Prince Albert Canadian Tire Expands

FTLComm - Prince Albert - February 4, 2001

The Prince Albert Canadian Tire is already one of the larger ones in the province but a concern about growing competition from American retail giants has brought this huge Canadian company to the decision to go from really big to beyond huge.

The present store has seen its goods jammed into about half the floor space the store occupied as three of the four walls are being pushed backward to expand the retail floor space. East, South and West are all new frontier
zones as auto parts clerks
wear hard hats and
construction workers mingle with customers and merchandise. The former vehicle service area is now a playground the BobCat and gravel truck as new concrete is being installed while above a new lounge and coffee shop is being installed to give customers a view of the auto repair centre.

Canadian Tire had been thought by many retail analysts to be most endangered by the move of WalMart into Canada but that has simply not been the case. Though Walmart hit the retail industry in the country Canadian Tire has retained their customers and perhaps gained even more as WalMart did not counter the main emphasis of this aggressive Canadian hardware company. Now some five years since Woolco
disappeared and WalMart replaced it Zellers (owned by Hudson Bay) and Canadian Tire are the two main mass market Canadian retailers and ProHardware and Home Hardware seem to be doing just fine as well. There has been persistent talk that "Target" has plans to move into the Canadian market place and indeed it carries many of the same range of goods one finds at a Canadian Tire. Competition from store to store will depend upon the customer's perception of how the retailer is addressing the customer's over all needs.

WalMart though providing outstanding low prices for many lines of merchandise fails to meet the variety criteria in clothing and quality that was found in a Woolco store and for that reason Zellers has maintained its market strength. In hardware WalMart's small and sometimes very limited range of actual items on the shelf has made Canadian Tire look good as it has always provided its customers with a good range of quality from cheap, low quality products to high end ones for professional customers. It will be interesting to see who Canadian Tire is getting set to confront and if the new challenger will be able to break into the solid customer base of this Canadian retail giant.