The holiday shopping season is moving into high gear but many retailers are having a hard time keeping up with demand.
Quebec is experiencing a massive labour shortage in the retail trade. More than 20,000 vacancies need to be filled according to the Quebec Retail Council director general – an unprecedented amount.
“My members talk to me about it every day. It’s the main goal and main challenge for the next few years,” Jean-Guy Côté told Global News.
Store operators at Le Brow Bar, an independent boutique in Westmount, are feeling the labour squeeze.
The shop is closed on Sundays and one other day every week or two because management can’t find workers.
“We have to work the extra hours because it’s impossible to find people,” manager Sheral Dhanani said.
Dhanani would like to hire four more people.
”We’ve had a running ad on Facebook Marketplace for over a year. If I tell you, maybe eight applications,” she said.
It’s a similar situation at the Crèmerie Valois in Pointe-Claire.
The shop which has just set up a Christmas market is closed Monday to Wednesday because of a lack of staff.
“We’re making the place and environment as happy as we can but I would definitely love to see people come back to work and be open full time,” said owner Amanda Barnes.
Bureau en Gros has launched a national hiring campaign hoping to fill 1,000 positions across the country.
Dozens of more vacancies are available at the Fairview Pointe-Claire shopping centre.
Quebec’s labour minister says stores need to become more competitive with salaries and try to encourage retired workers to come back to the labour force.
“They have to analyze their specific situation,” Jean Boulet told Global News.
He also said retail stores need to invest in automation and artificial intelligence to help make up for employee shortfalls.