Monthly Archives:April 2019

U.S. retailer Torrid seeks to fill gap in Canada’s plus-size market ( admin posted on April 23rd, 2019 )

While some shoppers may struggle to locate garments in a specific style or colour, Ashlie Callender faces an even greater obstacle: finding clothes that will fit her curvy frame.

“Regular stores, they go up to extra large sometimes, and that’s really like a (size) 10 maybe. So if it’s a stretchy material, I can get away with it,” said the college student, 24.

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“I actually would like shopping, but all of my options are either for people who are really, really old, wearing dress pants all the time – and that’s pretty much it. So I wish there was more.”

READ MORE: Plus-size Old Navy shopper’s selfie goes viral

Callender joined dozens of shoppers who jammed Torrid’s new location in Toronto Eaton Centre for the grand opening of its first store outside of the U.S.

Three more Torrid stores are set to open in the Toronto area this fall, joining homegrown plus-size retailers Addition Elle and Penningtons, both under the banner of Montreal-based Reitmans Canada Ltd.

The plus-size brand is already familiar to Canadians, who account for more than half of Torrid’s international business online, said CEO Lisa Harper.

Torrid CEO Lisa Harper is seen in this undated handout photo. Plus-size retailer Torrid recently announces plans for expansion beyond the U.S. with the opening of its first location in Toronto on September 1, 2015.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Torrid, Chad Sengstock

The retailer has more than 280 stores across the U.S. and ships to more than 150 countries. Torrid is a full-service apparel and accessories shop offering separates, denim, handbags and footwear.

Harper said the company expects to open about 10 stores in Canada in 2016, and has been eyeing British Columbia, Calgary and Edmonton as potential expansion sites.

While they don’t yet have a Canadian-specific e-commerce site, Harper said they’ll have an option for shoppers to ship items to stores at no additional cost.

Canadian prices will also initially be slightly higher to offset the exchange rate, she added.

“We are very cautious about that, and it is not an across-the-board decision. It’s really on an item-by-item basis….

“Obviously, we would hope that it would be for the short term,” she added.

READ MORE: Plus-size model Tess Holliday leads body-positive movement

Torrid is seeking to help fill a sizable void in Canadian retail for full-figured consumers.

A 2013 report from the NPD Group found that plus sizes represent 32 per cent of the “special size” clothing category, which also includes tall, petite and junior.

Two-thirds of plus-size women reported shopping for larger clothes was more stressful than shopping for traditional sizes, with limited merchandise cited among the main causes.

“Coming from the wholesale side of the fashion business, you do have to pay a premium for clothes that are either plus-sized or petite,” said Sandy Silva, director of fashion and beauty at the NPD Group.

“Oftentimes you have to make a minimum order to have the garment produced, and I think that is a huge barrier to entry for this market in Canada.”

Most national retailers which offer extending sizing have a “fairly basic assortment,” she noted.

“They don’t really have the wealth or array of fun, fashionable, sexy styles that plus-size women want as well as a regular-size woman.”

Prior to launching her plus-size lifestyle blog KillerKurves杭州龙凤 in 2012, Karyn Johnson fielded countless inquiries about where she found clothes and boots to fit her legs.

“If you had a certain look in your mind, like ‘I want a cute summer dress,’ you had to go online, you had to Google it and really go on a search to find what you were looking for,” said Johnson.

“It’s been difficult to find the options that you want, and not to be able to go to a mall and just shop at every single store. A lot of malls don’t even have plus-sized options.”

Torrid brand ambassador Georgina Burke said it’s been eye-opening to observe the reaction among plus-size women when they’re able to find clothes that fit.

“I would give them an outfit to put on and it’s crazy how they won’t show their arms, their legs, parts of their bodies they don’t like,” said the plus-size Australian model. “It’s so exciting to break down those barriers and let them embrace their bodies.”

Two of Hollywood’s hottest comic actresses have made a foray into plus-size fashion.

Pitch Perfect star Rebel Wilson will design a limited-edition holiday line for Torrid. Emmy winner Melissa McCarthy of Mike & Molly and Bridesmaids fame recently launched her own collection, which is carried at Penningtons.

