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  1. Can Richard Baker reinvent The Bay? MARINA STRAUSS From Monday's Globe and Mail NEW YORK — Richard Baker, the new owner of retailer Hudson's Bay Co.,mingled with the New York fashion elite as the lights dimmed for designer Peter Som's recent show, offering opinions and taking a close look at the latest in skirts and dresses. It's a stark contrast to previous HBC owner Jerry Zucker, who HBC insiders had a hard time picturing with fashionistas in New York. But Mr. Baker, who made his name in real estate, knows it is time for a new approach at the struggling retailer. “As an entrepreneur I'm not necessarily fixated on how things were done in the past,” says Mr. Baker. “We function and we think much more like a specialty retailer rather than a department store retailer. A specialty retailer is much more nimble and willing to adjust to the environment than department stores, historically. Department stores, frankly, haven't changed a whole lot in 100 years.” His Purchase, N.Y.-based equity firm, NRDC Equity Partners, has snapped up a string of dusty retailers, among them HBC's underperforming Bay and Zellers. The Bay operates in the department store sector which is on the wane, squeezed for years by specialty and discount chains. Zellers struggles in a low-priced arena dominated by behemoth Wal-Mart Canada Corp. The need for a makeover is clear: The Bay's sales per square foot are estimated at merely $142, and Zellers', $149 – a fraction of the estimated $480 at Wal-Mart Canada. At Lord & Taylor, which also lags some of its key U.S. rivals in productivity, Mr. Baker has had some success in its efforts to return to its high end Americana roots. But the 47-store chain is feeling the pinch of tight-fisted consumers and, late last month, he unveiled a shakeup at the top ranks of his firm's $8-billion (U.S.) a year retail businesses to try to shave costs. Still, he is pouring money into the chains in other ways, quickly distinguishing himself from Mr. Zucker, who died last spring. While the former owner had named himself CEO despite his lack of merchandising experience, the new owner has handpicked a team of seasoned merchants at the senior levels of his retailers. And while Mr. Zucker shunned publicity and focused on more mundane, although critical, matters, such as technology to track customer demand, Mr. Baker enjoys the limelight. Now he is betting on the fragile fashion sector as an engine of growth. Last fall he set up Creative Design Studios (CDS) to develop designer lines for Lord & Taylor, now, HBC and, eventually, retailers around the world. Mr. Baker is “looking at every one of the properties with a different viewpoint,” says Walter Loeb, a former member of HBC's board of directors and a consultant at Loeb Associates in New York. “He has new ideas. He doesn't want to keep Hudson's Bay in its present form.” Nevertheless, “this team has taken over a not particularly healthy business,” says Marvin Traub, a former executive at Bloomingdale's who runs consultancy Marvin Traub Associates in New York. “They know and understand the challenges. It will take some time to fix them.” What Mr. Baker looks for in retailers is faded brands that have the potential to be revived. Early this year, NRDC acquired Fortunoff, an insolvent jewellery and home décor chain. The synergies among NRDC's various retailers are tremendous, says Gilbert Harrison, chairman of New York investment bank Financo Inc., which advises Mr. Baker. So is the value of the real estate. At HBC, it is estimated to be worth $1.2-billion, according to industry insiders. That's just a little more than the equivalent purchase price of the retailer itself. Lord & Taylor's real estate was valued at $1.7-billion (U.S.) when Mr. Baker acquired the company in 2006 – about $500-million more than he bought it for. “Initially I thought, good luck,” says Mr. Gilbert. “He's bought this in one of the most difficult retail environments that we've seen for 20 or 30 years. … “But he's protected his downside because the basic real estate values of Lord & Taylor and, now Hudson's Bay, certainly help prevent tragedy.” Mr. Baker likes to tell