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Canadian Tire Goes Back to Retail Core

TORONTO -- In an effort to grow the business over the next three to five years, convenience retailer and mass merchant Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd. unveiled a strategy focusing on its core retail business, customer service and efficiencies.

"The strength of our core brand is at the heart of all of our growth strategies," Stephen Wetmore, president and CEO of Canadian Tire, said in a statement. "All of our businesses have to be focused on serving one valuable customer as one great company -- centered on the Canadian Tire retail business."

Goals for the plan include top-line growth for the retail business of between 3 percent and 5 percent each year; consolidated operating earnings per share annual growth of 8 percent to 10 percent; a return on invested capital for its retail unit of 10 percent; and, a return on credit card receivables of 4.5 percent to 5 percent.

The company feels it has a sustainable competitive advantage in its Canadian Tire brand through consumer trust, unique assortment, modern store network and global sourcing capabilities.

Canadian Tire identified store categories that will drive sustainable growth, including store concept renewal, improved store performance and customer experience. The company does not anticipate needing to expanding its store network significantly to drive growth, as it will maximize the productivity of the existing retail footprint through the Smart store program -- which includes more space for high growth and 'cornerstone' categories, improved signage and more logical product adjacencies.

In addition, the Canadian Tire Retail (CTR) Small Market store, which includes a Canadian Tire gas station and Mark's store where possible, allows the company to enter incremental markets or replace select existing traditional stores, Canadian Tire stated.

To improve customer service, the company is engaging dealers through enterprisewide initiatives to improve customer experience consistency, and is developing a new loyalty program of targeted offers, promotions and value-added services.

In other Canadian Tire news, the retailer signed agreements with the Province of Ontario to build and operate 23 retail fuel and convenience store locations at travel plazas being redeveloped along Highways 400 and 401 in the province.

The facilities will be redeveloped and operated by Host Kilmer Service Centres, which selected Canadian Tire as the petroleum and associated convenience store partner for all the locations.

"Automotive is a key differentiator for Canadian Tire and a competitive advantage," Michael Medline, president of Canadian Tire Automotive, said in a statement. "These highways are the busiest in Ontario. We estimate the sites will generate 6 million incremental transactions a year and will help us develop new and longstanding relationships with customers."

The company expects the 23 locations to be the first LEED Silver-certified in Canada. Seven sites are currently under construction and 20 of the sites are anticipated to be open by the end of 2012.

At the locations, customers will be able to earn rewards for the company's loyalty program -- Canadian Tire Money -- through purchases at the pump and in the convenience store. "There are 78 Canadian Tire stores serving communities in close proximity to the new service centers," said Medline. "And there is great value for consumers and the company in offering Canadian Tire Money that can be redeemed within minutes of getting off the highway or at any of our 479 stores across the country."

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