Montreal heads warehouse shopping

A new study says consumers in Montreal and Calgary are shopping in warehouse clubs in greater numbers than their Toronto counterparts, but that is probably because of market penetration, one of the report's principals says.Doug Romain is the product development manager...

A new study says consumers in Montreal and Calgary are shopping in warehouse clubs in greater numbers than their Toronto counterparts, but that is probably because of market penetration, one of the report’s principals says.

Doug Romain is the product development manager at Nielsen Marketing Research in Markham, Ont.

Romain says, in all likelihood, availability of warehouse clubs to the consumer is the reason why 31% of Montreal shoppers and 28% of Calgary shoppers used this retail format at least once between Aug. 23, 1992 and Aug. 21, 1993, with Toronto consumers trailing at a mere 7%.

He says at the time of the study there were about five warehouse clubs in the Montreal area and two in Calgary, the same number as the Toronto region.

In the greater Toronto area, warehouse clubs have been made to feel unwelcome by some of their retailing rivals, which have used regulatory and other procedures to keep them out.

‘Constant panel’

Nielsen compiled the warehouse club report using a ‘constant panel’ of 6,000 households living in all three cities.

Romain says a constant panel is one that meets all Nielsen’s requirements such as spending, use of id cards, cash register tapes submissions, and so on.

He says this ensures the continuity of the data-gathering.

When it comes to consumer spending, the report says Montreal shoppers are out in front, with 7% of their budgets spent at warehouse clubs. Calgary comes second with 4.4%, with Toronto consumers well back at 1%.

Nevertheless, those same Torontonians spend considerably more each visit than do Montrealers or Calgarians, the report says.

Romain says this suggests there could be a pent-up demand for warehouse shopping among Toronto consumers.