Friday, 11 May 2012

With Target threat ahead, Canadian Tire CEO plays up brand’s national heritage

With Target threat ahead, Canadian Tire CEO plays up brand’s national heritage
Hollie Shaw  May 10, 2012 – 5:40 PM ET | Last Updated: May 11, 2012 9:14 AM ET
Canadian Tire Corp. chief executive Stephen Wetmore did not mention Target Corp. explicitly at the annual shareholder’s meeting in Toronto on Thursday, but the U.S. retailer’s arrival loomed large in a speech that played heavily upon the company’s national heritage.
It is not lost on us that we are one of the last great Canadian retail brands,” he told investors, detailing consumers’ sentimental associations of the retailer as the place where Canadian kids get their first bicycles and hockey skates, gear for camping trips and Hallowe’en decorations.
“We are the purveyor of Canadian dreams,”
he said.

It may tug at investors’ heartstrings, but it is also a calculated strategy to play up the company’s bench strengths in advance of Target, which by this time next year will have at least 24 of its new stores up and running in Ontario.
“Their product lines and assortments are extensive, and you have customers who will definitely go in to try them out,” Mr. Wetmore said in an interview after the meeting when asked about Target. “That’s why it’s very important that you are capturing as big a share of wallet as you possibly can from your existing customers, and stay focused on doing what you do well.”
The annual meeting arrived on an upbeat news day for the 90-year-old Canadian company, which announced profit leapt 22% in the first quarter to $71-million, or 87¢ per share, compared with earnings of $58.4-million (71¢) in the same period of 2011. It far surpassed the mean analyst estimate of 79¢ a share, according to Thomson Reuters. Revenue rose 23% to $2.4-billion, from $2-billion in 2011.

Canadian Tire’s shares closed at a 52-week high and climbed as much as 6% during the day.

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