Vincent Power, AVP of corporate communications, said Sears Canada learned a lot when in 2007 retailers faced a backlash from consumers, who were upset that prices hadn't dropped even though the Canadian dollar was at par with the US greenback. Power said while Sears reacted to that consumer frustration, it hadn't anticipated it.
This time around, Power said the company followed research on Canadian consumer confidence and other metrics, and by the end of summer, knew they needed a program to address the economy.
“We anticipated back in the early days of September that consumers were probably going to demand some kind of response from retailers about the economy,” he said. “It shows that research is still an important element of PR.”
The budget shopping angle has resulted in several media appearances by Power, including a segment on CBC's "The National." The Budget Relief program could extend into the first quarter of 2009, he added.