The Loonie – A Hindrance or An Opportunity?

Whether it was to catch a cheaper flight from Bellingham to Las Vegas or to shop at an I-5 outlet mall, since 2013 many British Columbians were flocking to the nearest lower-mainland border crossing and travelling to the states in search of a good deal.

Canadian dollar the loonieHowever, a weakened Loonie curbed many Canadian shoppers who’d been making the trip south of the border to stay home. Indeed throughout Washington State’s Whatcom County, retailers in border towns like Sumas, Blaine, Lynden and further south to Ferndale and Bellingham have seen dramatic drops in Canadian shoppers since 2013 (BPRI Winter 2017 Brief: Changes in Canadian Shopping Visits in Northwest Washington, 2013 to 2016).

Interestingly though the loonie has rallied in value to a little over 80 cents to the American dollar. Will we see a surge in cross-border activity again here in Whatcom County? We hope so! However, even in light of recent news, there’s more to the ‘cross-border currency’ story than shopping. Like SELLING! CADUSD20yrs

Historically the USD has dominated over the Loonie as reflected in this 20 year chart. (Source)

A paradigm shift. Can Canadians consider the exchange rate between the Canadian Dollar (CAD) – USA Dollar (USD) not as a hindrance, but rather as an opportunity? They should! Here’s why.

Assuming all the proverbial ducks are in a row, ‘I’s dotted and ‘T’s crossed, the savvy B.C. business owner and entrepreneur stands to earn at least 20% more on their U.S. sales in part due to the favorable exchange rate.

“Here are the simple facts” says UCanTrade, Inc. president and dual citizen, Jim Pettinger: “(1) most U.S. land border crossings have been upgraded and are fully open for Canadian goods and people, (2) each sale you make for US$100 nets you C$120 or more, (3) your business presence in the U.S. can lead to a green card and dual-citizen status if you wish , and (4) American buyers (a) love Canadian goods, (b) have double the available money of their Canadian counterparts and (c) make their buying decisions at least  three times as fast.”

If history is an indicator then a long-term outlook is for a weak Loonie. Canadian companies need to immediately seize the opportunity to stake a position in the lucrative U.S. market. With careful planning, the initial cost can be minimal, but the payoff could be enormous.

Interested in learning more about doing business in the USA? Attend our next DBUSA Seminar &/or download this whitepaper “Ten Tips for Better Border Business”.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

A simple, inexpensive proposal to reduce border wait times.

By: Jim Pettinger, President and CEO at UCanTrade, Inc.

David Davidson, retiring interim director of Western Washington University’s Border Policy Research Institute (BPRI), is leaving us with a challenge to implement a relatively simple plan to issue RFID-enabled cards to about 75,000 “high-frequency” border-crossing Canadian passport holders. He estimates this cost would be about 20% of the cost of adding staffed booths to achieve the same reduction of average wait times. The proposal would not replace NEXUS, which provides the fastest crossing, but would be simpler and faster to implement in the short term because it requires no additional data from the passport holder.

Details of Davidson’s proposal, “A Business Case for Increasing RFID at the Canada – U.S. Land Border”, can be found at the BPRI website, www.wwu.edu/bpri. We encourage all frequent border crossers to support the significant work being done by BPRI by subscribing to its e-mail distribution list.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news and/or follow us on Twitter @UCanTrade.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Online US Sales Help Canadian Retailers Cope with Low Loonie

This Global BC News Report (Video 2:08 min) shines a spotlight on one Vancouver, BC retailer (Moojoes) who, in the face of rising costs related to a falling Canadian Dollar, shifted their focus to selling online where “American buyers are more than happy to snap up a quality made product for a lot less…”

It’s not a big surprise that the strengthening USA economy is benefiting BC industries like manufacturing, mining, forestry, agriculture and tourism but BC small businesses and retailers can export to the USA and benefit from the ‘Low Loonie’ too. (Related Article: BC Export Opportunities to the US Abound)

Learn more about doing business in the USA at UCanTrade’s Resources & Helpful Articles pages.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news and/or follow us on Twitter @UCanTrade.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

2015 British Columbia Holidays

By: UCanTrade Staff

Northwest Washington businesses can expect greater numbers of Canadian customers to visit on British Columbia holiday weekends.
Cross-Border

Cross-border travelers increase along the Pacific Corridor during holiday weekends.

