In March, Canadian discounter tb!s the bargain shop promoted U.S. retailing veteran Beryl “Jack” Buley to president and CEO. Buley was recruited by the chain in 2010 as executive VP and chief merchandising officer.
Buley brings years of retailing experience to tb!s, which started out as Woolworth’s Canadian division in the 1920s. Prior to moving north and joining the company, he served as division president of merchandising, marketing and global supply chain for the fast-growing Dollar General. And before that, he spent 16 years at Kohl’s, ending his stint there as executive VP stores, where he oversaw the chain’s entry into such key markets as Atlanta, Dallas, New York and California.
Chain Store Age talked with Buley about his plans for tb!s and the retail environment north of the border.
What’s your first priority as the new chief executive of tb!s the bargain shop?
It is to take what is already a terrific company — with a lot of great merchandise and good value for Canadians — and make it even better. We do business in rural areas, some of them remote, and we are also in suburbs and we have urban locations, so it’s very diverse. And the No. 1 priority is to take what we’re doing already and then to bring to all of these locations some of the things that U.S. retail has gotten so good at.
Just as with Dollar General, which has transformed a great deal over the last four or five years from a store that wasn’t very easy to shop to an excellent, shoppable retailer, my priority at tb!s is to take what they have and use the experience I gained at Dollar General to similarly elevate the tb!s stores. That’s why the private equity company, Genuity, that owns tb!s recruited me, specifically to bring my experience with and understanding of U.S. retail to position tb!s for success — especially given that Target is coming to Canada, and so is Dollar Tree.
Has tb!s, like its American counterparts in the discount category, attracted a new shopper — one who previously didn’t frequent discount stores — in the recession?