June 12, 2008 / 3:24 PM / 9 years ago

Canadian Tire to build big distribution hub

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Tire Corp expects to open a new distribution center near Montreal to supply about 300 stores in Eastern Canada in early 2009, the country’s biggest auto parts and household goods retailer said on Thursday.

Construction of the new C$240 million center ($235 million) is under way and, once complete, will move up to 55 million cubic feet of products annually to Canadian Tire stores in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime provinces.

Genco Distribution Systems will operate the 1.5 million square foot facility in Coteau-du-Lac, outside Montreal. Genco, which manages over 125 operations throughout North America, also operates Canadian Tire’s returns facility and Calgary, Alberta, distribution center.

Testing of information technology and material handling systems will start in the fall of 2008. Within three years, Genco expects to employ 600 full-time and 300 part-time staff at the facility.

Canadian Tire, which also operators gasoline bars, Mark’s Work Wearhouse stores and offers financial services, has more than 473 stores across Canada. Between 2008 and 2012, it plans to expand to 549 stores across the country.

Shares declined 59 Canadian cents to C$74.90 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday as more-heavily traded class A shares fell 8 Canadian cents to C$55.96

($1=$1.02 Canadian)

Reporting by Susan Taylor; Editing by Peter Galloway

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