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BMO Financial Group
BMO Bank of Montreal

BMO Bank of Montreal

December 08, 2010 09:00 ET

REPEAT-BMO Survey: Local Businesses in B.C. to Get a Boost from 'Close to Home' Holiday Shopping

- More than half (55 per cent) of British Columbians plan to support local businesses in their holiday gift buying for work

- Customer service was the top influencer when deciding where to shop

- Four in ten (43 per cent) say they will shop at independent or boutique stores

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 8, 2010) - A study from BMO Bank of Montreal released today found that 55 per cent of British Columbians plan to support local businesses when gift buying for work. The survey also found that roughly six in 10 customers said better customer service would influence where they shop this season.

"For many businesses, the holiday shopping season is the most important sales period in the year, and it is a great opportunity for shoppers to support their local businesses when out buying gifts and picking up the necessities for holiday celebrations," said Cathy Pin, Vice-President, BMO Commercial Banking. "Business owners are generally quite optimistic about their business prospects, and there is a growing confidence that will help promote future growth in 2011," added Pin.

The survey also found:

  • Four-in-ten (43 per cent) B.C. shoppers said they would shop at independent or boutique stores for holiday gifts, and only one in seven (15 per cent) are planning to head south of the border
  • In addition to better customer service, top enticements for B.C. shoppers are giveaways (50 per cent), the opportunity to participate in a loyalty program (41 per cent) and new products (40 per cent)
  • Canadian women are more likely than men to say businesses offering a free gift would influence them the most (49 per cent vs. 37 per cent)

"Retails sales over the November/December period are expected to continue growing at a healthy rate this year at 4 per cent, only slightly down from 4.3 per cent this time last year," said Sal Guatieri, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "This remains a solid gain for the industry and bodes well for retailers this holiday shopping season."

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