Canadian Tire attempts to soften hammer and nails image

While almost half of Canadian Tire's shoppers are women, the store-for-guys image still persists, according to Wayne Sales, the company's president and chief executive. "If you really ask people, they would describe [Canadian Tire] as a man's toy store," he said. "This is designed to not only increase the basket size from male customers, but also our market share of the female purse."

National Post
November 1, 2003

Canadian Tire attempts to soften hammer and nails image
Company hopes to attract more women
Peter Brieger

Shoppers turned off by the narrow aisles, poor signage, and giant steel merchandise racks at many Canadian Tire Corp. stores may be in for a pleasant surprise.

The country's ubiquitous hammer and nails retailer is undergoing an upmarket facelift with an eye to attracting more women, a move it hopes will boost sales by as much as 20%.

Colour-coded sections, softer lighting, wide-open aisles, wood finishes and even skylights will supplant harsh interiors. The plan also calls for home decor display space to jump 95%, plus a 44% hike in ready-to-assemble furniture.

While almost half of Canadian Tire's shoppers are women, the store-for-guys image still persists, according to Wayne Sales, the company's president and chief executive. "If you really ask people, they would describe [Canadian Tire] as a man's toy store," he said. "This is designed to not only increase the basket size from male customers, but also our market share of the female purse."

To meet that goal, the retailer yesterday launched its Concept 20/20 program with four new test stores, three in Ontario and one in British Columbia, all anchored on new Driving, Playing, Fixing and Living sections. Adorned with new outdoor signage, the stores are centered inside by a "marketplace" promoting different products every few weeks and a customer service desk, separate from the product returns area. Dining and cooking areas will feature a specialty boutique while the ready to assemble section carries "mid to upper price point" goods, from desks and furniture to chopping blocks and entertainment centres.
A beefed up home decorations area will carry everything from pillows and paint to window coverings and lighting, all surrounded by lifestyle images.

"I think it's miles different [from other Canadian Tire stores]," said George Hartman, analyst at Dundee Securities Corp. "They're obviously trying to broaden the appeal of the stores and make it more customer and female friendly."

Mr. Sales agreed the plan is designed to increase visitors' overall shopping experience, but he added that Canadian Tire purists have no reason to worry. "This is another part of our evolution," he said. "We're not giving up anything we're famous for — there is still something for everyone."
Indeed, the test stores' "Driving" section will house automotive parts and "outfitter boutiques" carrying golf shirts and hunting jackets — though there will also be women's clothing and a large selection of outdoor footwear.

All-terrain vehicle sales and merchandise rentals — both firsts for the retailer — are being considered, Mr. Sales said.

If its strategy translates into a revenue boost, the retailer may retrofit about three-quarters of Canadian Tire's 450-odd retail stores across the country, which posted sales of $5.6-billion last year. That figure doesn't include revenue garnered from its gas bars, financial services division or the 315-store Mark's Work Wearhouse chain, which it purchased in 2001.

Last month, Canadian Tire said it plans to open "destination sites" next year that will pair up some of the hardware chain's stores with Mark's locations.

moc.tsoplanoitan|regeirbp#moc.tsoplanoitan|regeirbp

© Copyright 2003 National Post


Brought to you by WikidFranchise.org

Risks: Canada, 20031101 Canadian Tire

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License