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'Cautious consumer' to remain until COVID-19 vaccine, Indigo CEO says – Thompson Citizen

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TORONTO — Canadian customers likely won’t start frequenting stores for items not on their shopping list until there’s a vaccine for COVID-19, Indigo Books & Music Inc. founder and chief executive said Friday.

“I think our own view is that customers will continue well, well into the months ahead to make shopping an activity they do when they have something specific to buy,” Heather Reisman said during a conference call with analysts. The company released its first-quarter financial results after markets closed Thursday.

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Foot traffic is “still way down” for the book retailer, which shuttered all its stores to help stop the spread of the coronavirus and only reopened nearly all 182 of its locations by the end of its most recent quarter.

The Toronto-based company’s revenue for the 13 weeks ended June 27 fell to $135.1 million from $192.6 million due to store closures. It recorded a net loss of about $31.6 million or $1.15 per common share compared with a loss of about $19.1 million or 69 cents per share in the same quarter last year.

Since reopening, retail store sales have tracked at about 72 per cent of sales at the same time last year, said chief financial officer Craig Loudon.

However conversion and average transaction size are both “way up,” noted Reisman.

“So, that’s saying that you’ve got a deliberate customer and we think that that’s going to remain, frankly, until there’s a vaccine.”

In Canada, people watch the news and are afraid of the virus, she said.

“So, all in all, we predict that the retail consumer will remain a cautious consumer,” she said.

The company is working to make the shopping experience easy and safe and is planning for the important holiday shopping season although it remains to be seen how consumers behave during a usually busy period.

The company accelerated efforts during the first quarter to help serve customers safely during the holiday season, including “a robust click-and-collect capability and Instacart service,” said Reisman. These efforts should be implemented in the current quarter.

The company’s e-commerce revenue grew threefold, jumping up 214 per cent for the quarter compared with last year. That demand “has moderated, but remained strong” as stores reopened, said Loudon.

Indigo’s shares, which have plunged from a high of $8.06 last August, surged 19 per cent or 20 cents at $1.25 in afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 7, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:IDG)

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Students to go into isolation after 1st COVID-19 outbreak declared at Toronto school – CBC.ca

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Toronto Public Health has asked two classes of elementary students to go into isolation after it declared an outbreak of COVID-19 at the school this week.

Two students have tested positive for the virus at Glen Park Public School, 101 Englemount Ave., near Lawrence Avenue West and Bathurst Street, in North York. The school runs from kindergarten to grade six.

The two infected students have been isolated to recover from their illness.

Of the classes that have been asked to go into isolation, one has 17 students while the other has 18 students, Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city’s medical officer of health told reporters at a city hall briefing on Friday.

All of the students have been asked to go home as they remain in isolation for 14 days. A teacher is isolating as well.

Ryan Bird, spokesperson for the Toronto District School Board, said in an email to CBC Toronto on Saturday that the students are in split grade 5/6 classes.

“At this point, Glen Park is the only outbreak at the TDSB,” Bird said.

According to De Villa, an school outbreak is defined by the province as at least two confirmed cases of COVID-19 within a 14-day period and with a link to a school setting.

“One of the realities of living in a world with COVID-19 is that there will be cases in schools,” de Villa said on Friday.

“Today’s news is expected. I expect there will be similar announcements in the future and you can be confident the steps developed to manage the situation and reduce the risk of spread will be followed.”

Parents have been notified in writing.

De Villa said the school is following all infection prevention and control measures closely. These measures include requiring students and staff to wear masks and enhanced cleaning of the school.

For a complete list of COVID-19 cases at TDSB schools, the board has created a COVID-19 Advisories webpage.

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SHA warns of COVID-19 exposure at 3 Saskatoon businesses – CKOM News Talk Sports

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The Saskatchewan Health Authority is warning people in Saskatoon about a potential COVID-19 exposure at three businesses.

A person or group of people were likely infectious with the coronavirus while being at Walmart Supercentre on 225 Betts Avenue on Sept. 19 between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., Planet Fitness at Market Mall on Sept. 22 between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. and KFC at 1808 McOrmond Drive on Sept. 23 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Health officials are asking anyone who was at these locations during the noted dates and times to monitor for symptoms for 14 days and call HealthLine 811 to arrange for testing if symptoms develop.

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Protest being held to ‘end the lockdown’ in downtown Toronto – 680 News

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Over a hundred people gathered at Yonge-Dundas Square Saturday afternoon, many without masks and with little social distancing, calling for an end to the lockdown.

A group on Facebook called “The Line” appeared to be the organizers of the event, which they called the “March for Freedom.”

The protesters are currently walking up Yonge Street towards Bloor Street.

Police are assisting in directing traffic elsewhere to allow for them to pass safely.

Ontario is currently in Stage 3 of their COVID-19 reopening plan, with most businesses allowed to be open.

However, the province has recently introduced new restrictions for bars and restaurants and social gatherings have also been limited to 25 people outdoors and 10 people indoors.

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