the story of buying Lord & Taylor for its real estate, and then on the way to signing the deal noticed how well the stores were performing. Like most other U.S. retailers, Lord & Taylor has seen business slow down recently. But its transformation to appeal to the well heeled had begun even before Mr. Baker arrived. It had dropped an array of tired brands, such as Tommy Hilfiger and Nautica, and picked up trendier labels, among them Coach and Tracy Reese. Mr. Baker encouraged the strategy of expanding and upgrading higher margin designer handbags and footwear. Ditto for denim wear and funky styles in the women's “contemporary” section under hot labels such as Free People and Diesel. “My job is to understand that we need to get the best brands in the store.” But he also saw the opportunity to bolster margins by stocking affordable lines in the form of CDS brands, with a focus now on Black Brown 1826 men's wear line. “I thought there was a void in the market for exactly the kind of clothes that my friends and I wear, at a right price. Why should we pay $150 for a dress shirt?” he asks, holding up one for $69. Now Mr. Baker wants to borrow a leaf from the Lord & Taylor playbook for HBC. He wants to introduce better quality products with higher margins, and plans to add his design studio merchandise to the stores early next year. Besides the details, he sees a whole new concept for the big Bay department stores. It would entail shrinking the Bay, possibly introducing Lord & Taylor within the stores, and adding Zellers in the basement and Fortunoff jewellery departments upstairs, with office space at the top. Lord & Taylor would serve to fill a gap in the retail landscape between the Bay and carriage trade Holt Renfrew, he says. For discounter Zellers, he seems to take inspiration from Target Corp., the fashionable U.S. discounter, by putting more focus on branded apparel. But he's not averse to selling parts of the business, or real estate, if the right offer came along either. “We're always available to sell things at the right price, or buy things at the right price.”
  2. Si vos dollars parlent français, on va vous respecter Vendredi dernier, au Complexe Desjardins, à Montréal, il m'est arrivé une expérience désagréable : je suis tombé sur un vendeur qui ne parlait ni ne comprenait un seul mot de français. Il représentait une marque fétiche pour les joueurs de golf : Talylor Made. Je le souligne, ça se passait au Complexe Desjardins, un des haut-lieux de l'économie québécoise. Or, le type en question était manifestement ennnuyé quand je me suis adressé en lui en français. Il était là pour veiller sur des dizaines de bâtons Taylor Made -la marque avec laquelle jouait Tiger Woods au début de sa carrière. Les gens pouvaient utiliser les bâtons dans des cages d'exercice, encadrés par des filets, pour pratiquer leur élan. Il m'a tout simplement répondu : « I am not from here ». Je ne suis pas d'ici. Et c'est tout. Les insconscients à la direction de l'entreprise n'ont pas su, ou ont négligé, le fait qu'au Complexe Desjardins, comme dans l'ensemble du Québec des années 2000, les affaires se font en français. Là-dessus, trois choses essentielles. Un, je me demande comment les gestionnaires du Complexe Desjardins peuvent accepter pareille dérive. Deux, la marque Taylor Made fait preuve de mépris envers ses clients francophones, Heureusement, les options sont nombreuses, Callaway, Ping, Nike, King Cobra et bien d'autres. Et trois, la seule façon de les obliger à nous servir comme il faut, c'est de les snobber, comme ils nous snobbent. Au début des années 60, il a fallu sortir dans les rues pour changer le cours de l'Histoire. C'était du temps où on ne pouvait se faire servir en français chez Eaton. Eaton a disparu pour manque de vision globale. Il serait dommage de revenir à cette période de soumission. Votez avec votre portefeuille ! Et chaque fois que vous aurez affaire à un magasin, ou une marque, qui ne vous respecte pas, faites-lui payer le prix : allez ailleurs. Posté le 18 mai 2007 à 20:49 PM
