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 A second area that is also vital, as I mentioned in my formal remarks, is that we at Dylex do not look at what is happening as an economic downturn and we do not look at it as cyclical. My very strong view is that we are going through a fundamental restructuring and only the fittest will survive. Another area we are investing and need to invest very considerably in is technology. Just by way of example, when I started in business, which was some years back, when you bought a cash register you bought it for life. We're into the third generation of cash registers in my time at Dylex, because the technology is changing. We need to be better in terms of eliminating workload for employees at the store and doing it in a re-engineered or automated fashion. The time lag of information to allow people to make effective decisions has changed, and it's changing by the hour. To re-engineer a company of Dylex's size, you're talking $25 million just to replace the cash registers, but if you don't do it, it's the beginning of your demise.
 Those would be the two key areas for which capital is required. Ordinarily the funds would come, generally, out of lease financing. Lease financing is arranged through the various chartered banks and other people, but I can tell you, going back three years, the banks just basically turned off the retail business. They had no faith in it, and it's going to be self-fulfilling, because they apply pressure on the manufacturers; the manufacturers can't finance the receivables and that puts pressure on the retailers. That's really causing the demise, and it is not over yet, not by a long shot. I think anything we do that undermines confidence or weakens the retail climate is going to be more self-fulfilling as time goes by.
 MRS. WITMER: I'm concerned about the possible impact of Bill 40 on Ontario businesses, because, as you've indicated, certainly the American chains are coming into this province. Do you see this increasing that they would come in? Obviously if you can't continue to function and others can't continue to function, we won't have a local, homegrown economy.
 MR. ROBINS: They are and they will, I think the impact will increase as the free trade agreement extends and the seamless nature of free trade really levels out.
 I think what is also going to get them to come is that in my 25 years I have never seen the amount of shopping centre space that is available. The shopping centres can't afford to sit with empty space; they are very concerned sitting with empty space, because it becomes self-fulfilling. It's hard to be strong vis-a-vis dealing with your people when the tenants walk around and see an empty shopping centre. Shopping centres are fighting for market share, no different than the retailers in them. They're looking to create differences from one shopping centre to the other, and if new concepts come in, like Price Club, like Talbot's, like The Gap, and there are others that are coming, the shopping centres are going to look to be first to have these new retailers as a way of differentiating their mall from their competitor's mall.
 I think you're well aware of what's going on in the real estate industry between Cadillac Fairview and Trilea and Bramalea and Cambridge. The thing is crumbling, and they're not going to sit back and have their shopping centres empty. They are going to deal, and we know for a fact some the deals that are being made. Not only are they putting out the money to build the store, they're providing working capital to operate the stores. It is mind-boggling what is truly going on in terms of efforts being made to attract American retailers.
 MR. HUGET: Thank you very much for your presentation. I want to refer back to Mr. Poslun's presentation of last week, and this one today, which is essentially identical to the Fairweather one, which is essentially identical to the Hudson's Bay one in terms of wording.
 I'm trying to wrestle with an issue that's developed here in the last four or five days that to me is very important. I'm being told on the one hand that the retail industry is a very progressive industry in how it treats its employees, what it does for training, what it does in terms of working conditions and how very much it's interested in the well-being of its employees and using that employee wellbeing as a front-line customer contact and in that regard generating higher customer sales and greater satisfaction.
 On the other hand, several groups have appeared before this committee and referred specifically to your organization, and others, as being an organization that isn't quite like that. I've heard it referred to as intimidating, threatening. There have been discussions around what happens when someone mentions that he or she wants to join a union in the retail industry, and your company is not excluded from that. There is an issue of home workers, some who are being paid, as I understand it, the equivalent of a dollar an hour. I had a presentation last night and one of the home workers informed me that she would receive $7 for this jacket in terms of putting it together.
 Clearly, what you're saying is terms of the working conditions in the industry and what they are saying is diametrically opposed. I have a feeling that someone's not telling me the truth and I would like you to help me with that.
