The Osborne Observer
Entering the Canadian Retail Landscape for Dummies - a Western Canadian Perspective

A couple of years ago I wrote an article about the changing retail landscape in Canada and how a couple of retail icons went out of business - Eaton's and Zellers. Now Target has left the Canadian market place with a $6 billion loss and every day I read about another American or global company entering the Canadian market place. It always bears the question:
Do they understand this great country of ours?
  • Complexity of the small population base?
  • Vast geographic regional differences that effects Supply and Distribution?
  • Seasonal weather pattern?
  • Major cites’ demographic differences?
When I worked for Zellers my title was Regional Merchandise Manager for Western Canada. My job was to ensure the stores had the right product at the right time and correct depth or breadth of assortment based on the above challenges or opportunities, and based on the demographic and regional differences. The job was extremely interesting and rewarding, but it was frustrating also in how much work it was to convince Buyers, Merchants and Supply Change Executives of these differences as they were Canadians living in the “center of the universe” called Toronto. So I cannot even imagine how American and Global Executives start the  planning process when they make the decision on entering Canada retail market.

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