Canadian retailers must disrupt or be disrupted

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Competition among Canadian retailers continued to heat up this year, with some brands beefing up their physical stores and e-commerce offerings, while new entrants like Saks Fifth Avenue and Uniqlo joined the fray.Whether it was Saks opening up a Pusateri’s food hall in their stores or Hudson’s Bay spending more than $60 million to upgrade its Toronto distribution centre with a new robotics system, retailers worked to carve out their place in the cutthroat retail landscape.But not all retailers have been able to survive, with some like Danier scaling back locations or others like teen clothing chain Aeropostale and jewelry chain Ben Moss closing their doors in Canada for good.As 2016 nears an end, here are the top retail trends to look forward to in the new year:E-commerce expansionArticle Continued BelowIn 2016, Canadians averaged more than $44 billion in retail sales every month with e-commerce sales accounting for about 2 per cent, according to Statistics Canada.Although online sales make up a small proportion of total purchases, retail industry expert Doug Stephens says it’s growing at a pace of 15 per cent each year compared with 3-per-cent growth in bricks-and-mortar sales.Stephens, who runs consultancy Retail Prophet, said more than ever, customers expect the process of buying online to be as seamless as purchasing the item in a store. They also want to be able to have the opportunity to go back and forth between the two options easily and quickly.

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