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Black Friday: Will supply chain woes short your shopping spree? Experts aren’t worried –



As supply chain issues continue to hamper some parts of the economy and shoppers gear up for Black Friday, experts are predicting a rush of in-store shoppers in outlets across the country.

According to Bruce Winder, a Toronto-based retail analyst and author, Black Friday is shaping up to be “very interesting” this year for Canadian shoppers.

As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold over much of the previous year, millions of Canadians were forced to rely on online shopping to fulfil their Black Friday and holiday shopping needs. But that same pandemic also took its toll on the global supply chain, resulting in widespread shortages particularly for retailers selling electronics.

But would the 2021 global supply chain crisis, and its increased possibility for shipping delays, move even more people to physical locations instead of keeping to the online storefront? Winder and other experts suggest that its likely, but that there’s also the addition of customers feeling the itch to come back after a virtually non-existent year of in-store browsing and buying.

Read more:
Canadians to spend big on holidays, return to shopping malls, surveys say

“So people want to get out there; they’re tired of staying indoors,” said Winder.

“The novelty of shopping is still alive and well and people want to get out there, have some fun and shop.”

That sentiment to return to normal indoor shopping is one that’s shared very strongly by Canadians, according to those at the Retail Council of Canada (RCC).

According to the organization’s annual holiday shopping survey of over 2,500 Canadians from coast to coast, many more Canadians are feeling “much more optimistic” this year when it comes to shopping.

Click to play video: 'Warning signs you’re in over your head financially'

Warning signs you’re in over your head financially

Warning signs you’re in over your head financially

“They have a strong desire to return to a more normal holiday traditions,” said Michelle Wasylyshen, a spokesperson for the RCC.

“We’re in a very different situation this year — we have vaccinations, we have stores that have had now over a year to have their safety protocols in place. We have removal of the more aggressive restrictions that were taking place in many regions across Canada.”

The survey also found that the majority Canadians were planning to shop much earlier this year in order to take advantage of holiday sales and product availability, with 36 per cent planning to begin their holiday shopping in November and as many as 30 per cent having already begun their shopping before that month.

And while Winder and the RCC both pointed to the impending influx of in-store shoppers tomorrow, both were quick to not entirely discount the impact the global supply chain snaggle would have on the availability of certain products and items.

Read more:
Ho Ho … uh oh! How supply chain woes could affect your holiday shopping

“People realize this, a lot of media coverage of supply chain issues, and if you’re a consumer, you’re thinking you better get out there now or get online now and take advantage of this,” said Winder.

Wasylyshen said that the RCC’s message to consumers this years has been to “shop earlier and be flexible.”

“There is still going to be an impact, we know that certainly in some retail categories, there’s going to be a more difficult time this year getting product,” said Wasylyshen.

However, the depth of any such holiday discount — and product availability — is expected to be greatly influenced by the size of the individual retailers themselves.

Click to play video: 'Ask an Expert: Black Friday shopping'

Ask an Expert: Black Friday shopping

Ask an Expert: Black Friday shopping

Huge retail giants like Amazon and Walmart have been preparing for Black Friday over the course of the year and already have “amazing” supply chains in place allowing them to offer deep discounts and offload more inventory, according to Winder.

On the other hand, smaller brick and mortar stores may offer less of a markdown in comparison and are more likely to have a “spotty” inventory coupled with inflation.

According to University of Toronto marketing professor David Soberman, Black Friday will have a lot to do with “three forces” coming together at once: “pandemic fever,” supply chain issues and a major push from Canadian retailers to take advantage of the day itself.

Read more:
Canadians plan to shop in-person, spend more during holidays: survey

“I just think there’s going to be a lot more shopping than there was last year for sure. And, you know, time will tell whether it’s going to be at pre-pandemic levels,” he said.

When asked whether there were worries boiling over a larger than expected crowd of shoppers tomorrow at shopping centres across the country, several of Canada’s largest retail investment and development companies said that measures have been put in place to keep shoppers safe.

