Target gives peek at first Canadian stores in expansion push

Mon Mar 4, 2013 6:42pm EST
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* First three Canadian stores open on Tuesday

* 24 to open in Ontario by end of March

* Target spending $1.5 bln on Canada in 2013

* Has hired 5,000 employees, 27,000 by year end

By Susan Taylor and Solarina Ho

GUELPH, Ontario, March 4 (Reuters) - U.S. discount retailer Target Corp gave a first look at one of its new stores in Canada on Monday, showing freezers with locally-produced cakes and the country's iconic beaver-logoed Roots apparel brand, designed to appeal to Canadians in its massive expansion outside the United States.

Target's bold entry is expected to threaten a range of Canadian retailers, from department store operators to grocers and pharmacies, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc has planned its own growth spurt in Canada to defend its turf.

Target will open three stores in southern Ontario on Tuesday, the first wave of a multi-billion dollar push into Canada that will add 124 stores by this Christmas shopping season.

"We know this is an incredibly competitive retail market place," Target Canada president Tony Fisher told reporters during a store tour in Guelph, an hour's drive from the Ontario capital of Toronto. "We have a lot to learn, and so I think we're going to hit a lot of home-runs, but I think we're also going to have some misses as well."   Continued...