Ottawa-based Giant Tiger Stores Limited, a leading Canadian discount retailer, has launched a new store concept in its home base with plans to roll out the idea to more stores as the company continues its expansion plans across the country.
“Despite the vast challenges currently being felt across the Canadian retail landscape due to COVID-19, Giant Tiger continues to execute our growth strategy that includes expanding online and in-store capabilities,” said Paul Wood, President and CEO of Giant Tiger. “We are focused on ensuring Giant Tiger’s customers will be able to shop in the manner that best suits their busy lifestyle.”
The new concept recently launched at a redesigned store on Walkley Road in Ottawa — right beside the company’s head office. Wood said the idea of the new concept is to enhance the customer experience, improving the overall journey through the store and the integration of online and in-store capabilities, ensuring an easier and more efficient shopping experience that continues to save customers time and money.
The company currently has 258 stores in Canada.
“As of yet, we are still not in British Columbia nor are we in Newfoundland. But both of those I would caveat with a yet,” added Wood.
The company has been at that Walkley Road location since 1996 where it had a store, its main office and a distribution centre which has since moved to another location. Over the last year and a half to two years, it has been working on building a new home office structure behind the existing one and a new store has been attached to that structure. The old structure for the store will be demolished.
“It allows us to refresh the experience again. The last kind of standard we adjusted to we established about 10 years ago. A lot has continued to change in retail and in our operations over that time and we needed to refresh the store experience to help integrate the online experience with the in-store and to amplify some of the areas that have grown for us strategically around fresh and some of those different product categories that we needed an expanded and more capable set of fixtures and experience for the customers,” said Wood.
The new store, of about 25,000 square feet of selling space, aims to deliver an enhanced customer experience and includes:
- Enticing exterior window treatments to display Giant Tiger’s varied assortment, allowing the customer to see what they can expect to save on inside;
- Elevated in-store wayfinding signage provides shoppers an easier shopping experience and reinforces product assortment;
- Fitting rooms with empowering messages on the doors encouraging customers to feel good trying on their purchases;
- Interior specialty lighting in Fashion and Home departments highlight key products allowing the customer to better understand the product’s value and design;
- Branded online order pick-up area saves customers time by making the pickup process easier;
- Improved customer messaging about offerings both in store and online emphasize the ways customers can shop and save; and
- This new store will also serve as a test environment for additional customer-focused initiatives that add to the shopping experience before nationwide rollouts.
Wood said the new store has been carefully planned and designed to help communicate Giant Tiger’s commitment to product quality, freshness and safety, as well as everyday low prices.
The first Giant Tiger store opened in 1961 in Ottawa’s ByWard Market.
“This will be really a live test for us of some of these new elements and we will undoubtedly tweak them. We’ve got a few other test elements that are scheduled to go into the store over the next few months as well and being attached to our office it kind of serves as a good test facility for us in that sense,” said Wood.
“We absolutely anticipate leveraging the learnings from this launch and representing that into our new store standard as we go forward and open a few more stores that we have online coming in the spring but also as we test and confirm the design making it available to our existing stores so we can refresh across the country. Different stores, different sizes may be able to avail themselves of some or all of the components that we’ve updated and refreshed in the existing stores. So we approach it as a bit of an opportunity to allow them to refresh as much as possible or as much as they’re bounded by their existing retail space for example.”
Wood said the retailer continues to be positive on the opportunities for expansion in Canada. But being a frugal, low-cost operator the company is selective in its expansion strategy to make sure it is making opening decisions for profitable locations.
The company is opening a new store in Cobourg, Ontario in May, a store in Ancaster, Ontario in July. A few of the Western stores are being refreshed. A store in Sorel, Quebec will open later in the Fall as well as in Niagara Falls.
“We’re still on track in the five to eight store a year pace provided we find the right one, the right location. For us, growth exists in two capacities – one in enhancing our online presence and our execution on gianttiger.com and secondly continuing to tap into available space across the country for new bricks and mortar stores that will complement our offering, reach more Canadians and provide the opportunity for that store to be in their community,” said Wood.