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Jan 11, 2021

Indigo CEO calls for government compensation amid lockdowns

Retailers shouldered an 'enormous cost' while others benefitted from lockdowns: Indigo CEO

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With more anticipated restrictions in Ontario set to be announced by Premier Doug Ford on Tuesday, Indigo Books & Music Inc. Chief Executive Officer Heather Reisman called for the government to take more action in supporting the non-essential businesses it has shut down during the pandemic.

“At the end of the day, it's compensation, and it's big,” Reisman said. “What's been laid out both federally and provincially is simply not sufficient.”

That would include putting programs in place to ensure that these retailers were not bearing the full brunt of the lockdown measures. Reisman pointed to the loss of the high-earning holiday season as a particular sore spot for these retailers, especially as they sit on an excess of unsold merchandise. 

The impact to Indigo’s bottom line during the “most important six weeks” of the year amounted to losing “tens of millions” of dollars in profits, Reisman said.

Without the “essential business” label, many retailers have been forced to “pay enormous costs” which signals to business owners that they are not relevant, Reisman added. These challenges will have resounding effects like a significant loss to cities' tax bases and could hit real estate companies as more businesses shut their doors, she said. 

Reisman joined many other business owners calling for more transparency in the COVID-19 data which would point to where the rise in coronavirus cases originated from.

Despite the challenges this year, Reisman said Indigo will be able to survive through the second wave.

“We will get through it, but we do not intend to get through it without some help.”