Fifty years ago, some kind of discount-retail god must have looked down upon America. Target, Walmart, and Kmart all established their first stores in 1962 and now they’re all finding ways to celebrate.
Walmart has rolled out a special website with a countdown clock to its 50th anniversary on July 2nd. Target celebrates its 50th year on May 1st, half a century after the Dayton Company opened its first Target-branded discount store in Roseville, Minnesota. (Of course, they’re all toddlers compared with JCPenney, which turns 110 this year.)
Of course this isn’t the only way these two retailers will be clashing heads. Target is spending part of this year prepping to make its launch in Canada in 2013, a market that Walmart has had its stamp on for nearly two decades. Target will be opening 125 to 135 stores, but Walmart is hoping to dampen the party.
"Although the addition will be new and interesting, we have an 18-year track record and believe our knowledge of the Canadian market will allow us to continue to grow," Shelley Broader, chief executive of Wal-Mart Canada, commented to Dow Jones Newswires. "Canadians are very tied to us." Perhaps to add punch to how important Canada is to the company, Wal-Mart held its annual international meeting in Canada this year.
Wal-Mart currently has 333 locations in Canada and is planning to add 47 stores next year while another 26 are planned for later. It currently brings in about $11 billion annually from Canada. "We are cementing our place as the location for one-stop shopping," Broader said, Dow Jones reports.
Of course, Walmart and Target aren't the only retail brands vying for Canadians' loyalty: Loblaws, Dollarama, Shoppers Drug Mart, and Costco all pose threats to their same slice of the market. Still, Target will likely be Walmart's most formidable foe.
"Of all players currently in or shortly entering the Canada market, Target has been competing head to head with Wal-Mart for the longest and has arguably been the most successful at it, and we don't see that changing" north of the U.S. border, UBS retail analyst Robert Carroll told Dow Jones.
Below, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel mulls his 32 years at the company, starting as a buyer trainee in the kids' department: