Outside of Quebec, Canadians are keen to shop at Target


Canadians can’t wait to shop at a Target store here in Canada, according to a new report. But the excitement is less in Quebec where a significant number of shoppers haven’t even heard of Target.

Sixty-one per cent of Canadians say they are “very” or “somewhat” interested in shopping at Target, according to the 2011 Major Market Retail Report by KubasPrimedia.

Canadians are more excited about Target now than they were when Wal-Mart came to Canada in the early 1990s. Only 50% of consumers said they were “very” or “somewhat” interested in shopping at a Wal-Mart at the time.

Ed Strapagiel, executive vice-president of KubasPrimedia, says the two retailers elicit different responses from consumers. Wal-Mart is a great retailer, but the shopping experience and product lineup is “more utilitarian.”

Target has a reputation for being different and stylish. “Target is seen as a lot more fun,” he says.

The Major Market Retail Report, which examines shopper attitudes in the countries six biggest markets (Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal), found interest in Target is highest in Toronto at 71%, followed by Vancouver at 70%.

Interest is lowest in Montreal. Only 40% are keen to shop at Target. A big surprise: one in four Montrealers (26%) said they have never heard of Target. Only 3.7% of those surveyed in the rest of Canada said the same thing.

Quebec might become Target’s biggest challenge, says Strapagiel.

Target announced earlier this year that it will open over 200 stores in Canada after having picked up the leases of Zellers stores from the Hudson’s Bay Company. Target expects to attain sales of $6 billion in its first six years in operation in Canada.

It remains to be seen if the company can hit that ambitious goal. However, Strapagiel says interest in Target is highest among shoppers who spend the most–those between the ages of 30 and 49. 

“These are people who are more likely to be couples or families and they buy a lot of everything.” he says.

And while Target has a reputation for attracting mainly women, Strapagiel says his survey found a lot of men want to shop there as well. Sixty-three per cent of Canadian women are “very” or “somewhat” interested in shopping at Target. For men it’s 59%.

The Major Market Retail Report will be issued at the end of May.

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