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Walmart to face Target’s ‘Operation Ontario’ in 2012


The Germans didn’t know the precise landing point of the allied of invasion of Europe, but Walmart now knows where Target plans to launch its assault on the Canadian market.

Walmart stores in Ontario will be the first to face fresh competition from Target, as the company this week disclosed the Canadian province would be home to its first 24 stores, which are slated to open next March or April. Those familiar with the Canadian market weren’t surprised by Target’s choice of landing points as the company’s Canadian headquarters is near Toronto in the city of Mississauga – the same as Walmart – and Ontario is Canada’s most heavily populated province with about one third of the nation’s 36 million residents.

Target is entering the densest province first in a classic retail expansion strategy to establish a critical mass of stores as quickly as possible to leverage expenses and gain operational efficiency.

The Ontario opening are part of a larger strategy that calls for the eventual addition of between 125 and 135 units stemming from last year’s acquisition of 189 leases of former Zeller’s locations, a portion of which were actually sold to Walmart. The arrival of Target represents some serious, yet familiar, competition for Walmart and with Target planning to invest between $10 and $11 million in remodeling costs per unit it won’t be the pushover that Zeller’s was.

Meanwhile, in Western Canada, the Calgary Herald reported that Target plans to build a 1.3 million square foot distribution center just north of Calgary, one of three such facilities the company plans to operate nationwide.

The Ontario store locations disclosed by Target include the following:

  1. London Westmount, Westmount Shopping Centre

  2. Kawartha Lakes, Lindsay Square Mall

  3. Newmarket, Upper Canada Mall

  4. Milton, Milton Mall Shopping Centre

  5. Cambridge, Cambridge Centre

  6. Toronto, Centrepoint Mall

  7. Mississauga, Square One Shopping Centre

  8. Ajax, Durham Centre

  9. Orillia, Orillia Square Mall

  10. Brampton, Shoppers World Brampton

  11. London, Masonville Place

  12. Windsor, Devonshire Mall

  13. Toronto, Cloverdale Mall

  14. Toronto, Shoppers World Danforth

  15. Burlington, Burlington Mall

  16. Toronto, East York Town Centre

  17. Aurora, Aurora Shopping Centre

  18. Fergus, Gates of Fergus

  19. Hamilton, Centre Mall

  20. Guelph, Stone Road Mall

  21. Burlington, Millcroft Centre

  22. Waterdown, Flamborough Power Centre

  23. Whitby, Taunton Road Power Centre

  24. Brampton, Trinity Common

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