Target’s well-known reputation for style and design might be getting the best of it in Canada. Rather than drawing customers into stores, shoppers may perceive prices to be higher.
“We know there is a gap in guest awareness of how low our prices really are,” said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “We’re deploying multiple tactics. Our efforts will drive greater awareness.”
Chains such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Canadian Tire and Loblaws No Frills and Real Canadian Superstore offer price-matching guarantees against competitors, while Drug Mart and Loblaws full-line stores don’t. Target’s prices in Canada were higher than Wal-Mart’s, according to a price study by Kurt Salmon & Associates, which said pricing is a sensitive issue for Canadian consumers. KSA said some shoppers were surprised that Target’s new stores weren’t on par with the retailer’s pricing in the U.S.
“There’s certainly an interest in fashion and an awareness of fashion in Canada,” said Wendy Liebmann, ceo of WSL Strategic Retail, which recently completed a study, “How Canada Shops.” “The Bay and midtier department stores have upped their offer in anticipation of Target’s arrival. While Canada doesn’t have as many [retail] options as we do in the U.S., they have some good food options, like Loblaw. There may not be as many stores or retailers, but there’s Costco and Wal-Mart.” RELATED STORY: Target Net Slips; Revises Guidance Down >>
No one expects Wal-Mart to take the competition lying down. Wal-Mart said it will spend 450 million Canadian dollars ($430 million at current exchange) on growing its operations in Canada, a year after spending nearly $750 million to open 46 stores. The retailer, which offers fresh food in about half of its locations, plans to make fresh food available in all stores. Target has been aggressive in this area with PFresh in the U.S. In Canada, the merchandising is similar.
Liebmann said foreign retailers often underestimate the Canadian market. “The complexity of Canada is going to be more challenging than originally anticipated,” she said. “There’s a cultural thing that just makes it different.”
The Canadian retail scene will get more competitive. Safeway last week pulled out of Canada, selling its 223 stores to Sobeys, which will be a formidable competitor, experts said. Ann Taylor, J. Crew, Victoria’s Secret and Chico’s are looking to enter Canada, and Nordstrom is launching there in 2014.
One retail executive who’s not eager to open stores in Canada is Terry J. Lundgren. The chairman, president and ceo of Macy’s said in June, “We’ve looked at Canada longer than anybody. We’ve been looking for 15 years and many opportunities came that we passed up. There’s certainly growth happening in the market. There’s going to be an onslaught of retailers fighting it out for market share. My point of view is, I think it’s done. There’s going to be a big battle going on there for next 10 to 12 years.”
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews