Canadian Tire's food foray ending

2/9/2012

Canadian Tire is moving away from carrying food in its stores after three years.



According to an article in the Globe and Mail, the retailer isn’t putting food sections in its new prototype stores.

Food is currently offered in only 17 of its 487 stores; and Canadian Tire’s four new prototype stores have no food offerings.

Instead the focus in the new stores will be tires and auto products.

Canadian Tire is one of many retailers in Canada gearing up for Target’s entry in 2013.

While food draws shoppers to stores, margins can be half those of general merchandise. But data from Shoppers Drug Mart show that customers who buy food end up spending three times more overall than those who don’t.

But food can be a costly operation with distribution network and refrigeration requirements for perishable goods.

The article noted that chief executive officer Stephen Wetmore has played down the food strategy since taking office in 2009, returning instead to its roots in tires and auto products while firming up offers in housewares and sporting goods following last summer’s acquisition of Forzani Group.

The new Bowmanville, Ont., store for example has new aisles of party supplies, greeting cards and mobile phones. It also offers more kitchen goods, something that will be key category to watch when Target opens shop here.

Experts see this as a sign that the food experiment could be over at the retailer.

As well, others see Canadian Tire stores as not very female-friendly, like Walmart and Shoppers, especially since women do the bulk of grocery shopping in most households.

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