It was not unexpected. Canadian Tire is taking over a number of leases of old Targets across Canada. In Winnipeg there was really only one location that made sense and that was Grant Park Mall. All of the other Targets simply had a Canadian Tire already very close by.
Target did a fair sized expansion and work inside the Grant Park location before they moved in. Canadian Tire could benefit from the bigger footprint the store has now. To suit the needs of automotive repair, work will need to be done on the east side of the building.
Millions of dollars of improvements have been done on the Grant Park Mall over the last three years. Much of this had been triggered by Target’s arrival. The Liquor Mart and Shppper’s Drug mart all invested heavily and many other changes took place in the mall as well including movie theatre renovations. Like many landlords, Grant Park was probably stunned at how poor a performer Target was and how they quit the country two years after coming.
It will all work out in the end. Canadian Tire coming to Grant Park Mall makes more sense than almost any other retailer. The Canadian owned store has managed to be profitable even with big U.S. outfits moving in. Canadian Tire Polo Park is successful as is the Kenaston Canadian Tire. If anything the Grant Park location fills a geographic gap for shoppers looking for automotive stuff, sporting good, some small do it yourself items and the whole other range of products the store carries.
There were complaints by some that the old Zellers locations were poor places for Target to succeed. Maybe so but Walmart started out at Grant Park in 1994 and used it as a springboard to Kenaston in 2000. I was excited as anyone when Target came. As with most, I was familiar with their brand from shopping in the States. We really never got what we saw in the States. And Canadians were told not to expect it either. Target Canada was specific to this market and was competing against Superstore and Walmart. In that they failed as well in terms of price, selection and keeping the shelves stocked. Business schools will be writing about Target’s failure for years to come. Instead, the carcass will be picked over by others such as Canadian Tire.
It is hard to say how long it will take Canadian Tire to set up shop at Grant Park. It really depends on how many they have to shape it to the store needs. At the very least it stands to reason that six months is not unreasonable but it could be early 2016 before the store is ready.
This won’t be the last announcement of what happens with old Target locations. Polo Park remains very attractive to several parties. Southdale might have more troubles but we’ll see. I suspect the Target on Regent might have a few interested in it as well. All in all though, we have seen troubled retailers like Blockbuster, Linens and Things And Sears all have their properties snapped up. Add Zellers to the mix when Target took over their leases.
Grant Park Mall has probably found the perfect large size store after so long. What’s more is that after their extensive renovations, they are well positioned to capture more of the market in the dense area around Grant Park.
This has been a guest editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations