Take stock – September 23

The Competition Bureau said Thursday it has laid criminal charges against four Montreal-based companies allegedly involved in a complex telemarketing scheme that generated gross sales of more than $172 million.

Four companies charged in telemarketing scheme

OTTAWA — The Competition Bureau said Thursday it has laid criminal charges against four Montreal-based companies allegedly involved in a complex telemarketing scheme that generated gross sales of more than $172 million.

The accused companies are Mega Byte Information, Express Transaction Services, International Business Logistics and Comexco Management. Five people have been charged with fraud, deceptive telemarketing and misleading representations under the Competition Act. The federal watchdog said the scheme marketed directories, subscriptions to online directories, office supplies and medical kits at inflated prices. The products and services were promoted to businesses across Canada.


Number receiving EI down, number of claims up

OTTAWA — The number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits decreased by 24,800, or 4.4 per cent, in July to 535,700, the largest of 10 straight monthly declines.

Statistics Canada reports there were notable percentage decreases in all provinces except New Brunswick, where it was little changed, and Newfoundland and Labrador, where the number of beneficiaries was up slightly. But the agency says that, while there were fewer people receiving benefits in July, the number of initial and renewal claims rose by 8,800, or 3.8 per cent, to 243,300, the third increase in four months.


Drop in auto sales blamed for large decline in Canadian retail numbers

OTTAWA — Canadian retail sales declined more than expected in July in a broad-based retreat led by auto dealers, who had benefited from unusually robust activity in the previous month, according to figures released Thursday.

Overall retail sales fell 0.6 per cent to $37.5 billion in July after three straight monthly increases.

It was the first month-to-month decline since January, when sales fell back 0.3 per cent, and the biggest since April 2010 when there was a two per cent decline attributed mostly to weakness sales of motor vehicles and parts.

Lower sales were reported in seven of 11 subsectors tracked by Statistics Canada.

Vehicle and parts dealers accounting for most of the decline. A 3.5 per cent drop in sales at new-car dealers offset gains made in June, StatsCan said.

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