Walmart Canada goes on offensive ahead of Target arrival
Wal-Mart Stores isn’t about to let the grass grow under its feet in Canada.
The discounter plans to spend about $753 million this fiscal year to expand
its store presence in Canada, before rival Target Corp. begins its push in
the country. With 73 projects - remodeling - store expansions - relocations
and adding 4.6 million sq. ft. of retail space. Bringing its store count to
Canada's retail landscape is "going to get tough".
Landlords and banks are squeezing the small retailers and losing patience
with the weak players. There was an increase in mid size retailers going out
of business in 2011 - closing hundreds of stores and leading to a pinch in
retail jobs right now and 2012 won't be any better. The push won't really be
felt for another two years so getting there could be tough. The rush of
foreign chains is creating a new challenge for Canada's retail sector. It
faces the threat of more managerial jobs being consolidated in foreign
hands, while lower paying store positions remain here. How the sector deals
with this conundrum will provide lessons to other sectors, which also are
grappling with a loss of control over operations in this country. The
pressures are even being felt by more stable domestic retailers. To lure new
tenants, landlords are forcing existing merchants to abandon their prized
spots in the best malls in favor of a foreign competitor, Mr. Lichtsztral
said. Top malls are demanding steep rent hikes to renew a lease, forcing
incumbents to leave. The squeeze is going to upset feathers for a while.
Canada's drug store industry is set for a battle as well.
Target's opening independently operated pharmacies under a franchise model
in all of its stores and U.S. McKesson Corp is buying control of 850 stores
across Canada that operate under the I.D.A. and Guardian brands. Its also
buying the Katz Group drug store chains franchise business which services
the 160 Medicine Shoppe outlets. (Source
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