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Ontario onslaught marks arrival of Target

BY CSA STAFF

Smart move by Target to open its first wave of Canadian stores in Ontario, as the province accounts for roughly one third of the nation’s 36 million residents and is home to Target Canada headquarters and distribution facilities.

Consistent with expectations around the new market entry, Target said the stores would open in March or early April as part of a larger strategy to open between 125 to 135 stores in Canada following the acquisition of 189 leases of Zellers locations. Those Zellers stores were not in good shape, and in order to bring them up to Target standards, the retailers is engaging in its own version of a Canadian stimulus package by investing between $10 million and $11 million in each location.

That’s a big budget for a remodeling project, but the stakes are high for Target as it needs to dazzle and delight new shoppers in Canada as it won’t get a second chance to make a favorable first impression. And assuming it does so in Ontario, there will be a ripple effect of positive energy and favorable media coverage throughout the country that will create buzz in other communities as they anticipate the arrival of “their” Target.

At least that’s how it is supposed to work if Target can effectively manage the expectations of Canadians, many of whom are familiar with the Target brand, and then exceeds them by delivering on the expect more, pay less value proposition in the context of Canada.

Meanwhile, in Western Canada, the Calgary Herald is reporting that the Target is building a distribution center in the town of Balzac just north of Calgary to support the retailer’s entry into the market next year. It is not a surprise that Target chose the Calgary area for its third Canadian distribution center as it is one of the nation’s major Western cities and a hub of distribution.

“The center will be approximately 1.3 million sq. ft. and will sit on just under 80 acres,” the paper quoted Target spokesperson Molly Synder as saying. The facility, as well as two other locations in Eastern Canada, is expected to be open by the time the company’s first stores open in early 2013. In the case of the facility near Calgary, it will be managed by a third party firm, Eleven Points Logistics.

“They will manage all recruitment and hiring and will communicate those needs and plans with local communities in the coming months,” added Snyder.

The Ontario store locations disclosed by Target include the following:

  1. London Westmount, Westmount Shopping Centre

  2. Kawartha Lakes, Lindsay Square Mall

  3. Newmarket, Upper Canada Mall

  4. Milton, Milton Mall Shopping Centre

  5. Cambridge, Cambridge Centre

  6. Toronto, Centrepoint Mall

  7. Mississauga, Square One Shopping Centre

  8. Ajax, Durham Centre

  9. Orillia, Orillia Square Mall

  10. Brampton, Shoppers World Brampton

  11. London, Masonville Place

  12. Windsor, Devonshire Mall

  13. Toronto, Cloverdale Mall

  14. Toronto, Shoppers World Danforth

  15. Burlington, Burlington Mall

  16. Toronto, East York Town Centre

  17. Aurora, Aurora Shopping Centre

  18. Fergus, Gates of Fergus

  19. Hamilton, Centre Mall

  20. Guelph, Stone Road Mall

  21. Burlington, Millcroft Centre

  22. Waterdown, Flamborough Power Centre

  23. Whitby, Taunton Road Power Centre

  24. Brampton, Trinity Common

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A look back and ahead in CE category

BY CSA STAFF

The annual consumer electronics extravaganza known as CES gets underway in Las Vegas today, and in conjunction with the show’s kick off Market Research Solutions (MRS) is out with a new report that provides some unconventional insights into the 2011 holiday season and outlook for 2012.

The Tampa, Fla.-based research firm surveyed 272 department managers in early December at such retailers as Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Hhgregg and dominant regional players to gain a unique perspective on a category of business that is the most dynamic in retail. Among some of the key findings MRS provided exclusively to RetailingToday.com were:

  • The CE category started off strong with 61% of store managers surveyed indicating sales were higher than compared with the prior year and store traffic was higher than the prior year.

  • Brands are a big deal in the CE category. Apple was the brand most in demand during holiday 2011 – no surprise there – followed by Samsung, Sony, Vizio and Microsoft.

  • Tablets was the hottest category of 2011 and managers expect that to be the case again in 2012. Attachment rates for extended warranties were also strong.

  • Merchants and supply chain executives did a good job of accurately forecasting demand and replenishing merchandise after Thanksgiving weekend as three fourth of respondent reported inventory levels commensurate with demand.

In contrast to conventional consumer surveys, which are inherently flawed because shoppers are not always reliable predictors of their own behavior and also have poor recall of their actions, MRS seeks to understand the dynamics of the CE category from a different vantage point. By speaking with the department managers on the front lines of taking care of customers the data compiled by MRS offers a unique perspective of which Retailing Today was provided only a sampling. Quality information generated by original research is an expensive proposition so MRS is charging a nominal fee of $199 for the full report which is available by clicking here.

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7-Eleven implements mobile solution from On The Spot Systems

BY Staff Writer

Boston — On The Spot Systems, a mobile systems provider, announced that 7-Eleven is using its Survey on the Spot mobile survey platform to capture feedback from managers in the field. 7-Eleven recognized the critical importance of gaining timely and accurate market-level data in order to make better business decisions and began using the mobile survey system in March, according to On The Spot Systems.

”Using mobile technology to quickly and easily enable our field teams to provide real-time feedback is a terrific asset for our organization,” said Steve Holland, 7-Eleven’s chief technology officer. “Our previous paper-based system was time-consuming, and inefficient. We were not receiving nearly as much valuable feedback as we have since we began using Survey On The Spot.”

With the solution, 7-Eleven can create and administer the surveys and send them to their field managers’ smartphones through a link delivered via email or text message. The survey system allows the field managers to complete store visitation checklists and assess merchandising performance and other market-level data collection needs while they are away from their office.

"Understanding market level conditions in real-time results in better decision making," said Scott McCombs, VP of merchandising operations for 7-Eleven. “Survey On The Spot provides reliable and timely data in automated reporting so that we can see how we are doing with each question. We are able to take the data and respond more effectively to market changes.”

By implementing Survey On The Spot, 7-Eleven is able to eliminate the need for secondary data entry commonly needed for paper-based surveys. Mobile access makes data collection more convenient than using a laptop, and field personnel can gain insights on the performance of their units across multiple locations on the same day. Field managers also can submit a photo in the survey for clear validation of performance issues. The use of location specific Quick Response (QR) codes can also be implemented to manage compliance and validate location details.

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