006, pointed out Diane Brisbois, president of the Retail Council of Canada, during her presentation at the Direct Summit. That’s greater than the U.S. population’s growth or any other Western civilization’s growth during that time.
But like all good things Canada, there are challenges that can offset them. Nearly all of Canada’s recent population growth, Brisbois said, has been through immigration. And most immigrants retain their cultural identity here. Unlike the U.S., “Canada’s not a melting pot,” she said. “It’s multi-cultural.”
Nearly half (48 percent) of retail in Canada is focused in six major urban centers. In fact, 80 percent of the Canadian population lives in these urban centers. Although Canadians only have about 65 percent of real personal disposable income per capita that Americans have, measured at an 80 percent rate of exchange, Canadians have unwavering consumer confidence.
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