2015 BC Statutory Holidays (PDF)
January 01, Thursday  – New Year’s Day
February 09, Monday – Family Day
April 03, Friday – Good Friday
April 06, Monday – Easter Monday*
May 18, Monday – Victoria Day
July 01, Wednesday – Canada Day
August 03, Monday – British Columbia Day (Civic Holiday)
September 07, Monday – Labour Day
October 12, Monday – Thanksgiving Day
November 11, Wednesday – Remembrance Day
December 25, Friday – Christmas Day
December 26, Saturday – Boxing Day*
*These are not statutory holidays in BC, but many BC businesses are closed.

Trade Tips Blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc.

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Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

US Carriers Shipping On ‘Black Friday’

By: Jim Pettinger

Americans are known worldwide as hard workers who take little time off for holidays and vacations compared to others. However, Thanksgiving is a major exception. The holiday itself is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, but the preceding week and following weekend are probably more festive and family-oriented for Americans than is Christmas week in other countries. In addition, the growing traditions of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” only increase the frenzy around the holiday.

Canadian shoppers and businesses that export should take note: First, border lineups will be longer than any other time of year; check wait times before you go at the link on our website at www.UCanTrade.com.  And second, most non-retail businesses are closed on Thursday, November 27th with limited hours on Friday.  Consequently, make sure all your U.S. orders are filled and shipped early this week.Thanksgiving, US Holiday, Cross-Border

NEW this year, all U.S. carriers are offering full services for all shipments on ‘Black’ Friday, November 28th!  This comes in response to a significant increase in e-commerce orders which resulted in some late Christmas deliveries last year.

The good news is that, like last year, American internet shoppers will be on their computers for many more hours than usual. In fact, many internet retailers now recognize “Cyber Monday” as a great day to hold major discount sales similar to what their brick and mortar counterparts offer on “Black Friday”.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
“USA Business Services for Canadian Importers/Exporters”
(Freight Management, Warehousing, Fulfillment, Returns/Repairs)
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: ima@UCanTrade.com

UPS Prepares for Record High Holiday Demand

By: IMA Staff

“UPS expects six days during the [upcoming holiday] season, to surpass its single-busiest shipping day last year,” reports Michael Sasso in his October 29, 2014 Bloomberg post.

Spending $175 million on their “peak-season preparedness plan”, UPS plans to hire as many as 95,000 temporary workers and assemble up to 15 “mobile delivery stations” (similar to school portables) over this holiday season. The plan was initiated immediately following last year’s holiday season when, due to bad weather, UPS failed to deliver some of its Christmas deliveries, reported Sasso.

UPS’ Chief Commercial Officer Alan Gershenhorn reportedly said in a statement, “The holiday season is a major retail sales opportunity for our customers. Our objective is to ensure that all of our year-round business and retail shippers can take maximum advantage of expanded UPS capacity during this important period.”

As online orders increase, “the world’s largest package delivery company” forecast an 11% increase in the number of packages it will be delivering this holiday season over last year.

Anticipating increased orders due to holiday demand? Doing business in the USA? International Market Access, Inc. is a reliable partner. From the seaport of your choice to your customer’s doorstep, we manage container receiving, warehousing, and pick & pack shipping. Please give us a call at 1-360-380-6900 or visit our website at www.UCanTrade.com.

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
“USA Business Services for Canadian Importers/Exporters”
(Freight Management, Warehousing, Fulfillment, Returns/Repairs)
Website:
www.UCanTrade.com
Phone:
360-380-6900
Email:
ima@UCanTrade.com


Comment: U.S. Thanksgiving weekend is a big deal

By: Jim Pettinger

Americans are known worldwide as hard workers who take little time off for holidays and vacations compared to others. However, Thanksgiving is a major exception. The holiday itself is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, but the preceding week and following weekend are probably more festive and family-oriented for Americans than is Christmas week in other countries. In addition, the growing traditions of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” only increase the frenzy around the holiday.

Canadian shoppers and businesses that export should take note: First, border lineups will be longer than any other time of year; check wait times before you go at the link on our website at www.ucantrade.com. And second, most non-retail businesses are closed on Thursday, and many provide limited services on Friday. For example, UPS offers no pickups at all on Thursday, and only air shipments by appointment on Friday. Consequently, make sure all your U.S. orders are filled and shipped earlier in the week.

The good news is that American internet shoppers will be on their computers for many more hours than usual. In fact, many internet retailers now recognize “Cyber Monday” as a great day to hold major discount sales similar to what their brick and mortar counterparts offer on “Black Friday”.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: tradetips@ucantrade.com

More BC Shoppers Visiting Whatcom County

By: IMA staff

More Canadians are shopping in WhatcomCounty. Bargains at new stores like Winco, and existing favorites including Fred Meyer, Trader Joe’s and Costco continue to draw shoppers south of the border. Bellingham Herald Business Editor Dave Gallagher reports that Canadians’ shopping trips to WhatcomCounty have quadrupled since 2007.

