U.S. book prices 'could kill' small shops
By Robyn Young: The Daily News. November 2, 2007
Wal-Mart's move may be cheaper for customers, but threatens to finish off independents like Frog Hollow
Independent magazine and book-store owners in Halifax are reeling after an announcement by Wal-Mart Canada yesterday that the retail giant will immediately start selling its reading materials, greeting cards and gift wrap at U.S. cover prices.
As the loonie continues to soar to new heights - topping off at 106.17 cents US Wednesday - Canadian retailers struggle to negotiate deals with American suppliers to develop pricing that's fair for Canadian consumers.
Wal-Mart's announcement makes it one of the first Canadian retailers to offer slashed prices in the competitive magazine and book industry.
Indigo Books and Music Inc. also announced this week that the company - which owns Indigo, Chapters and Coles - has reduced the price of approximately 25,000 titles by anywhere from 5 per cent to 30 per cent.
A news release from the company states: "Best sellers are 30% off everyday, and 40% off for irewards members, bringing many bestselling books to par or better than U.S. prices."
Dina Dickson, manager of Frog Hollow Books in Park Lane Shopping Centre, said the news from both retailers will have an immediate, negative impact on the little guy.
"I've been here for 15 years and I've seen lots of ups and downs, but this one could kill us," she said.
Dickson said the store is already experiencing difficulty because even loyal customers are coming in requesting books at the listed U.S. prices. What they don't understand, she said, is that small stores like Frog Hollow aren't getting any deals from American publishers and are still purchasing books at Canadian prices. She said although they'd love to offer their customers competitive prices like Wal-Mart, there's very little room for movement.
"There's no way, we'd be closed tomorrow if we did it."
Michele Gerard, co-owner of Atlantic News on Morris Street, said it will be difficult for small businesses like hers to match Wal-Mart pricing.
"There's no question there's going to be lots of magazines that I can't compete with," she said.
However, she's not overly concerned about her business, saying the changes in pricing being forced by large retailers may, in the long run, make it better for everybody.
Soar to new heights - This means to get much bigger than before, usually for the first time.
When the pleasant teacher was hired, class enthusiasm soared to new heights.
His salary will soar to new heights if he gets promoted.
In the long run - This means in the distant future, or over a long period of time.
Jeff knows that in the long run, smoking will probably negatively affect his health.
We only have two stores in this area now, but in the long run we hope to attract dozens of businesses to this town.
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