 MR. ROBINS: Let me try and do that. First, I can't, and I don't want to, mislead and comment on the problem of a home worker. I would be pleased if you gave me the specifics. As with any other employee, I'd be pleased to look into it. I am certainly not here, and I don't believe we're going to build our company, by abusing people. As I did mention, though, the manufacturing does represent about 2 per cent of the business we're in, and home workers would represent a minute percentage of that 2 per cent.
 On the issue you're talking about in terms of an employee and intimidation, again, if you would supply me with the fact, I would be pleased to look into it.
 But I would like to comment, I believe very strongly-it's the way I was brought up. I think it's the way I've managed for over 30 years-you can't make people do anything. I don't believe in threats. I believe the role of management, and the culture I've tried to inspire in the two years I've been leading Dylex, is to have management inspire their people to want to, because I believe that's how ultimately we're going to win. If you have to make people do things, I don't think there are enough hours in a day and I don't think you've got enough eyes to watch what's happening. I have, I believe, succeeded in getting a whole host of things done, not by intimidating anyone but by truly inspiring them to want to succeed.
 I believe that is the culture that is molding, taking shape and filtering through Dylex. I don't believe it was always there. I don't think it exists everywhere in the company, but I believe it is vital to have that kind of culture to become a world-class company, and if we don't become a world-class company, we will not survive. So as a broad principle, when you talk about intimidation, I can tell you it is not my belief, it's not my style, never has been my style and I believe it is a recipe for failure.
 MR. HUGET: If people in the workplace feel that they are intimidated, whether it's in your workplace or not, and feel that they have grievances in terms of working conditions and in other areas, who want to organize - is there anything in your view that should prevent them from doing that?
 MR. ROBINS: If you're asking whether we look at it that they should not be allowed, no, I'm not saying that. I think what we are trying to deal with is that there is a level playing field in the process. The way it's being approached, I think the level playing field does not exist; that is striking and I think the number one problem we all have.
 I mentioned before that I think we have a responsibility to try and lead prople. If you look at a couple of things, they're saying that we're not going to get through without a change in consumer confidence. I don't think consumers are going to be confident when they see the kind of bickering and uncertainty and lack of capital spending and management attitudes that are fearful of the environment they're living in. I don't believe that is an environment that's conducive to management creating a leading role to create jobs and move forward.
 I'm a customer too, and I'm an individual. Aside from running a company, I have my own personal feelings, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't pick up the paper and read about a factory closing down and people being laid off and cutbacks. Whre do you get any kind of feeling of confidence when that kind of thing happens?
 You ought to take a look at one other perspective. If you watched a couple of weeks ago, do you know that the banks were paying less money to borrow than the federal government? Does that tell you how much money they've got and how fearful they are of where to put it? They were paying less on short-term borrowings than the federal government. I don't think it's ever happened.
 MR. HUGET: Do you think an organized workforce in the retail sector or the retail-manufacturing sector can be competitive?
 MR. ROBINS: Would you repeat the question for me? I just want to make sure.
 MR. HUGET: Do you think a workforce that is organized or unionized, or however else you want to refer to it, in the retail sector or in the retail-manufacturing aspect of your business can be competitive?
 MR. ROBINS: The answer is, I believe, yes, depending on a whole host of things. I could say the other side, a retail environment that is not unionized could be competitive as well, or I could tell you it's not competitive. I think it relates to how it's managed. I think it relates to the people it has, attitudes it has, policies and practices it has. I think it relates to a whole host of things, so I don't think I can answer it one way without giving the other.
 THE CHAIR: Thank you, sir. I want to thank Dylex and you, sir, for appearing to present your views and the views of your company. We appreciate your interest in the legislation and your eagerness to appear here at the committee, especially at this rather late hour in the evening. Thank you kindly. Take care.
 Thank you to the committee for its cooperation throughout the day, thank you to the staff, and we'll be back. We're adjourning until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning, at which time thre will be more interesting submissions by interesting people like the Canadian Paperworkers Union, Local 101, here tomorrow at 10 am.
 The committee adjourned at 2104.
 For further information: David Posluns, Senior Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer, (416) 586-7012
 -0- 10/01/92

CO: DYLEX LIMITED IN: REA ST: -- -- X066 10/01/92
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