Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

TJX blames Canada … and its Olympics


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.

Wal-Mart’s Black Koi aims to suit Asian shoppers


wmthq.jpgIn Wal-Mart’s rocky attempts to sell trendy clothes a couple years ago it learned some very important lessons — one being that it is difficult to sell a huge volume of skinny jeans to your shoppers when analysts say the average American woman wears a size 12 to 14. 

Since its fashion foray fumble, Wal-Mart has since gone back to the drawing board and is now trying to tailor its stores to meet local demand. 

Check Out Line: Rite Aid drags down Jean Coutu results


eckerd.jpgCheck Out poor sales at U.S. pharmacy chain Rite Aid dragging down quarterly results at Jean Coutu Group, the Canadian drugstore chain that owns about a third of Rite Aid and reported its quarterly results today.

Jean Coutu, which is required by Canadian law to include Rite Aid’s results with its own, reported a steep second-quarter loss of 16 Canadian cents a share for the quarter ended Aug. 30, compared with a profit of 3 Canadian cents a share for the comparable quarter last year.  ($1=$1.08 Canadian)

Saks goes Canadian, eh


saks.jpgCanadian fashionistas will now be able to order from, as the luxury department store bids to snatch part of the estimated US$16 billion Canadian market for online retail goods.

This is the first time orders submitted on will be shipped outside the United States, says Saks spokeswoman Julia Bentley.

Check Out Line: Wal-Mart cuts prices in Canada


walmart-milk.jpgCheck Out Wal-Mart’s price cuts for eggs, milk, butter and bread in Ontario, Canada.

If you are counting pennies but still want that morning coffee and omelet, you can now buy one- and two-liter milk cartons for $1.77 and $2.97 respectively or a dozen large eggs for $1.97, if you shop at Wal-Mart’s Ontario stores.