“It’s great because she’s including all shapes and sizes,” said Diana Di Poce, editor-in-chief of Dare Magazine, a Canadian online magazine focused on plus-size fashion.

“I think that that’s something I’d like to see more of.”

©2015The Canadian Press

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Traffic relief down the road for Île-Perrot residents – Montreal ( admin posted on April 23rd, 2019 )

NOTRE-DAME-DE-L’ÎLE-PERROT – There may be some relief to the traffic nightmare that was set off when roadwork began last week near Highway 20.

The town of Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot met with Transports Quebec Tuesday morning to discuss alternative solutions after a week of jammed rush hour traffic.

Officials said they’ve reached an agreement to change the synchronization of the lights at the intersection of Grand Boulevard.

READ MORE: Off-island traffic problems infuriate drivers

This will hopefully help the flow of vehicles heading east in the morning and west in the evening.

According to town spokesperson Eric Leclerc, the target wait time for a car to reach the Galipeault Bridge is 10 minutes – a big difference from the one to two hours that residents claim they have been facing recently.

Motorists reacted nastily last week as work began, claiming that it now takes them double the time to get to work.

Construction is expected to last until Oct. 2016.

WATCH: Never-ending Île-Perrot traffic

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Albertans owe the most with average debt burden of $27,300 ( admin posted on April 23rd, 2019 )

TORONTO – Canadians are still adding to household debt, but at a slower pace than earlier in the year, according to a new study from Equifax.

The credit rating agency says debt for those with a credit file, which includes most adults, rose two per cent in the second quarter of 2015 after rising 2.7 per cent in the first quarter.

Total consumer debt now amounts to $1.568 trillion, with the average debt load, excluding mortgage debt, totalling $21,164.

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Alberta debts

Albertans top the list, with an average of $27,313 in consumer debt for every person with a credit file.

Yet Equifax says the average debt load in the oil-rich province ticked 0.1 per cent lower from the second quarter of 2014.

Equifax said Canadians are adding to consumer debt to buy new cars, with auto loans increasing by 3.9 per cent from the same period last year.

The all-in picture of household balance sheets in Canada shows more of the same — Canadians continuing to pile on debt to make big-ticket purchases.

Statistics Canada said last week the amount of household credit market debt to disposable income in the second quarter rose to 164.6 per cent from 163.0 per cent in the first quarter as debt grew faster than income.

That means Canadians owed nearly $1.65 in debt on everything from mortgages to consumer loans for every dollar of disposable income — a new record.

Click here to view data »

WATCH: A new survey from the Canadian Payroll Association shows Canadians are having a hard time saving money. Global BC’s Nadia Stewart reports.

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Technology making Amber Alert system more effective ( admin posted on April 23rd, 2019 )

EDMONTON – Experts say modern technology has made Canada’s already efficient Amber Alert system even more effective in recent years.

Christy Dzikowicz of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection says smartphones and social media ensure that key details, such as descriptions of children believed to be in danger, reach people who are on the go and more likely to note suspicious activity than someone confined at home.

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She says the recent presumed abduction of Alberta toddler Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette is a good example, noting word of her disappearance and a description of the vehicle in which she was last seen have circulated across the country.

UPDATE 9 P.M. MT: Remains of two-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette found, Amber Alert dropped

Such wide-spread dissemination, she says, has made the system an extremely effective tool that helps recover kids in the vast majority of cases.

Dzikowicz says Canadians who see details of a missing child in their region need to ensure the system’s effectiveness by acting on the information as best they can.

“People that are in their commute, that are sitting on a transit bus or on a subway…A lot of people hear this information and they go, ‘oh my gosh, that’s really sad,’ as opposed to going, ‘ok, this is awful, I’m going to keep my eyes open,’” Dzikowocz said in a telephone interview.

Canada’s Amber Alert system has been implemented across all 10 Canadian provinces since 2004, though Dzikowicz says none of the territorial governments have put the system in place.

Amber Alerts were first launched in the United States after the 1996 abduction and murder of nine-year-old Amber Hagerman in Arlington, Texas.

