Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

TJX blames Canada … and its Olympics

March 4, 2010

OLYMPICS-ICE HOCKEY/There is always something getting in the way of rising sales.  In the United States, retailers blamed record-setting snow on the East Coast for curbing a spike in February sales

Up in Canada, people were too riveted watching their athletes win a record 14 gold medals, as well as flying moose and beavers, at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in February to go shopping.

Or so said TJX Companies, which operates the Winners chain in the Great White North, in a pre-recorded call on Thursday. Overall, TJX reported that comparable sales rose 10 percent company-wide in February, but only 3 percent in Canada.

Sales there would have been quite a bit higher “were it not for the Olympics keeping Canadians glued to their TVs,” a spokeswoman said on the recording.

She may have a point: The dramatic men’s hockey finale on Sunday, won by Canada in overtime, was the most watched televised event ever in Canadian history, with about 80 percent of the country’s 33 million people catching at least part of the game, and about third of the country watching the entire game.

(Reuters photo)

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