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Canadian Businesses Still Thrive During The Recession

Yesterday, it was reported that Calgary, Alberta is expected to be one of Canada's leaders by helping the nation out of the recession with an impending spending boom. Today, Kristine Owram of The Canadian Press reports that the rest of the country may be following suit.

In her report, Owram notes that some of Canada's major retailers are seeing an increase in sales during this second half of the year. For many of these companies, promotions, lower price points and rewards programs seem to be doing the trick by luring customers into their stores more often.

Owram interviews Jurgen Schreiber , the president and CEO of Shoppers Drug Mart Corp., who remarks that the company's Optimum rewards program allows for customers who are price-conscious to take advantage of further savings during Canada's financial crisis. Shoppers Drug Mart reports that the number of active Optimum cardholders has increased by two million over the past two years to 9.7 million.

In a country inhabiting a little over 30 million people, Shoppers can certainly brag to have a very high membership of their Optimum program. They report that 65% of in-store transactions are currently accompanied by use of the Optimum card. As well, statistics reveal that Optimum members have increased their spending at Shoppers three times greater than that of non-Optimum members between 2004 and 2009.

Says Schreiber: “Whenever you capture your consumer, you have to make sure they’re in and they buy as much as they can. It’s very simplistic, but that’s the way we structure our flyer.”

Martin Schwartz, chief executive of Dorel Industries, also reports that his company has been prosperous throughout the recession. Makers of such goods as bicycles, home furniture and child car seats, Dorel claims that it owes its success to having appropriate price points during the time of an economic downturn.

Says Schwartz: “Retailers are focusing more on what we term opening- to mid-price points as shoppers of every description are gravitating to the big-box outlets.You’ll see quite a variety of demographics in a Wal-Mart these days, many I’m sure who rarely ever shopped there before. We excel in these price-point categories with the majority of our sales in this area.”

Clearly, it is still possible to not only survive but “beat” the recession. With more stories of prosperity among Canadian businesses seeing the light, perhaps signs of the end of the recession are truly getting brighter.

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