The discount department store wars have heated up this month with the recent entry of Target into Canadian markets. After the American retail giant’s purchase of Zellers leases across the country in 2011, the chain has now moved into direct competition with Walmart on both sides of the border.
For this week’s map, we have plotted out the Canadian holdings of both of the shopping behemoths in order to see where the battles for your dollars will be waged.
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Walmart is firmly entrenched in communities across the country with (according to our data) 371 locations across Canada; Target has its work cut out for it. The first disclaimer to note with the Target location data is that not all of these stores are ready for business yet. Target has a rolling opening schedule that will see their 124 stores phase in to operation by the fall, but rest assured the invasion has begun and the competition will be heated.
The overarching trend to be observed is that Target is clearly targeting urban centres during their initial launch. Aside from British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec the chain is sticking to larger cities when rolling out. Unsurprisingly, Target has blitzed the GTA and Southern Ontario with stores, but Walmart still has a significant advantage in the GTA area and is uncontested in outlying smaller communities. There is also a heavy concentration of Target locations in Vancouver, Montreal and Kingston. Presumably, in 2014 and beyond we will see Target make inroads into smaller communities across the country.
The big box battle is like the restaurant business; “location, location, location” is a most important factor in attracting customers. It will be interesting to see how this competition plays out over time, as it looks like we could be looking at an entirely new Canadian retail landscape by 2015.