National retailers surveyed last week by
Retail Council of Canada point to British Columbia as their strongest market,
and say the back-to-school sales season has increasingly become

“We're finding the range of retailers affected by this sales season is
broader than those who sell school-related merchandise – and BC is leading the
way,” said Kevin Evans, Retail Council's Vice-President, Western Canada. “Fall
has become a time when families and small businesses make purchase decisions
that have been delayed over the summer and begin preparing for indoor living
and a return to the regular work pace.”

Retail Council conducted in-depth interviews with small, mid and large-
sized retailers collectively operating more than 10,000 stores as part of its
quarterly Retail Conditions Report.

“The comeback showing for BC is in part due to a comparison with a pretty
soft 2003,” Evans said. “But our members are definitely seeing a stronger,
more confident consumer.”

Retail categories beyond back-to-school that are experiencing increased
sales include home improvement and apparel – which is showing growth after several sluggish years. This year, with the later start of the school year, the back-to-school
sales season is expected to extend well into September.