  3. Le Québec de M. Parizeau André Pratte La Presse Dans une entrevue accordée au Journal de Montréal, l'ancien premier ministre Jacques Parizeau démolit le rapport Bouchard-Taylor, s'en prenant notamment à ce que dit le document sur les difficultés des immigrants à trouver un emploi. «Ils ne comprennent pas la vie, lance M. Parizeau. Cela restera toujours vrai que chez les immigrants, lors de leurs premières années, le taux de chômage sera toujours plus élevé. Il y a des choses inévitables.» L'économiste a évidemment raison, il n'y a rien d'étonnant à ce que les immigrants arrivés récemment aient plus de difficultés à décrocher un emploi que les Québécois qui sont ici depuis toujours. Ce n'est d'ailleurs pas ce qui inquiète MM. Bouchard et Taylor. Ce qu'ils déplorent, c'est que le taux de chômage des immigrants est sensiblement plus élevé au Québec que dans d'autres provinces du Canada (10,2% contre 6,8% en Ontario). De plus, contrairement à ce que l'on voit dans les provinces voisines, même chez les immigrants installés depuis plus de 10 ans au Québec, la proportion de chômeurs est beaucoup plus élevée que parmi les personnes nées au Québec. «Toutes ces données témoignent d'une réalité difficile, faite de privations et d'angoisses, où affleure parfois la détresse», écrivent les commissaires. Une société développée n'a pas le droit de considérer de tels écarts, une telle souffrance humaine comme «inévitables». «Les commissaires, eux, parlent de discrimination. S'ils avaient comparé ça avec d'autres pays, ils verraient qu'on n'est pas différent ici», ajoute l'ancien premier ministre. C'est précisément ce qu'affirment les auteurs du rapport: «Aucune donnée ne permet d'affirmer que la discrimination est plus présente au Québec qu'ailleurs. Considérant le nombre et la variété des immigrants que Montréal a reçus depuis quelques décennies, le fait vaut d'être signalé.» Enfin, selon M. Parizeau, Gérard Bouchard et Charles Taylor font un «long procès» contre les Québécois de langue française. Or, au contraire, les commissaires décrivent une société moderne et ouverte, capable comme n'importe quelle autre de faire face au défi de l'intégration des immigrants. «Pour tous les Québécois, disent-ils, l'enjeu reste le même: jouerons-nous la carte de la confiance mutuelle et de l'intégration ou glisserons-nous vers la défiance, qui entraînera et accentuera les effets que l'on cherche précisément à éviter - le rejet, le repli, la ghettoïsation et le fractionnement? Jusqu'ici, et il faut s'en réjouir, notre société a su se prémunir contre ces maux.» Ce n'est pas le procès des Québécois que dressent MM. Bouchard et Taylor, mais celui d'une conception dépassée et frileuse du Québec. Un Québec ancien que, paradoxalement, peu de Québécois ont autant contribué à défaire que Jacques Parizeau lui-même. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Parizeau questionne les cibles d'immigration du gouvernement La Presse Canadienne Montréal Jacques Parizeau ne cache pas une profonde préoccupation envers les nouvelles cibles d'immigration que le gouvernement de Jean Charest a fixées pour les trois prochaines années. En entrevue au Journal de Montréal, l'ancien premier ministre du Québec se questionne si on peut passer de 40 000 immigrants par année à 55 000. Il ajoute que cela fait beaucoup de monde à intégrer et qu'il y a des risques à ne pas prendre. En novembre dernier, le gouvernement Charest a haussé les seuils d'immigration pour les trois prochaines années pour atteindre 55 000 nouveaux arrivants en 2010. Le premier ministre Jean Charest a répété à maintes reprises qu'une immigration plus massive est une des solutions au déclin démographique du Québec et à une crise de la main-d'oeuvre. Mais pour M. Parizeau, une telle cible requiert «un niveau de préparation qu'il ne voit pas actuellement». Encore une fois, il juge que les commissaires Charles Taylor et Gérard Bouchard n'ont pas fait les devoirs auxquels on était en droit de s'attendre d'eux. Dans cette entrevue, l'ancien chef du Parti québécois n'a pas manqué de décocher une flèche à l'endroit de Lucien Bouchard. Il lui reproche notamment l'abolition des Centres d'orientation et de formation des immigrants, les COFI. Il croit que ces centres étaient un bon système mais déplore qu'ils aient été supprimés au moment de l'atteinte du déficit zéro.
