This isn't the first story we've done about Walmart looking to blunt Target's momentum as it rolls into Canada this year. Back in July of last year, Walmart Canada announced it was lowering prices on 10,000 products, the biggest rollback in the company's history in that country. It also announced a major remodeling and store opening program.
This week, Walmart Canada announced it would spend $450 million (C) to finish conversions or remodels on 37 supercenters as well as open nine more stores by the end of January 2014. A year from now Walmart Canada will have 388 stores while Target will have somewhere between 110 and 135.
"Our associates across the country have done an incredible job this past year serving our customers and opening a record number of new stores and supercentres," said Shelley Broader, president and CEO of Walmart Canada, in a press release. "This year, we are ramping up our focus on lowering prices and helping customers lower their cost of living, as we continue to bring our supercentre format to more Canadians."
Ms. Broader told The Globe and Mail that Walmart would focus on providing a one-stop shopping destination for Canadians. She said rather than focus on what Target does, Walmart would continue to emphasize its ability to help its customers save money.
"Any time you are in a marketplace where you are dealing with the exit of a comparatively weak competitor in Zellers, and the subsequent entry of a competitor that is world renowned for merchandising, great marketing alliances and product development, any prudent retailer would be concerned about that," Doug Stephens, president of Retail Prophet Consulting, told The Globe and Mail.
Meanwhile, Target announced that it would carry the Roots Outfitters Collection in its Canadian stores from March to June. Prices will range from $7.99 to $34.99 on the line.
"As we open our doors, I think our clean store environment and distraction-free shopping experience is really important. Certainly, the collaborations and those kinds of things that we do on that front really are a great value," Mr. Morioka, senior vice-president of merchandising at Target Canada, told the Times Colonist.
"So, it is about price, but it's also about value, and we'll bring that to Canada. And as we learn more, we'll have to make adjustments as we learn how Canadian guests shop our stores," he added.
How much more or less of a competitive threat to Walmart is Target in Canada vs. in the U.S.?