TORONTO — Boutique eyewear retailers from around the world have set their sights on Canada as a hotbed for growth, hoping to capitalize on the country’s aging population and what they say is its taste for haute couture.Several companies including Hong Kong’s Mujosh, U.S.-based Warby Parker and Bailey Nelson of Australia have plans to open dozens of new stores over the next few years.“Canadian people focus more and more on fashion trends, which makes Canada a promising market for us,” said Mujosh spokeswoman Doris Jin.Mujosh opened its first Canadian store at West Edmonton Mall last month. It already boasts more than 700 locations worldwide and plans to add shops in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, Jin said.Last year, Canadians spent about $4.2 billion on spectacles, which includes frames, lenses, sunglasses and ready-made reading glasses, according to research firm Euromonitor International. That’s up from about $4.06 billion the previous year and roughly $3.84 billion in 2014. Euromonitor International says its expects steady growth to continue in the near future.“It’s a very friendly market,” said Ela Veresiu, assistant professor of marketing at the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto.Bailey Nelson entered Canada in 2014, though it had to close its seven stores last month after the company severed a licensee agreement, said Bree Stanlake, the company’s managing director of North America.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston But it’s coming back with two corporate-owned locations in Vancouver this spring, with plans to open one more in Vancouver and two others in Toronto over the next year, Stanlake said.“Across Canada, I can see easily between 40 and 50 stores in the next four years,” she said.Last summer, Warby Parker chose Canada when it opened its first bricks-and-mortar store outside the U.S. It now has two Toronto locations.Not to be outdone, some Canadian boutique chains also have ambitious growth goals. Montreal-based Bonlook currently has eight locations, but is planning to have more than 40 stores by early 2020, said company spokeswoman Andreanne Ferland.Canadian people focus more and more on fashion trends, which makes Canada a promising market for usPart of what makes Canada so attractive is because vision problems are growing. A rising older population and more screen time among younger generations has resulted in more people needing glasses, Euromonitor International said in a report last year.One-quarter of Canada’s population is far-sighted, while 30 per cent have near-sightedness, Euromonitor International said. A larger number of people over 55 years of age also means a higher rate of presbyopia, an age-related vision problem.Many of Canada’s provincial health plans also cover regular eye exams for children, teens and seniors, meaning more Canadians have the means to spend on eyewear.‘Doors shuttering, rents retreating’: Around 8,500 stores may close in U.S. this year alone as Amazon chews up retailersNational Post – Saturday. Apr. 1, 2017 ‘Not the first time’: Holt Renfrew cuts employee hours, shuffles execs amid luxury upheavalMujosh’s Jin said there’s another, more chi-chi factor at play, but that’s not to say the eyewear expansion plans are destined for success.“They can’t just enter a market and expand quickly and think that just because there’s increased demand … they’re going to succeed,” Veresiu said, pointing to Target’s epic collapse in Canada, where it shuttered all of its 133 stores only two years after its launch here.“The smart companies need to do their homework of course.”The Canadian Press
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., announces that he is abruptly pulling the troubled Republican health care overhaul bill off the House floor, short of votes and eager to avoid a humiliating defeat for President Donald Trump and GOP leaders, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, March 24, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) by Alan Fram And Erica Werner, The Associated Press Posted Mar 25, 2017 9:00 am MDT Last Updated Mar 25, 2017 at 6:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Self-inflicted collapse chokes GOP effort to undo Obamacare WASHINGTON – House Republicans passed roughly 60 bills over the past six years dismembering President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Other than minor tweaks, they knew the measures would go nowhere because the Democrat still lived in the White House.With a bill that counted Friday, they choked. It was an epic, damaging, self-inflicted collapse that smothered the GOP effort.“We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future,” a flustered Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters after abruptly yanking the legislation off the House floor to avert a certain defeat. “I don’t know how long it’s going to take us to repeal this law.”The measure would have erased much of Obama’s 2010 law, eliminating its unpopular requirement that people buy coverage, ending its Medicaid expansion and trimming federal assistance to people to help pay medical bills. It represented the culmination of seven years of unsuccessful GOP attempts to craft a replacement bill the party could rally behind — a unity that ended up eluding them.President Donald Trump responded to the failure by repeating his dire predictions for Obama’s law. He followed up Saturday, adding a more optimistic twist: “ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!” the president tweeted.Vice-President Mike Pence sounded as though the repeal-and-replace effort would continue unabated, telling a group at a small business in West Virginia on Saturday that “we will end the Obamacare nightmare and give the American people the world-class health care that they deserve.” He acknowledged that “Congress just wasn’t ready. … We’re back to the drawing board.”While some parts of the Affordable Care Act have obvious problems, others are working well and have brought the country’s rate of uninsured people to a record low.With Trump serving alongside a Congress controlled by the GOP, the bill was the party’s first genuine opportunity to repeal Obama’s statute. Ryan shelved it amid defections from centrist Republicans who thought it went too far and conservatives who considered it too weak, plus solid Democratic opposition.Its rejection was fueled by nonpartisan congressional analysts concluding it would cause 24 million people to lose coverage in a decade and drive up costs for poorer and older people. There was also opposition from doctors, hospitals, consumer groups and AARP.One problem facing the GOP is repercussions from the party’s voters. For nearly a decade, they’ve heard countless Republican congressional candidates promise to repeal Obama’s statute, a pledge that became a centerpiece of Trump’s presidential campaign.“It’s a really good question,” Ryan said, asked how Republicans could face constituents after failing to deliver on years of promises. “I wish I had a better answer for you.”Democrats, loyal defenders of Obama’s law, were literally jumping for joy. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., removed her shoes and took a victory leap while meeting activists outside the Capitol.Obama’s statute has spread coverage to 20 million people and required insurers to cover numerous services and barred them from refusing policies to the very sick.Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said that “at some point” lawmakers have to address the costs and availability of health care and said he was willing to work with the administration and both parties to do that. He issued the statement, he said, after a Friday night conversation with Trump.But top congressional Republicans mostly conceded the measure’s demise meant it was time to move onto other issues.Among them was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who has spoken repeatedly about how unraveling Obama’s law was a top priority for his chamber. In a statement, he expressed only gloom about the effort’s future.“Obamacare is failing the American people and I deeply appreciate the efforts of the speaker and the president to keep our promise to repeal and replace it, “McConnell said. “I share their disappointment that this effort came up short.”Two chief House authors expressed no taste for diving back into the issue.“D-O-N-E done. This bill is dead,” said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., who heads the House Energy and Commerce Committee.House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said Republicans “are moving full speed ahead with President Trump on the first pro-growth tax reform in a generation.”But there was no easy path ahead. Retooling America’s health care system — it comprises one-sixth of the nation’s economy — is a multi-tiered puzzle.On the economic side, it involves refashioning how providers, patients and federal programs should interact. And a political balance must be struck between conservatives eager to erase Obama’s law and push the system toward a free-market approach, and GOP moderates wary that would strip coverage from some voters and drive up out-of-pocket costs for others.Earlier this month, Ryan thought he would find that balance.“We’ll have 218 (votes) when this thing comes to the floor, I can guarantee you that,” he said, referring to the House majority usually needed to pass legislation.Ironically, the outcome hewed more closely to a prediction by Ryan’s predecessor, former Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Boehner was forced out of office in 2015 largely by the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, the same group whose opposition was largely responsible for the crumpling of the GOP bill on Friday.Boehner said last month that while Republicans would fix some problems of Obama’s law, a repeal and replacement is “not going to happen.”He added, “Republicans never ever agree on health care.”___Associated Press writer John Raby in xxxxxxx contributed to this report.