  4. Le propriétaire de Lord & Taylor Une firme de New York pourrait acquérir La Baie d'Hudson http://argent.canoe.com/lca/infos/canada/archives/2008/07/20080710-075109.html ARGENT Le propriétaire de Lord & Taylor a entamé des discussions en vue d'acquérir la Compagnie de la Baie d'Hudson, une transaction qui, selon certaines sources, pourrait permettre à la chaîne de magasins à rayons américaine de s'implanter au Canada. La firme NRDC Equity Partners of Purchase, de New York, qui possède la chaîne de 47 magasins aux États-Unis, détient déjà une participation de 20% dans HBC, à qui appartient les magasins La Baie, Zellers, Home Outfitters. Le chef de la direction de NRDC, Richard Baker, a mentionné lors d'une conférence récente qu'il envisageait d'ouvrir des magasins à l'extérieur des États-Unis et que le Canada figurait parmi les pays considérés. «Cet acheteur potentiel m'a semblé très déterminé à aller de l'avant», a dit une source informée de discussions récentes avec HBC. Ni M. Baker ni les dirigeants de HBC n'ont voulu commenter l'information mercredi. La destinée de HBC repose entre les mains de la famille de Jerry Zucker, un milliardaire américain qui a acheté le détaillant canadien pour 1,1 milliard de dollars en 2006, mais qui est décédé en avril. Sa veuve, Anita Zucker, a par la suite pris les commandes de l'entreprise. Depuis, la famille a dit vouloir continuer d'exploiter la compagnie, fondée en 1670, ce qui n'a pas empêché plusieurs observateurs de l'industrie de croire qu'elle pourrait changer d'idée. Si elle se concrétise, l'acquisition de HBC par le propriétaire de Lord & Taylor consacrerait le mariage de deux des plus anciens acteurs dans le domaine des chaînes de magasins généralistes. Dans la dernière décennie, cette industrie a été durement touché par la concurrence féroce des magasins spécialisés et des chaînes à bas prix comme Wal-Mart. De leur côté, tant HBC que Lord & Taylor déploient tous deux beaucoup d'efforts depuis environ deux ans afin de rajeunir leur image. Mercredi, des sources citées par le site web Women's Wear Daily affirmaient que la firme NRDC était déterminée à acquérir HBC.
  5. Where to buy now We tell you exactly which neighbourhoods are set to skyrocket in value. MONTREAL A small slice of Europe on this side of the big pond, Montreal has been dubbed Canada’s sexiest city. With a jam-packed festival season that includes the highly rated Just For Laughs comedy festival and the Festival International de Jazz, along with an array of local boutiques, restaurants and bistros, Montreal offers something for everyone—as long as you can find a job. While the national unemployment rate hovers at around 7%, Montreal’s unemployment rate sits at 8.2%. Still, the city saw a 4% rise in its population from 2011 to 2012 and announcements of inner-city rejuvenation—including the new McGill University Health Centre—are helping bolster property prices. Real estate is still cheap compared with other major Canadian cities—the average price of a home on Montreal Island is $481,386, and if you broaden the boundaries and look at the Greater Montreal Area, including the North and South Shores, the average home price is $324,595. “It’s comparatively cheaper than say Toronto or Vancouver, but we also battle to attract jobs,” explains Jeffrey Baker, a realtor with Royal LePage Dynastie. The best real estate opportunities right now are on the island itself. First on our list is the Rosemont/La Petite Patrie area, known locally as Little Italy. “This area is very, very hot,” says Baker. A big reason is that the neighbourhood is on the northern border of the Le Plateau/Mont-Royal area—a vibrant, popular and expensive place located near downtown. “Rosemont/La Petite Patrie isn’t a Plateau want-to-be,” says Baker. “It has its own distinct character. But many people who start out renting in Plateau end up buying here.” In fact, this is what Matthew Taylor, 50, and his 40-year-old Rosa De Leon did earlier this year. “We bought in mid-December after living and renting for 20 years in Plateau-Mont-Royal,” says Taylor, a CEGEP teacher at Dawson College. While the couple originally wanted to purchase in Plateau, they found they were priced out of the market. “Everything we looked at within our budget was far too small for a family of four,” says Taylor. That’s when the couple started looking at other neighbourhoods, eventually settling on a duplex in La Petite Patrie. “We really love checking out the local restaurants,” says Taylor. They aren’t the only ones. In the last three years, as the neighbourhood has become popular with buyers, prices have zoomed up 23%. “This is a high density area with lots of