Posted by Reneé Alexander on March 21, 2013 01:46 PM
Target’s first foray into Canada, with 21 more store openings just announced, is striking some eager shoppers as off the mark.
The Minneapolis-based retailing giant surprised southern Ontario consumers a couple of weeks ago opening its first three stores north of the border earlier than expected. People lined up in anticipation of the highest-profile retail arrival since Walmart entered the market nearly 20 years ago, but once they got inside, many were disappointed.
Despite Target's efforts to embrace Canadian culture, including a design partnership with Canadiana chic brand Roots as well as an entertainment partnership with Vancouver-born crooner Michael Buble, there were a number of product shortages. This would be excusable in a newly-minted store that’s getting the kinks out—but perhaps most importantly, the low prices on which Target had built its reputation and brand weren’t there, or at least not to the extent that cross-border and online Canadian shoppers expected.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 19, 2013 03:49 PM
Is this a sign of things to come for Canada's retail darling? Lululemon, the Vancouver-based lifestyle brand and highly successful global retailer, over the weekend pulled its Luon black yoga pants from store shelves after discovering the sheer material was just too sheer, a result, some say, of poor quality control on the company's part. On Monday, the retailer announced it would be pulling various—but unnamed—styles of its popular (and pricey) yoga pants, explaining, “Some of our bottoms were made with a batch of black luon that doesn’t meet our standards so we’ve pulled them from our floors and our website.”
“At lululemon, our most important relationship is with our communities and our guests. We recently learned some information about some product that arrived in our stores and we wanted you to know right away,” according to the retailer's blog post. “We are working with our supplier to replace this fabric and other manufacturers to replenish the affected core items as fast as we can. What that means is there will be a shortage of these styles in our stores and online until our new stock arrives. We are also in conversation with our manufacturing partner to understand what happened during the period this fabric was made.”
The brand said it will offer refunds or exchanges to customers who bought the affected item in March, either online or in stores. Lululemon—which was just named Canada's top retail brand by Interbrand's 2013 Best Retail Brands report—is known for turning around products on short order. "Our guest knows that there's a limited supply, and it creates these fanatical shoppers," CEO Christine Day, a former Starbucks executive, told the Wall Street Journal. But the reported pants issue isn't a calculated sales strategy to boost demand and drive sales.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 18, 2013 07:10 PM
Oprah Winfrey remains a force of nature, but as she struggles to right her eponymous network, readies launch of an organic brand (also eponymous) on her Maui farm and prepares to address a comparatively small (for her) audience as the speaker at Harvard's 362nd commencement, her latest foe is the CRTC.
Canada’s TV watchdog has put OWN and Corus Entertainment (Canadian licensee) on notice for not fulfilling its educational mandate and has issued a mandatory order to ensure OWN in Canada "complies with its nature of service definition."
"Oprah Winfrey may have taught millions of followers the importance of self-esteem and the value of a good book, but the Canadian broadcasting regulator ruled on Friday that her fireside chats with other celebrities don’t qualify as educational programming, spelling the end of the Oprah Winfrey Network (Canada) as it currently exists," notes The Globe and Mail.Continue reading...
Posted by Reneé Alexander on March 11, 2013 02:07 PM
Canada’s oldest retailer launched a major rebranding effort the same week that Target christened its first stores north of the 49th parallel. Coincidence? Maybe, but probably not.
The Bay, which has its roots in Canada’s fur trade, will now be known as Hudson’s Bay. It won’t be that much of a stretch for consumers, considering the new name is a nod to its parent company, Hudson’s Bay Co., but it will mean its unique stylized-ribbon “B” in The Bay will be retired.
A return to the iconic retailer’s classic full name with a word mark—which will be used on all marketing and media materials, as well as online and on in-store displays—is its first major logo rebrand since 1965.Continue reading...
Posted by Reneé Alexander on March 4, 2013 04:21 PM
After playing coy about its exact launch dates in Canada, Target has confirmed it's opening the first of its Canadian stores this week. Residents in three communities (Guelph, Fergus and Milton) west of Toronto will be able to check out the launch trio of Target Canada "pilot stores" that will open at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, part of the first wave of 24 stores soft opening this month in Ontario. As Target's press release puts it,
Like the majority of Target locations opening in Canada, the pilot stores feature a licensed Starbucks, as well as an in-store pharmacy designed to provide guests with superior patient-centered healthcare. “The Target team is excited to open these test locations as we put the finishing touches on our stores, assortments and inventory,” said Tony Fisher, president, Target Canada. “We look forward to delivering on our Expect More. Pay Less. brand promise and providing an outstanding shopping experience as we approach our grand opening in early April.”
The move kicks off the Minneapolis-based retailer's opening of up to 135 locations in former Zellers locations across Canada, 124 of those locations opening their doors this year. Target had said publicly it will start having soft store openings in March but it hadn't given exact dates or specific locations. In advance of this week's opening drive, the brand is practically building snowmen (see a recent Facebook cover image, above), drinking maple syrup straight from the bottle and painting its face at hockey games.
The retailing giant has been on an awareness-building campaign for its highly-anticipated arrival since late last year, one that is expected to ignite an all-out battle for consumers not seen since Walmart stormed the 49th parallel in 1994 with the acquisition of 122 Woolco stores.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on February 25, 2013 10:02 AM
As promised, a slew of new ad campaigns made their red carpet debut during the Oscars telecast Sunday night on ABC and in local markets. Below, check out new campaigns for Samsung Mobile (starring director Tim Burton and a unicorn), Kristen Chenoweth for Royal Caribbean, Jennifer Aniston for Aveeno, Naomi Watts for Pantene and more. Then tell us which (if any) you think deserve best in show—and which marketers should have saved a million dollars or so.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 19, 2013 05:12 PM
Could there be a better match than between the red and white of Target's logo and identity and the red and white of Canada's maple leaf flag — or between Canada's relatively sleepy retail environment and the jolt that Target will bring?
Canadians and the Minneapolis-based retailer are moving closer to finding out. Target is poised to open its first outlets in Canada in the next few weeks, the first of a total of 124 stores planned for the country this year. Its coming invasion of store openings in March and April is exciting many Canadian consumers, prompting wariness among its soon-to-be competitors and necessitating a country-specific strategy from Target despite its accomplishments in the much bigger market to the South.
The move north involves more than simply remembering the "u" in "neighbor," as noted on its Canadian website, or featuring hockey-playing polar bears (with its logo conveniently placed center ice) on its Canadian Facebook page. It also means respecting local preferences in food, clothing and doing business.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 6, 2013 04:14 PM
BlackBerry 10 phones are available in Canada as of today. It's the company's home market, and the first place in North America where consumers can put the devices into action.
"Today is a day that many Canadians, especially members of Team BlackBerry, will never forget," the company blogged.
The debut is a significant moment for BlackBerry as it attempts to rebound in the mobile phone market it once pioneered. Its Super Bowl ad did not create much buzz, and the arrival of the keyboard-equipped BlackBerry Q10 in the crucial U.S. market is not expected until May or June, its CEO, Thorsten Heins, said today. (The Z10 is expected in the U.S. by mid-March.)
Without disclosing sales figures, the company released a statement by Heins that the Z10, which also launched last week in the UK, is off to a better sales start than all of its predecessors:
"In Canada, yesterday was the best day ever for the first day of a launch of a new BlackBerry smartphone. In fact, it was more than 50% better than any other launch day in our history in Canada. In the UK, we have seen close to three times our best performance ever for the first week of sales for a BlackBerry smartphone."Continue reading...