VIDEO: Target announces next batch of Canadian locations
March 19, 2013 | Kristin Laird | Comments
Two weeks after making its unofficial Canadian debut with three pilot locations in Southwestern Ontario, Target Canada is opening an additional 21 stores starting Tuesday.
The Minneapolis-based retailer is opening the doors to 17 locations today and four locations March 28. Target Canada will open 124 locations in Canada by the end of the year.
The retailer recently opened pilot locations in Guelph, Milton and Fergus to serve as testing grounds prior to the expanded roll out. The openings were met with both criticism and praise from consumers. Fans were pleased to see that the stores had the same look and feel as the chain’s U.S. locations. Others were displeased with the limited amount of stock on store shelves and a lack of bargains.
During a media tour of the new East York Town Centre location, John Morioka, senior vice-president of merchandising for Target Canada, said the retailer has learned a lot from the pilot locations over the past couple weeks.
He said the next batch of stores would be better prepared from a stock and point of sale perspective. Checkout procedures, for instance, have been tweaked to expedite the process.
“We opened them probably earlier than we would have thought typically, but we really wanted to understand what the marketplace was going to bring us so we could be prepared for these 17 stores and the four that will open next week,” said Morioka.
When asked about the steeper price tags, Morioka said the team at Target Canada comparison-shops over 20,000 items per week to ensure it delivers on its promise of competitive pricing.
In-store designs were lifted from traditional big box locations as well as the retailer’s City Target urban concept stores in the U.S., said Morioka.
In a small number of U.S. stores, Target is testing lower shelf heights in its pharmacy department to “create a nice sight line,” said Morioka. That design will be introduced at most of its Canadian locations.
Target’s grocery section is an important part of the retailer’s business in Canada, said Morioka. Seasonal and fresh products are highlighted at the front of the section along with easy to prepare meal solutions.
And an international aisle will be included at all of the Canadian locations, says Morioka. The product offering in each store will vary based on the needs of specific regions within the country.
The average store size in Canada is 114,000 square feet – 67,000 of which are selling space – and employs employs 150-200 people, said Morioka.