picturesque homes,” Baker says. In recent years many older textile buildings were converted into lofts, explains Amy Assaad, a Royal LePage Heritage realtor. This provided great first-time buyer opportunities, while helping to gentrify the neighbourhood. If the average property price of $468,000 is a bit daunting, consider our next top neighbourhood of Villeray/Saint Michel/Parc-Extension. Directly to the north, this large area has a population of 142,000 residents. The main draw is the neighbourhood’s affordability. Average property prices are more than $100,000 cheaper than neighbouring communities and the area is experiencing dramatic growth. “Lots of condo conversions are taking place in this community,” Assaad says. David Schneider, a Sutton Group Immobilia realtor and history-buff, explains that historically the neighbourhood has been one of the poorest urban communities in Canada. “Cheap rents meant students have been living here for decades. This, in turn, has made the area cool.” The third neighbourhood in our Montreal ranking was South-West (also known as Sud-Ouest). Homes in this area are 11% cheaper than the average Montreal Island home, but area prices have appreciated 40% in the last three years. “I’ve been buzzing about this neighbourhood for the last five years,” says Schneider. “Property values here are undervalued.” It’s an opinion shared by Nikki Tsantrizos, 29, and her partner, Steve Lavigne, 34. Two years ago, the couple started looking in the St. Henri district of South-West for a place to buy. “We’d rented in the area for 10 years and despite being a rough area, just loved it.” That was two years ago. Now, a full reno later, the value of their home has risen 40%. “When we bought there were strip clubs, hotdog stands and poutine shops,” says Tsantrizos. “Now these have been replaced by trendy cafes and boutiques.” But despite being close to downtown, the canal and the Atwater Market, this area’s reputation has been marred by social housing projects. Even so, recent developments are starting to put the community on the map. For instance, a high-tech hospital—slated to open in 2015—is prompting speculation on future home prices. Two other neighbourhoods to consider are Verdun and LaSalle—both on the southern tip of the island. While Verdun is an older neighbourhood (originally settled by the Irish) it’s got a lot of potential. Despite a three-year appreciation of 22%, families may be leery of the area, given its high crime rate. Still, with its close proximity to the canal, downtown, the Métro (Montreal’s subway system) and Concordia University, it’s only a matter of time before the area experiences true gentrification. Homes in LaSalle are also rising, with an 11% increase in the last year alone. “Though it’s much more suburban than the other four neighbourhoods—and not as well-served by transit—it provides a less dense community that’s very family-oriented,” Schneider says. It’s also a place known for having some of the best shopping in the city. http://www.moneysense.ca/property/buy/where-to-buy-now-2
  6. Time for Quebecers to be more open: report Shake off angst. Get used to living in globalized society, Bouchard-Taylor report urges JEFF HEINRICH The Gazette Saturday, May 17, 2008 Learn more English, be nicer to Muslims, get better informed. Those are just some of the ways the unhappy French-Canadian majority in Quebec can shake off its angst about minorities and help build a truly open society in a globalized world, say the authors of a much-anticipated report for the Liberal government on the "reasonable accommodation" of minorities. In several chapters of the final draft obtained by The Gazette, Gérard Bouchard and Charles Taylor argue the "discontent of a large part of the population" over demands by Muslims, Jews and other religious minorities "seems to us the result of partial information and false perceptions." The chairpersons of the $5-million commission address a number of what they call "unfounded objections" to the role of religion in Quebec society, mostly voiced by old-stock francophones during three months of highly publicized hearings last fall. Rebutting those objections, Bouchard, a prominent Chicoutimi sociologist and historian, and Taylor, a world-renowned Montreal philosopher, lay out their vision of a new Quebec coming to terms with kirpans, hijabs, kosher food and other expressions of non-Christian cultures. In Quebec, they say, everyone should feel welcome and the majority should no longer feel under threat by newcomers. "We think it is possible to re-concile Quebecers - franco-phones and others - with practices of harmonization, once it has been shown