Quebec's Retail Council says the industry is healthy, despite the closures of several well-known retail companies.

A study by the council says that hundreds of companies are planning to expand in the next three years, and that the number of retail employees has grown by 23,000 in the past three years.

It comes despite the high-profile closure of Target Canada, the bankruptcy of Mexx Canada, Jacob, and other retailers, and the difficulties faced by Le Chateau.

Patricia Lapierre, the director of the Quebec Retail Council, said the slow and steady expansions by retailers like Simons, Giant Tiger, and Chocolats Favoris.

“It’s a sector that's growing constantly, and there are a lot of jobs,” she said.

More than 3,000 companies have opened retail locations in Quebec since 2013.

Overall an estimated 475,000 people work in retail in Quebec, and retail sales grew to $109 billion, a growth of one percentage point.

However Lapierre pointed out that retailers in Quebec have been very slow to deal with online sales, with many thinking it was going to be a short-term fad.

Fewer than 40 per cent of Quebec retailers do business online, and total online sales are under 8 per cent of retail sales. Almost two thirds of Quebec retailers don’t even have online stores, much less mobile applications.

"The customer is shopping online. The customer is talking on social networks to discuss trends. So that is where the stores have to operate, to meet the customers where they are," said Lapierre. “Retailers have to look at their strategy. They have to figure out where they're going to meet the customers.”