Click to play video: 'Black Friday spending tips'

Black Friday spending tips

Black Friday spending tips

Senior vice-president of Cadillac Fairview Tom Knoepfel said that “additional” measures have been introduced in their malls, while William Correia, director of Yorkdale Shopping Centre, said that they’ve extended Black Friday shopping hours.

Knoepfel, who referenced the results of the RCC survey, said that Canadians were going to spend more on holiday shopping and visit more brick-and-mortar stores this year.

“We’re hopeful this means traffic will be increased at our shopping centres over the holiday season, but we do not anticipate the same levels as years prior to the pandemic as shoppers are expected to start their holiday shopping early,” he said.

with files from The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Canada’s First Quantum agrees to higher payments at Panama copper mine



The Panamanian unit of Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals has agreed with Panama’s government to increase royalty payments at its flagship copper mine, the company and the government said on Monday.

Minera Panama, which is majority owned by First Quantum Minerals, has agreed to pay $375 million a year to state coffers from the Cobre Panama mine, which it says is one of world’s largest copper producers.

“We accept the proposal of the national Government, while requesting that the necessary protections be provided in order to safeguard the continuity of the operation,” Minera Panama said in a statement.

The company did not immediately respond to a question about the size of the increase in royalty payments

Panama‘s government said President Laurentino Cortizo would give details of the agreement on Tuesday.

The company began negotiating a new contract with officials in September, after Cortizo promised to seek a fairer deal with better public benefits.

Toronto-based First Quantum began commercial operations at Cobre Panama, about 120 km (75 miles) west of Panama City, in 2019.

The mine contributes 3.5% of the country’s gross domestic product, according to government figures, and at full capacity can produce more than 300,000 tonnes of copper per year.


(Reporting by Elida Moreno, writing by Daina Beth Solomon, editing by Richard Pullin)

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U.N. chief urges business to help poor nations in ‘hour of need’



U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed to business leaders on Monday to support developing countries “in their hour of need” with access to COVID-19 vaccines, help to combat the climate crisis and reform of the global financial system.

Speaking virtually to the World Economic Forum, Guterres said: “Across all three of these areas, we need the support, the ideas, the financing and the voice of the global business community.”

He said there has been a “global inability to support developing countries in their hour of need” and warned that without immediate action inequalities and poverty would deepen, fueling more social unrest and more violence.

“We cannot afford this kind of instability,” said Guterres, who began a second five-year term as U.N. chief on Jan. 1.

He has long been pushing for more global action to address COVID-19 vaccine inequity and climate change and for reform of the global financial system.

“We need a global financial system that is fit-for-purpose. This means urgent debt restructuring and reforms of the long-term debt architecture,” Guterres said.

The World Health Organization last year set targets for 40% of people in all countries to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of 2021 and 70 per cent by the middle of this year.

“We are nowhere near these targets. Vaccination rates in high-income countries are — shamefully — seven times higher than in African countries. We need vaccine equity, now,” Guterres said.

He also warned of a lopsided recovery from the pandemic with low-income countries at a huge disadvantage.

“They’re experiencing their slowest growth in a generation,” Guterres said. “The burdens of record inflation, shrinking fiscal space, high interest rates and soaring energy and food prices are hitting every corner of the world and blocking recovery — especially in low- and some middle-income countries.”


(Reporting by Michelle Nichols, Editing by Franklin Paul)

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'I'm out of gas:' Leadership burnout on the rise as pandemic takes mental health toll – CTV News



Workers turn to them for support, clients rely on them for answers, companies lean on them in times of crisis.

Yet as the pandemic stretches inexorably on, experts say the never-ending demands on business leaders are pushing some to the brink of burnout.

Stress, uncertainty and long hours are causing malaise among many managers. It’s a condition that — if left unchecked long enough — can manifest as exhaustion, disengagement, depression and burnout, they say.

“Leaders are under tremendous strain,” says Paula Allen, global leader and senior vice-president of research and total well-being at LifeWorks.

“When the pandemic first started, we saw the adrenalin kick in, decisions were made fast and work got done,” she says. “But it’s been relentless. Leaders are exhausted.”