that: a) these practices respect our society's fundamental values, notably the equality of men and women. b) they don't aim to create privileges but, rather, equality that is well understood and that respects everyone's rights. c) they encourage integration and not marginalization. d) they're framed by guidelines and protected against spiralling out of control. e) they're founded on the principle of reciprocity. f) they don't play the game of fundamentalism. g) they don't compromise the gains of the Quiet Revolution." The final draft is dated March 19, two weeks before the commission announced on its website that the writing of the report was finished and that, after adding a series of recommendations, proofreading the document and translating it into English, it would be sent to the printers. The official report is now in the hands of Premier Jean Charest, who is to present it to cabinet on Wednesday. After a budget-style "lock-up" behind closed doors for journalists Friday morning, the commissioners will hold a news conference to discuss their findings. Broken down into half-a-dozen parts, the voluminous report has more than a dozen chapters and almost as many annexes consisting of a series of research reports, independently produced under special order by the commission. Their subjects relate to the accommodation debate, including media coverage, ethnic ghettos and French-language training for immigrants. In their report, Bouchard and Taylor - but mainly Bouchard, who did the bulk of the writing, insiders say- argue that the responsibility for open-mindedness and desire for change lie mainly with one people: the French Canadians themselves. "It's principally from this milieu that the crisis arose," the commissioners write, adding that many French Canadians "have a strong feeling of insecurity for the survival of their culture." They fear losing their "values, language, tradition and customs" and of eventually "disappearing" entirely as a French-speaking minority in North America. Self-doubt and "the fear of the Other" - are "the two great hindrances from the French-Canadian past," the commissioners write. "In the past, the threat came mainly from the anglophone. Before that, it was the lifestyle brought on by industrialization. Today, for many, it's the immigrant." What Quebec now faces is not the traditional "deux solitudes" of French and English, but rather "deux inquiètudes" - the twin anxieties of the majority and the new minorities, the commissioners say. The "members of a strong ethnocultural majority fear being submerged by minorities who themselves are fragile and worried about the future, especially immigrants trying to find their feet in their adoptive society," write the scholars, who in footnotes liberally quote from oral testimony as well as written briefs presented at the hearings last fall. Bouchard and Taylor also compare Quebec's immigration situation with that of other provinces, noting that Quebec has far fewer immigrants (11.5 per cent per capita, compared with 28 per cent in Ontario and British Columbia, and 16 per cent in Alberta) and far fewer ethnocultural minorities generally (21 per cent in metropolitan Montreal vs. 46 per cent in Toronto and 40 per cent in Vancouver). Quebec's accommodation crisis dates to March 2006, when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of a Montreal Sikh teenager who wanted to keep wearing his kirpan, the traditional ceremonial dagger of baptized orthodox Sikh men, to school. A series of media-fuelled controversies over demands for accommodation by religious minorities followed. For example: The Association of Maritime Employers agreed to re-examine its workplace rules after orthodox Sikh truck drivers objected to wearing safety helmets instead of their turbans at the Port of Montreal. A Montreal YMCA frosted the windows of an exercise room so that ultraorthodox Jewish neighbours wouldn't have to watch women exercising. And Montreal policewomen were advised in a training brochure to let their male colleagues take charge when visiting Hasidic neighborhoods. The "scandals" came to a head in January 2007 with the publication of a "code of life" by the village council of Hérouxville in the Mauricie region, in which foreigners were advised that public stonings and female circumcision were not allowed in the community. Faced with the polemic over that declaration and fearing unrest over immigrants and religious minorities on the eve of a provincial election campaign, Charest quickly announced the formation of a special commission to look into accommodations and defuse the crisis: the Bouchard-Taylor commission. In their report, the commissioners