Target gets green light for Zellers takeover
Local renovations to start late this summer
By: By Megan Sarrazin
| Posted: Saturday, Jul 07, 2012 06:00 am
After roughly three months of consideration by cabinet, the federal government announced Friday it would approve the takeover plan of U.S. retail giant Target.
Target will move into Zellers locations across Canada and is set to open its St. Albert location in late spring of 2013, said Lisa Gibson, Target Canada spokesperson.
The approval falls under the Investment Canada Act and requires Target to create at least 20,000 new jobs Canada-wide by 2015 and to commit to selling “uniquely Canadian cultural products.”
“Our Government is committed to strengthening Canada’s economy in all sectors, especially arts and culture,” federal Heritage Minister James Moore said in a press release.
Gibson said she didn’t have specific information on what “uniquely Canadian cultural products” would appear on store shelves, adding she expects the company’s merchandising strategy to be made public towards the end of the year.
Moore recommended in March that the government review Target’s takeover plan to ensure the company’s investment would result in a net benefit to the country.
Target will invest more than $3.5 billion in Canadian stores and will promote Canadian cultural products, support Canadian cultural events and organizations and incorporate Canadians in the business, the release said.
Before the St. Albert location opens its doors, the store will undergo a transformation from a “vacant box” to a fully functioning, modern retail outlet.
“The site will undergo significant renovations over a six- to nine-month period, with a total investment of more than $10 million,” Gibson said.
Neither Gibson, St. Albert Centre administration nor representatives from Primaris Retail REIT, the management company for the mall, were willing to share details of the renovations. However, mall officials had earlier said the Zellers location would undergo a major expansion of up to 20,000 square feet before re-opening as Target.
Renovations are expected to begin shortly after Zellers closes, which a store manager said will take place in mid-August.
“We are very excited that we will be bringing a Target store to St. Albert Centre,” Gibson said. “When we were looking at sites, we obviously were looking at extensive data just to ensure we could pick sites we thought could be good-performing stores and where we could really bring the Target experience to Canada.”
She said factors such as existing store performance, demographics, competition and market potential were all taken into consideration before making the move to take over the St. Albert Centre location.
The store is expected to create between 150 and 200 employment positions.
Target Canada spent $1.825 billion in 2011 to acquire the leasehold interests for up to 220 Zellers stores, 189 of which have been acquired to date.
So far, 112 locations have been confirmed across Canada with 15 located in Alberta.
“Target intends to announce additional locations over the next several months,” the company’s website says, adding between 125 and 134 stores will exist by 2014.