It’s not just people in charge hitting a wall 22 months, five waves and multiple variants into the COVID-19 pandemic.

New research has found an extreme level of exhaustion among many Canadian workers from the bottom to the top. Many say they’re more stressed now than during initial lockdowns.

Essential front-line workers from nurses to grocery store clerks have faced innumerable risks of infection. Others face precarious employment without sick days or benefits. Some have lost their jobs altogether and struggle to pay rent and buy food.

In comparison to these hardships, some might be quick to dismiss the challenges of leaders.

Yet many have reported an increase in exhaustion and mental health concerns since the start of the pandemic.

Supervisors, low-level managers, small business owners and senior executives are grappling with increasing demands and surging work volumes.

Many are putting in extra hours to keep things running while also providing support and encouragement to workers.

“Business leaders are supposed to be cheerleaders,” says Mike Johnston, president and CEO of Halifax software company Redspace.

“But we’ve been trying to hustle and pivot and get through this for so long now. I’m out of gas.”

For some managers, the inability to offer more certainty and support to workers is what keeps them up at night.

“When you’re the leader of a group of people you want to have all the answers,” says Barry Taylor, director of operations for The Ballroom, a large entertainment venue in downtown Toronto.

“But you don’t and you just feel helpless and burnt out.”

Experts say late-stage pandemic fatigue is taking a toll on many managers, with some veering towards burnout.

The symptoms can include emotional exhaustion, detachment, loss of motivation and reduced efficiency — all of which can have a ripple effect throughout an entire workplace, they say.

“It’s exhausted leaders leading exhausted teams,” says Jennifer Moss, a Waterloo, Ont.-based workplace consultant and author of The Burnout Epidemic: The Rise of Chronic Stress and How We Can Fix It.

“Managers are trying to be stoic and demonstrate strength and certainty for their employees when many don’t feel that themselves.”

Pandemic burnout isn’t unique to leaders, but she says there are particular stressors facing those in charge.

“It can be more isolating at the top,” Moss says. “Senior leaders and managers can sometimes feel very alone.”

There’s also a perception that because people in management positions “earn the big bucks” they should be prepared to cope with the additional responsibility and stress, she says.

“We sometimes forget there’s a human behind that role and regardless of how much they’re being paid, how much they earn, it doesn’t fix the grief and the pain and the stress that they’re dealing with,” Moss says.

The perception that managers should demonstrate unwavering leadership and steadfast support of their workers can increase fears of seeking help, experts say.

“There’s a definite stigma,” says Chantal Hervieux, associate professor of strategy at Saint Mary’s University’s Sobey School of Business and director of the school’s MBA program and Centre for Leadership Excellence.

“There’s less acceptance for leaders to talk about mental health issues.”

Leaders are expected to be in control, have the answers and be supportive of their team members, she says.

Despite the near constant uncertainty and upheaval of the pandemic, those expectations have remained the same — or increased, Hervieux says.

“Canadian business leaders are working hard to keep things going but some are suffering,” she says. “They’re paying a mental health price and we need to talk about it.”

The challenge of trying to lead during the pandemic is backed up by research.

A survey by LifeWorks and Deloitte Canada released last summer found 82 per cent of senior leaders reported feeling exhausted.

The poll found the top two stressors were an increase in work volume compared to pre-pandemic levels, and the desire to provide adequate support for the well-being of staff.

More than half of those polled said they were considering leaving their roles.

“I’ve been chatting with other CEOs and there seems to be a shift,” Johnston with Redspace says. “There’s a number of founders looking to get out, to exit. The fun of the chase isn’t balanced against the stress of it.”

Still, despite some of the unique pressures facing leaders, burnout appears to be impacting all workers.

A new Bromwich+Smith poll conducted by Angus Reid found more than 70 per cent of people surveyed are worried about their physical and mental health, including sleep issues, fear of COVID-19 and burnout.

Another study by Canada Life found a high level of burnout among Canadian workers. The survey conducted by Mental Health Research Canada found more than a third of all working Canadians are feeling burned out.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2022.

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