say that in hindsight the accommodation crisis was largely a media phenomenon - but, they add, it was no invention. "The media didn't create the crisis over accommodations, but their message fell on fertile ground." Elsewhere, they call on the media to show more "self-discipline" and rigour in reporting on ethnic communities and their representatives, some of whom - like deported Tunisian imam Saïd Jaziri - got wide coverage despite having little or no credibility. Although "what has happened in Quebec sometimes gives the impression of being a showdown between two groups of minorities (French Canadians and the ethnic minorities), each of whom wants the other to accommodate it," there are many ways to avoid a fatal confrontation, the commissioners say. People should get used to the idea that "Quebec is made up of diverse ethnic groups, each of which, as is its right and in its own way, cultivates its own memory" - in other words, none is more valuable than the other. The two commissioners - who each collected a salary of $380,000 for their work - also: Declare themselves in favour of more funding for community groups that try to bring cultures together. Argue against race-based projects that segregate people from mainstream society (such as a proposed all-black school). Lament the "wasted careers" of foreign professionals who can't find work here because their credentials aren't recognized. Deplore that only three per cent of Quebec public-service jobs are held by immigrants, "one of the worst situations in North America." Blame the Quebec media for being generally "very 'old-stock,' very 'white' (and) by consequence, they broadcast an often biased image of a (multicultural) reality that a lot of people don't know well enough." But Bouchard and Taylor also - surprisingly - come to the defence of Hérouxville, which made headlines around the world. "In a very awkward and excessive way, the Hérouxville text expressed a tension, an ambivalence many French-Canadian Quebecers have," the commissioners write. Finally, they make a plea for better understanding of Quebec's Muslims, "who only make up two per cent of the Quebec population, about 130,000 people," who are "massively francophone and highly educated," who are "among the least devoutly religious of all immigrants," and who are "the least ghettoized" geographically in Montreal. "The way to overcome Islamophobia is to get closer to Muslims, not to run away from them," the commissioners state. "Mistrust breeds mistrust. Just like fear, it winds up feeding on itself." [email protected] thegazette.canwest.com SOUNDOFF! How has reasonable accommodation affected your life? What do you think of the Bouchard-Taylor findings? Do they go far enough in addressing concerns about the state of minorities in Quebec? What other issues do you think should have been addressed? Share your views and catch up on stories and testimonials from the hearings at montrealgazette.com © The Gazette (Montreal) 2008
  7. NRDC Equity buys Hudson's Bay MARINA STRAUSS Globe and Mail Update July 16, 2008 at 1:32 PM EDT Upscale U.S. department store chain Lord & Taylor is about set up shop in Canada. The company that owns Lord & Taylor bought Hudson's Bay Co. on Wednesday and will convert up to 15 of its key Bay department stores to the U.S. retailer's name. The move marries the two oldest department store retailers in North America, and will create an $8-billion (U.S.) merchandising powerhouse for the new buyer, NRDC Equity Partners of Purchase, N.Y. It will combine HBC's Bay, Zellers, Home Outfitters and Fields chains with NRDC's Lord & Taylor and Fortunoff, the jewellery and home decor chain. “By acquiring Hudson's Bay Co. along with previous acquisitions Lord & Taylor and Fortunoff, we will have an unprecedented opportunity to recreate the retail landscape in North America,” said Richard Baker, chief executive officer of NRDC. The newly expanded holding company will be called Hudson's Bay Trading Co. “Enormous potential exists by upgrading the offerings at both the Bay and Zellers and by bringing Lord & Taylor, Fortunoff and CDS into the mix.” CDS, or Creative Design Studios, produces fashion lines. The deal, for an undisclosed amount, comes just three months after the death of Jerry Zucker, the South Carolina businessman who acquired HBC in early 2006 for $1.1-billion and took it private. Mr. Zucker began to make changes at the chains, moving the Bay more upscale and adding new brands to the mix, while renovating Zellers stores and expanding Fields. Last summer, he appointed his chief lieutenant, Robert Johnston, as president of HBC. He was promoted to chief executive officer in April