Consumer shifts put retail hiring at record low

Online shopping and automation means fewer positions to be filled on the floor

A new report says employment in Canada’s retail sector will hit a multi-year low in 2016 as companies adopt technology and trim costs in response to a weak growth in consumer spending.

The Conference Board of Canada says the total number of jobs in grocery, clothing, department, home improvement, furniture and appliance stores will reach a multi-year low of 1.26 million in 2016, a decrease of 2.6 per cent from 2015.

The Ottawa-based think-tank says the growth of online shopping and self-checkout terminals is helping retailers reduce labour costs.

A gradual pickup over the next few years is expected to raise employment by 2021 to the level of 2013, according to the report released Tuesday.

The Conference Board says fragile consumer confidence – weighed down by record levels of consumer debt – will continue to weigh on household budgets and curtail spending over the next couple of years.

While debt will have a bigger effect on major purchases such as houses and vehicles, it says some consumers will remain more sensitive to prices when buying groceries, making it harder for retailers to pass on cost increases to consumers.

Add a comment

You must be to comment.

Consumer Articles

A CEO’s tips for using DIY video in consumer marketing (Column)

Vidyard's Michael Litt argues against outdated 'text tunnel vision'

What ‘customer centricity’ means to me

The season of giving is a good reminder to keep giving back

More Canadians to cross the border for Black Friday

UPS study shows many more Canadians shopping online or in store in the U.S.

Natrel whips up lactose-free butter option

Agropur Dairy to promote product with digital and in-store campaigns

Cold-FX class action lawsuit over misleading ads thrown out

Judge says Vancouver man couldn't effectively prove his claim

‘Suck it up,’ says Fisherman’s Friend in flu campaign

The lozenge maker sticks to its tough roots in TV spots

Harry Rosen’s secret to winning customer loyalty

Menswear company's founder keeps his eyes on what's next in style and design

Which shoppers are affected most by high food prices?

New study reveals pre-shopping habits and food vulnerability in food retailing

Win over the geeks and win the internet!

They're tough to reach, but Imgur's founder shows how to reach the ultimate influencers