According to Gallagher

The Whatcom Council of Governments released the results of an interim survey taken this summer of travelers going south through the region’s five border crossings. The survey estimates 310,000 vehicles crossed the border into Whatcom County with shopping the travelers’ primary purpose in July; that’s more than quadruple the number of vehicles during the same period in 2007.

The percentage of those interviewed that listed shopping as the primary reason for crossing the border was 45 percent, up from 19 percent in 2007.

The July survey was done by Western Washington University’s Border Policy Research Institute, which employed Western students or graduates to do the study. The second wave of surveys will be done in February 2014.

Read Bellingham Herald Business Editor Dave Gallagher’s full report here.

 

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: tradetips@ucantrade.com

“Pirate Joe’s” Wins Case in US Federal Court

By: Elliott Smith

Pirate Joe’s, a popular Kitsilano reseller of Trader Joe’s products has won a major victory in US Federal court. The store on Vancouver’s West 4th Ave owned by BC Entrepreneur Michael Hallatt was sued by California-based Trader Joe’s for reselling its products north of the border. A US Federal District Court in Seattle ruled that Pirate Joe’s Pirate Joe'swas not acting improperly or causing harm to the grocery chain by exporting large quantities of goods purchased at its stateside retail outlets and reselling them to Vancouver consumers.

Hallatt’s business began by frequenting the Bellingham store, where he was often seen purchasing cartfuls of non-perishable goods for export and resale in British Columbia. According to NBC News, staff at the Bellingham store welcomed Hallatt at first: “They saw Hallatt’s Vancouver outlet as a way to reduce the long lines in their own store.” But he quickly became persona non grata at Trader Joe’s, as the company grew to dislike his unauthorized reselling of their products in Canada.

The Bellingham Trader Joe’s store is notorious among WhatcomCounty and Lower Mainland shoppers for its tiny parking lot. As one commenter on Reddit pointed out, Hallatt might seem to be doing the Bellingham store and its patrons a favor by reducing traffic into the facility. But alas, Trader Joe’s did not see it that way. The chain sued Hallatt in US Federal court for, according to NBC News, “alleged federal trademark infringement, deceptive business practices,” and a host of other claims that he was causing harm to the Trader Joe’s brand and business.

Judge Marsha J. Pechman disagreed, dismissing the lawsuit from US Federal District Court and ruling in Hallatt’s favor. NBC News notes that Trader Joes was given a short window in which it may pursue a new lawsuit against Pirate Joe’s in state courts. As of this publication, there is no indication that such a lawsuit has been filed. Trade Tips Blog will monitor the situation, and post updates as they occur.

For more details on Pirate Joe’s legal victory, read this article by Elizabeth Chuck of NBC News.

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: tradetips@ucantrade.com


Outlet Centers Proving a Win-Win for Brands, Cross-Border Shoppers

By: Elliott Smith

Inbound Logistics reports that high end outlet stores, popular with cross-border shoppers are booming. In Washington state, there are several outlet centers along the I-5 corridor frequented by British Columbia shoppers.

Seattle Premium Outlets in Tulalip, Washington is one of the most popular high end outlet centers in the region. Just how popular is this outlet center with Canadians? A preliminary study recently released by the Border Policy Research Institute found that Canadian shoppers accounted for 61% of the vehicles in the parking lot on Friday of the Easter 2013 weekend.

Seattle Premium Outlets

According to Inbound Logistics, the outlet store model is appealing for brands because they have lower operating expenses, they move more dollars of merchandise per square foot, and physically separate the brand from competing product lines:

As yet another indication of the changing retail landscape, high-end department store outlets are gradually supplanting traditional brick-and-mortar locations, reports Bloomberg Industries.

For example, 60 percent of Saks locations are now outlets, and all but two of the 15 stores it plans to open in the next two years will be discount centers. Nordstrom, meanwhile, operates 127 Rack outlets and plans to open another 17 by the end of 2013, according to Bloomberg.

Nordstrom Rack locations sell 40 percent more than the company’s traditional locations in terms of revenue per square foot. And expenses are lower at outlets, where shoppers don’t need to be enticed by fancy storefronts and amenities.

The trend is partly driven by recessionary consumer spending and the success of retailers such as Ross Stores and TJ Maxx. “These companies are serving entirely different customers who know they can’t afford the full-line merchandise, but still desire the brand,” says Bloomberg analyst Poonam Goyal.

Read the full article on Inbound Logistics here.

Trade Tips is published by International Market Access, Inc. 

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: tradetips@ucantrade.com