The system, named after Hagerman and dubbed America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response, was originally designed to interrupt TV and radio broadcasts with crucial facts about a child under 18 who was believed to be in danger from an abduction.

Dzikowicz says the Canadian provinces are each responsible for their own systems and originally followed the U.S. model very closely.

Over the years, however, Canadian criteria for an Amber Alert has been broadened in the wake of some high-profile cases, most notably the 2009 slaying of eight-year-old Tori Stafford from Woodstock, Ont.

READ MORE: ‘It’s hard:’ 5 years later, Tori Stafford’s dad still haunted by her death

For an Amber Alert to be triggered under the old criteria, police had to believe a child under 18 had just been abducted, consider the child to be in danger of serious bodily harm, and have enough descriptive information of a suspect or vehicle.

Under the new rules, ushered in after Stafford’s death, police need only suspect, not confirm an abduction and are not required to have detailed descriptions of an abductor or vehicle.

The alert for Dunbar-Blanchette conforms to these new guidelines, since her alleged abductor or abductors are unknown and the vehicle in which she is believed to have been taken is only described as a white van with a large rear antenna sporting a flag.

Dzikowicz said another key distinction from the U.S. system is the way in which alerts are received.

American smartphone users receive automatic push notifications when an alert is issued in their region, but Canadians have to sign up to receive such services.

She urged Canadians to opt in and do their part when the time comes.

“We need to motivate people to really recognize that it’s possible that they could be the one who finds this child.”

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Seat projections show a tight race but one thing’s (almost) certain – a minority government – National ( admin posted on April 23rd, 2019 )

The Conservative party is projected to pick up ten more seats than it was last week, drawing within four of the leading NDP.

And while they still have a sizable 15-seat lead over the third-place Liberals, Barry Kay, a politics professor at Wilfrid Laurier University said an election night victory is still up for grabs by any party.

But one thing is likely to happen: a minority government.

“I wouldn’t put a lot of money on anybody coming first, second, or third,” he said.

“The only thing I would put money on is nobody has a snowball’s chance of getting a majority. Now the leading party is 50 seats away from it, we had them more like 40 seats away from it a couple of weeks ago.”

The latest outlook from the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy (LISPOP) projects the NDP could pick up 120 seats, the Conservatives 116, and the Liberals 101. The projections are based on aggregated and weighted samples of polls from Ipsos, Nanos, Abacus, Ekos, Forum, and Innovative Research with a sample size of over 8,000 respondents.

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Most of the Conservatives’ gains came in Ontario. Last week they were projected to pick up 42 seats, now Kay projects they could win 53.

“The Conservatives coming back to 53 seats which is where they were two weeks ago, is largely a result of the losses from the NDP and Liberals in Ontario,” Kay said in an interview Tuesday morning.

Ontario and British Columbia remain the most competitive areas in the country. The Conservatives dominate in Alberta and the Prairies, while the NDP and Liberals have their strongholds in Quebec, and Atlantic Canada, respectively.

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Click to explore the latest seat projections in your riding

Conservative
Leaning Conservative
Liberal
Leaning Liberal
NDP
Leaning NDP
Bloc Québécois
Leaning Bloc Québécois
Too Close to Call
Independent

Note: “Leaning” indicates a 5% to 10% lead. “Too Close to Call” indicates a difference under 5%. Courtesy of Lispop桑拿按摩.

And while the numbers suggest the NDP has a slight lead, any of the three main parties could still win, Kay said.

“It’s not just a two-way horserace. It’s a three-way horserace,” Kay said. “But there’s no question that even though the Liberals have been in third place for the last three months… they could still win because there’s not that many seats needed to overtake.”

READ MORE: You can vote right now, if you want to – what you need to know

When it comes to an aggregated popular opinion, Kay said the Liberals and Conservatives are tied at 34 per cent support. The NDP trails with 26. In order to win, Kay said, the Liberals would have to target rural ridings where they are competitive.

“Some momentum in smaller town Ontario would pick up a whole bunch of seats,” he said. “So the Liberals are very much within shooting distance.”

Follow @jamesarmstrong7

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