In an interview with Reuters, Walmart Canada CEO David Cheesewright explained Walmart’s plans to stay competitive when rival Target enters the Canadian retail market.
Cheesewright explained that Walmart saw the most consumer confidence decline back in 2008 and it hasn’t improved since then. The corporation has additionally been recognizing a sales trend for its locations with higher sales when consumers receive paychecks while near month-end sales decline. Even more, customers are seeking out more value from their products as the global economy sputters.
"It's tough but stable, and people are looking for value. That hasn't changed much over the last 18 months, and I'm not sure I see it changing much over the foreseeable future,” said Cheesewright in an interview.
In the Canadian market, Walmart locations number around 300, a substantial amount more than Target’s location plans for its initial launch 2013. Target announced in May its intention to purchase 220 Zeller store locations throughout Canada.
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"The Canadian market is incredibly competitive anyway. I've worked in Europe, I have a lot of experience in the U.S., and it's one of the most competitive markets I've seen," said Cheesewright
Cheesewright also explained Walmart’s plans for its stores, saying 35 to 40 locations would be converted to supercenters each year with additional few new store openings as well.
Will this be substantial enough once Target enters the market? It’s too soon to tell. Walmart does have the jump on Target by its entrance into Canada earlier which encourages brand recognition, but will it have to compete with Target to offer the lowest price? It will be interesting to see how the market changes as a new player comes onto Canada’s retail scene in 2013.