Canadian merchants near arenas in penalty box from NHL lockout, says report

TORONTO – A report says the NHL lockout is forcing Canadian merchants near hockey arenas into the penalty box, with spending down more than 11 per cent from a year ago on a game day.

The report by credit and debit card processor Moneris found drinking establishments near arenas in Winnipeg, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary are being hit the hardest with business falling nearly 35 per cent.

Restaurants are taking a nearly 11 per cent hit, followed by fast-food outlets which are down almost seven per cent compared to a game day in 2011.

Edmonton is facing the largest impact with business falling 27 per cent.

Spending near Montreal’s Bell Centre is down more than 21 per cent, followed by a 17 per cent drop in business near Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.

Merchants away from arenas have been enjoying a power play from the 11-week labour dispute, with spending up 5.4 per cent from a game day in 2011 as Canadians stick closer to home.

Spending in bars is up nearly 19 per cent while fast food business grew 11.5 per cent and was up nearly five per cent in restaurants, in line with overall spending increases in the third quarter.