Canadian Tire to expand Sport Chek, Atmosphere chains

Wed May 30, 2012 2:28pm EDT
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By Claire Sibonney

(Reuters) - Canadian Tire Corp Ltd (CTC.TO: Quote) (CTCa.TO: Quote) will open more than 100 new Sport Chek sporting goods stores and Atmosphere outdoor gear shops over the next five years, while shutting down 115 unprofitable outlets operated under different banners by its FGL Sports unit.

Canadian Tire, one of Canada's biggest and best-known retailers, bought FGL Sports, formerly Forzani Group Ltd, last year and the acquisition has become a big profit driver for the company. Canadian Tire's flagship stores carry automotive, housewares and other goods.

Canadian Tire has more than 1,700 retail and gasoline outlets, and 506 FGL Sports stores under different banners, including 163 Sport Chek and Atmosphere locations.

"We can drive the business more effectively through our core banners," Michael Medline, president of FGL Sports, said in an interview.

"We believe, obviously, we can grow our footprint in terms of number of stores and our sales and the profits, and that's why we're able to make an announcement like this today because we see enormous growth potential in this division," he said.

Total sales associated with stores set to close were C$165 million ($160.2 million) in 2011, Medline told analysts and reporters on a conference call.

The company will add more than 2 million square feet of retail space under the Sport Chek and Atmosphere banners over the next five years, or more than 50 percent to the chains' existing retail space.

"You'll see it really ramping up in 2013 and you'll have steady growth from 2013 on under that aggressive plan," Medline told Reuters.   Continued...

Michael Medline, President of FGL Sports, poses in front of a Sport Chek store in this undated handout photo. Canadian Tire Corp Ltd's sporting goods chain, FGL Sports, will close 115 under-performing corporate stores and add larger new-concept stores. Canadian Tire, which sells automotive products, housewares and sporting goods, said FGL Sports plans to add more than 100 new Sport Chek and Atmosphere stores over the next five years. REUTERS/Canadian Tire/FGL Sports/Handout