Self-checkout has enjoyed years of steady adoption. One study that examined 4.5 billion transactions found that self-checkout accounted for 38 percent of checkout lanes in 2021. But now, many retailers have begun to pause and even roll back self-checkout lanes. Self-checkout was widely viewed as a way to trim labor costs and speed up shopping, but the real-world costs might outweigh the savings.

In the U.K., Nigel Murray, managing director of high-end supermarket chain Booths, noted that customers complained about how slow the self-checkout process was and that the machines were impersonal and unreliable. The British supermarket chain is removing self-checkout from all but two of its more than 50 stores. Target is piloting a program to limit self-checkout to 10 items or less, essentially turning them into express lanes. Walmart and various other chains have announced plans to hire more cashiers.

So why is self-checkout failing to meet expectations? Among other things, checkout clerks are much more skilled than previously acknowledged. Customers buying produce, for example, often ring up the wrong item on the self-checkout machines. To customers, a banana might be just a banana, but one banana might cost 25 cents and another a dollar. Theft is another problem. Some customers might ring up a pricier organic avocado as a regular avocado. Other customers innocently forget to ring up some items in their carts.

On top of that, there are logistical hang-ups. For example, buying alcohol can all but shut down self-checkout lanes as clerks rush around to verify IDs. Turns out, sometimes progress isn't progress. Shoppers can expect to see more human clerks in the not-so-distant future.

The picture was from: Freepik.


 
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Canadian employment rose by 0.2 per cent in January to 20.362 million. The unemployment rate fell 0.1 percentage points to 5.7 per cent. Average hourly wages rose 5.3 per cent year-over-year to $34.75 last month, while total hours worked were up 1.1 per cent from January of last year.

Employment in BC fell 0.1 per cent to 2.84 million, while employment in Metro Vancouver fell 0.4 per cent to 1.61 million in January. The unemployment rate fell 0.1 points in BC to 5.4 per cent while falling in Metro Vancouver at 5.5 per cent. 


For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Link: https://mailchi.mp/bcrea/canadian-employment-january-2023-february-9th-2024

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Hi Friends,

To help you stay organized and on top of your home maintenance tasks, I created a Home Maintenance Checklist. This comprehensive checklist breaks down your home maintenance responsibilities into different categories, making it easier than ever to keep your property in great shape throughout the year.

Maintaining your home can sometimes be overwhelming, but you're not alone in this journey. As your trusted real estate consultant, I have strong connections within our community, including a network of reliable service providers. If you ever need referrals or recommendations for any of the tasks on the checklist, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. I am more than happy to assist you in finding the right professionals for the job.

I strongly encourage you to print it out or save it digitally to help you stay organized throughout the year.

Remember, a well-maintained home not only enhances your quality of life, but it also contributes to the long-term value of your investment. If you have any questions about the checklist or need further guidance on home maintenance, please reach out to me!

Wishing you a prosperous and well-maintained home in 2024!

Warm regards,

Gino Pezzani

RE/MAX Heights Realty

www.vanhomesales.com

604-418-9366

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This Valentine's Day, create a special evening at home with an easy, yet delicious dinner menu designed for two. Whether you're a kitchen novice or a culinary enthusiast, these straightforward recipes will set the mood. Tie on your apron and enjoy a night of culinary bonding with your loved one!

Starter: Caprese Salad

Ingredients: Fresh mozzarella slices, ripe tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic glaze, salt, and pepper.

Preparation: Alternate slices of tomato and mozzarella on a plate. Tuck basil leaves between them. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic glaze. Season with salt and pepper.

Main Course: Garlic Butter Shrimp Pasta

Ingredients: Pasta (like linguine or spaghetti), shrimp (peeled and deveined), garlic cloves, butter, olive oil, dried chili flakes (optional), parsley, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Preparation: Cook pasta according to package instructions. In a pan, sauté garlic in olive oil and butter. Add shrimp, chili flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook until shrimp are pink. Toss in cooked pasta, a squeeze of lemon, and chopped parsley.

Dessert: Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

Ingredients: Fresh strawberries, dark or milk chocolate chips, and white chocolate for drizzling (optional).

Preparation: Melt chocolate chips in a microwave or double boiler. Dip strawberries into the melted chocolate, place on a parchment-lined tray, and let them set. Optionally, drizzle with melted white chocolate for a decorative effect.

Beverage: Easy Raspberry Mocktail

Ingredients: Fresh raspberries, lemonade, sparkling water, and a lemon.

Preparation: Muddle a few raspberries at the bottom of two glasses. Fill the glasses with ice. Pour over lemonade and top off with sparkling water. Garnish with a lemon slice and a few whole raspberries.

This menu, which offers a mix of freshness and simplicity, and a touch of indulgence, is ideal for a cozy and romantic Valentine's Day dinner.

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Canadian real GDP grew 0.2 per cent in November, following three consecutive months of essentially zero growth. The growth was driven by the goods-producing sectors, which rose by 0.6 per cent. Manufacturing jumped 0.9 per cent in November, led by growth in chemical manufacturing as a number of plants resumed production following maintenance. The resilience of the US economy, as well as the end of a strike by Saint Lawrence seaway employees, likely buoyed exports. Construction activity fell by 0.2 per cent overall, while residential construction rose by just 0.3 per cent, slowing from a burst of construction over the summer and fall. Offices of real estate agents and brokers fell for the fifth consecutive month, dropping 1.3 per cent as home resales remained soft amid elevated borrowing costs. Preliminary estimates suggest that output in the Canadian economy rose 0.3 per cent in December.

Following a period of essentially zero growth in real GDP from the early spring to late fall, November's GDP read, alongside December's preliminary estimate, offers hope that the Canadian economy can find its footing and resume growth. If the December preliminary estimate is accurate, real GDP will have expanded by 0.3 per cent in the fourth quarter and by 1.5 per cent in 2023 as a whole. Although growth remains slow, it is encouraging to note that the economy is still growing in contrast to widely held expectations of a recession. Financial markets continue to expect that rate cuts will begin in the spring and accumulate into the summer. The next rate announcement is on next Wednesday, March 6th. Link:

https://mailchi.mp/bcrea/canadian-real-gdp-growth-november-2023

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

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As the chill of winter gradually gives way to the subtle warmth of an approaching spring, I find myself reflecting on the seasons of our lives and the importance of embracing each moment. This season, often overshadowed by the excitement of holidays and the anticipation of warmer days, holds its own quiet beauty.

In the stillness of these shorter days and longer nights, there's a unique opportunity for introspection and growth. It's a time to cozy up with our thoughts, to plan and dream, and to nurture the seeds of ideas that will flourish in the seasons to come.

I encourage you to take this time to reflect on your journey, to appreciate how far you've come, and to set intentions for the days ahead. Like the dormant trees and the quiet earth, we too are preparing for a new burst of life and activity.

As we navigate through this season, let's remind ourselves of the importance of patience, rest, and self-care. Let's embrace the quiet, the stillness, and the beauty of now, knowing that each season brings its own gifts.

Wishing you a peaceful and reflective season.

All the best,

Gino Pezzani

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Clarence, well-known in the picturesque town of Roselake for his exceptional matchmaking skills, was affectionately called “Cupid” by the locals. However, the townspeople were unaware of a significant detail: Clarence secretly held a profound love for Eliza, the town's florist. Eliza was known for her delicate touch in creating beautiful arrangements at her store, Bloom's Haven.

As Valentine's Day neared, Clarence noticed a shift in the town's mood. The air, usually abuzz with excitement, felt tinged with a sense of longing. People seemed to crave genuine connections, not just grand romantic gestures.

On the night before the holiday, Clarence was sitting by the river, deep in thought, under the stars. He had an epiphany: True love isn’t about grand gestures; instead, it’s about the genuine moments and sincere emotions shared between people. Taking this to heart, he told everyone in town to do small, kind things for one another on Valentine's Day. The townspeople liked this idea and shared nice notes and stories, which made everyone feel more connected and a part of a real community. 

As the day ended, Clarence, with newfound courage and a single, beautifully imperfect rose in hand, approached Eliza. Standing in the midst of her floral creations, he presented the rose as a symbol of his true, unadorned feelings.

In that moment, as Eliza's smile brightened the dusky shop, Clarence realized his true role as Cupid was to inspire authentic love, starting with his own. The day ended not with the conclusion of a successful match, but with the beginning of a love story rooted in the genuine connection he had always championed.

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Feb. 2, Groundhog Day: A popular North American tradition in which a groundhog's behavior is believed to predict the weather.

Feb. 9, National Pizza Day: A day to celebrate one of the most popular and most versatile foods globally, with pizza restaurants hosting various events and promotions. Pick your topping!

Feb. 14, Valentine's Day: A day to celebrate love and romance, commonly marked by exchanging gifts and cards between loved ones.

Feb.19, Family Day: It is not a national statutory holiday, it is only observed in New Brunswick, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan and in British Columbia.

Other provinces have holidays in February on the same day but these holidays aren't called family day. In PEI Islander Day is celebrated on the 3rd Monday in February and in Manitoba the 3rd Monday in February is the Louis Riel Day holiday. In Nova Scotia this day is called Heritage Day.

Feb. 29, Leap Day: Occurring every four years, this day is added to the calendar to keep it aligned with the Earth's revolutions around the sun.

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About BCREA’s Housing Monitor Dashboar

The BCREA Economics team has created the Housing Monitor Dashboard to help REALTORS® monitor BC’s housing market. This dashboard, which is updated monthly, provides up-to-date data on key variables for public education and use. Focuses include: 

  • Resale Home Market

  • Construction

  • Rental Market

  • Borrowing Costs

  • Other BCREA Data

In the dashboard, the image and data are available for download under each chart, where possible.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

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To view the BCREA Housing Forecast Update PDF, click here.

BCREA 2024 First Quarter Housing Forecast Update

Vancouver, BC – January, 2024. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its 2024 First Quarter Housing Forecast Update today.

Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in BC are forecast to increase 7.8 per cent to 78,775 units this year. In 2025, MLS® residential sales are forecasted to strengthen further, rising to 86,475 units.

"In 2023, the housing market faced headwinds due to elevated mortgage rates, but the recent decline in fixed mortgage rates and potential Bank of Canada rate cuts present an optimistic outlook for 2024," said Brendon Ogmundson, Chief Economist. "As we navigate through 2024, we expect a delicate balance between rising sales and normalizing inventories, which should lead to a relatively quiet year for prices."

With substantial progress in bringing inflation back to 2 per cent and a softening in economic growth and employment, there is less necessity for monetary policy to remain stringent. Therefore, we anticipate the Bank of Canada will begin to lower its policy rate this year, leading to higher provincial home sales. The ultimate impact on prices hinges entirely on how inventory evolves this year. While risks to the economy remain, our view is that new listings normalize following a lull in activity last year. That normalization of new listing activity should result in a more balanced market this year with relatively stable pricing.

For the complete news release, including detailed statistics, click here.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

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