and succeeded Mr. Zucker on his death. Now Mr. Baker, who becomes the 38th governor, or chairman, of HBC, is investing $500-million into the combined new company and is set to put his own stamp on the retailer. Mr. Baker is already familiar with HBC, having sat on its board of directors since 2006. NRDC owns what is believed to be about 20 per cent of HBC. He said in a statement he plans to convert the Bay's most high-profile 10 to 15 stores to Lord & Taylor. It's a high-end U.S. fashion department store chain that was bought by Mr. Baker's holding company in 2006 and has since enjoyed a turnaround under his watch. It has also moved to more high-end fashions after closing some of its weaker outlets, leaving it with 47 stores. HBC has about 580 outlets in all. Lord & Taylor will serve to fill a gap in the Canadian retail landscape between the Bay and the carriage trade Holt Renfrew, Mr. Baker said. He wants to put greater focus on branded apparel at discounter Zellers, he said. He plans to improve its customer service and, in the future, roll out new 125,000-square-foot prototype stores. He will also bring Fortunoff to Canada, both as standalone stores and within the Bay. And he wants to expand NRDC's Creative Design Studios, selling its branded collections throughout North America and internationally. Its brands include Peter Som's eponymous collection as well as the Kate http://www.reportonbusiness.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080716.whbcstaff0716/BNStory/Business/home
  8. Est ce que c'est ce qui nous attends au Québec si nous continuons de patauger dans la médiocritée?? Excellent article de Pratte. La France va mal http://www.lapresse.ca/debats/editoriaux/andre-pratte/201302/21/01-4624153-la-france-va-mal.php André Pratte La Presse «En France, les ouvriers prennent une heure pour déjeuner et faire des pauses, ils travaillent trois heures, et les trois autres heures de la journée, ils s'assoient ou se promènent et discutent.» Cette caricature du travailleur français vient du patron de Titan International, un fabricant de pneus américain. On la trouve dans la réponse adressée par Maurice Taylor au ministre français du Redressement productif (!), Arnaud Montebourg, qui l'invitait à acheter l'usine Goodyear à Amiens, menacée de fermeture. M. Taylor, qui s'est rendu sur place pour examiner la situation, a conclu que le syndicat local était «fou» et qu'il n'était pas question que Titan reprenne l'usine. «Bientôt, en France, il n'y aura plus d'emplois et tout le monde passera la journée assis dans les cafés à boire du vin rouge», prédit l'Américain. La lettre a provoqué l'indignation en France. Le ministre Montebourg a répliqué en rappelant le rôle du marquis de La Fayette lors de la Guerre d'indépendance... Le diagnostic de M. Taylor est évidemment bourré de préjugés. Toutefois, a souligné la représentante du patronat français, Laurence Parisot, le PDG de Titan «met en avant des dysfonctionnements qu'il faut que nous corrigions.» L'économie du pays connaît une période sombre. Les usines ferment les unes après les autres. M. Montebourg a beau semoncer les patrons des multinationales, ils agissent ainsi parce que produire dans l'Hexagone coûte plus cher et est beaucoup plus compliqué qu'ailleurs, notamment en raison de la rigidité des lois du travail. Comme M. Taylor le concède, «les ouvriers français travaillent bien.» Cependant, ils travaillent beaucoup moins d'heures que ceux de la plupart des pays de l'Union européenne (4,3 heures de moins par semaine que les Allemands). Résultat, «l'industrie française atteint aujourd'hui un seuil critique, au-delà duquel elle est menacée de déstructuration», concluait l'an dernier un comité d'experts formé par le gouvernement socialiste. Le gouvernement a réagi au rapport Gallois en annonçant une série de mesures qui, pour la plupart, reposent sur l'action de l'État. Or, c'est un des gros problèmes de la France, le gouvernement y occupe une place démesurée. Malgré les hausses d'impôts et de taxes décrétées depuis son arrivée au pouvoir, le gouvernement Ayrault ratera cette année la cible de déficit public fixée par la Commission européenne (3% du PIB). La Cour des comptes (l'équivalent de notre Vérificateur général) a averti le gouvernement: il lui faut absolument diminuer ses dépenses. En somme, la France doit prendre un virage difficile. L'OCDE précise: il ne s'agit pas de démanteler le modèle social français, mais d'agir pour être en mesure de le préserver. Les socialistes veulent-ils, peuvent-ils lancer un tel chantier? Ce n'est pas certain. La société française y est-elle prête? Pas encore.
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