This year, Gregg Steinhafel has pushed Target Corp. full steam ahead in its expansion into Canada, with 48 stores open so far and 76 more expected to be operational in 10 provinces by the end of 2013.
“This means we expect to open more Target stores in our first year in Canada than we opened in our first 10 years in the United States,” Steinhafel, president and CEO, told investors in an earnings call in May.
Though Target has said food was not an essential component for driving traffic to its Canadian stores given their locations, it is still a key draw for customers.
“Grocery is an important part of our store strategy in Canada. Thus far, guests are responding well to products and brands that differentiate us, such as Archer Farms and Market Pantry,” Jamie Bastian, Target spokesperson, told SN.
Another way Target has appealed to Canadian customers is by catering to local tastes, such as carrying certified provincial-made foods in Quebec, a strategy the retailer continues to pursue chainwide.
“This is just a long-term initiative that we have to continue to focus on, whether it’s in food, whether it’s demographics, whether it is ethnic groups. We’ve just got to continue to get better at our localization efforts. And we think we’ve made good progress there, and we’re going to continue to focus on it,” said Steinhafel.
Target also has been achieving its goals in adding expanded fresh food layouts through store remodels, of which about 230 took place in 2012.
“This commitment can clearly be seen in our nearly 1,200 full store remodels, which have resulted in a U.S store base that’s fresher than ever,” Steinhafel told shareholders at Target’s annual meeting in June.
An additional 100 remodels are slated for 2013.
In June, Target launched a natural and organic private-label line called Simply Balanced, with plans to expand offerings in the coming months and years.
The retailer set goals to eliminate genetically modified ingredients from its Simply Balanced products by the end of 2014, and increase its total organic food offerings by 25% by the end of fiscal year 2017.
“We are constantly evaluating our offerings to meet and exceed guest expectations and will introduce more organic offerings as appropriate,” said Bastian.
After a robust 2012, Target’s earnings fell short of expectations in the first quarter of 2013 — due to bad weather and the effects of the payroll tax increase — so the retailer has some work to do to bounce back for the rest of the year.
“Although this performance was disappointing, we remain highly confident in our strategy and our team’s ability to deliver strong results this year and in the future,” said Steinhafel.
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