Why Walmart won and Target lost in Canada

Walmart understood that Canada isn't a U.S.

The week after Target said it was shutting all 133 stores in Canada, Walmart reminded us that it was opening 11 stores here this month alone.

Why is Walmart succeeding where Target failed? Several reasons, according to an article by Forbes.

One is that Walmart came to Canada first. In 1994, when Walmart bought 122 Woolcos, the Canadian retail landscape wasn’t quite as competitive as today.

Walmart also wasn’t nearly as ambitious as Target. Walmart expanded slowly and, at first, ran only discount stores rather than giant-sized supercenters. Target tried to do too much too soon.

Another point raised by Neil Stern of retail consultancy McMillanDoolittle in Chicago, is that Walmart’s Canadian stores were never run as an extension of the American business.

“It is not a satellite of the U.S. but understood to be a different country,” he said.

Of course, even Walmart has had losses in Canada. In 2009, it closed all six of its Sam’s Clubs after the chain failed to lure enough business away from direct competitor Costco.

Not much solace for Target, perhaps. But it does show that even mighty Walmart isn’t perfect.

Read the full story here.

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