Competitors gearing up for Target

Hamilton stores are altering their facilities and stocking their shelves to prepare for the arrival of Target in Canada.

Target Canada opening one of its first stores on Barton Street in Hamilton.

Target Canada opening one of its first stores on Barton Street in Hamilton.

Giant Tiger Stores Limited has seen several changes recently, including the redesign and renovation of its stores to make it easier to shop, said Julia Knox, vice-president of strategic planning and market research for Giant Tiger Stores Limited.

“We have more brand name grocery products and on-trend fashions at unbelievably low prices,” she added. “We’re continuing to grow by adding more locations and expanding in existing markets.”

Along with renovations to its current stores, Giant Tiger will be opening 10 stores across Canada starting in March this year.

McMaster University professor Marvin Ryder told YourHamiltonBiz that big stores are already undergoing several changes to prepare for Target’s arrival.

“Since they know when Target is opening, they have ample time to prepare for its arrival,” he said.

Stores are relabeling and reinventing themselves, he added.

Knox noted Giant Tiger offers unique products with fantastic deals.

“Everything is in a friendly store that is easier to get in and out of, and more fun than big box stores,” she explained. “We are also very focused on our local communities – we tailor assortments to better meet our customers’ needs. We also support local causes such as sports teams, community groups and food banks.”

Vincent Power, vice-president of corporate affairs and communications for Sears Canada, noted many improvements have been made over the past year but is not related or connected solely to the arrival of Target.

“We rebalanced prices across the company with our ’5,000 New Lower Prices’ program which we launched in 2012,” said Power.

“This provided increased day-in and day-out value prices which meant customers could buy with confidence every day on some of their most favourite items and brands. We complemented this with an on-sale strategy for other items because sales are still very popular with Canadians and they expect department stores like Sears to offer sales on great items from time to time.”

Sears also launched its LOOK! report, a quarterly magazine-type flyer, revamped its customer service and returns policy, its infants and nursery products department called “The Baby’s Room,” and online site.

“We dramatically began a store refresh program and revamped nine stores last year, including Lime Ridge, to modernize our selling spaces and provide a space to properly showcase our product, with an emphasis on women’s, men’s and kids apparel,” said Power. “For 2013, we have some stores scheduled for the same kind of refresh, and dozens of stores scheduled for a version of a refresh, but will provide visual presentation elements that will allow the merchandise to be shown in a much improved manner than we have today.”

Power noted that much of these initiatives to Sears are in part to address the competitive retail store industry in Canada. The renovations are scheduled to be complete by the end of spring and early summer of2013.

A spokesperson for Future Shop added nothing could be said at this point, but the Canadian Tire Corporation told YourHamiltonBiz they remain focused on delivering exclusive brands and innovative products to Canadians.

“Canadian Tire understands life in Canada,” noted the corporation. “We’re confident that our unique product assortment and the increasing number of exclusive brands we offer throughout our seasonal, automotive, living, fixing and playing categories, will continue to set us apart.”

There will be five Target Canada stores opening in Hamilton starting in the spring of 2013 with one at Centre Mall and at the Flamborough Power Centre in Waterdown. Three stores will be opening up in the summer at South Hamilton Square on Upper James, Meadowvale Power Centre in Ancaster, and Queenston Place in Stoney Creek.

Originally posted in Your Hamilton Biz.

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