Interview with Giant Tiger’s New CEO Gino DiGioacchino on the Future of the Iconic Canadian Retailer [Interview]

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Giant Tiger has appointed Gino DiGioacchino as President and CEO of the company, which is Canada’s leading privately-owned discount retailer.

Gino DiGioacchino

DiGioacchino previously held the title of Interim President and CEO and was a member of the Giant Tiger Board of Directors before that.

He replaces Paul Wood who was in the role for just over two years until his departure in November 2022.

The privately-held company has over 265 locations across Canada and employs over 10,000 people.

DiGioacchino joined the Giant Tiger Board of Directors in 2017. He had previous retail experience with Walmart and Home Depot. In 2016, he stepped away from Walmart and decided to become an entrepreneur with a small private equity group.

“I think the opportunity for Giant Tiger is significant,” he said. “If you look at the 62 years that Gordon Reid’s created this company and where we’ve been and we evolved, two things really get me excited about the opportunity.

Giant Tiger at 275 Second Line West, Sault Ste. Marie (Image: Giant Tiger)
Future Store Openings at Giant Tiger

“We’re a discount retailer so I think if you’re going to be in the retail space there’s really only two places you can play and being in discount is the place you want to be because in good times and bad times you have an opportunity to serve your customer in a way that they can appreciate and build loyalty and trust. 

“The future is bright in terms of what we provide to Canadians. And the second thing that is probably the unique part, it probably took me two or three years when I joined the board to really appreciate the unique partnership with our local owners and what they mean to the local communities. That to me is really exciting because the more that local owner can be intrinsic, embedded into their community the better off the community is and the better off Giant Tiger is. That’s our recipe. We don’t open a store until we have someone ready who is part of that community, who wants to be a Giant Tiger owner. 

“So when I look at those two just from a purely business perspective. I get really excited about the future for Giant Tiger.”

DiGioacchino said it’s always a fun question when he’s asked if he sees more stores in the company’s future.

“The easy answer is yes. But this is not about just opening stores for opening stores. This is about right store, right community, more importantly right owner. So if we don’t have that recipe, I won’t just open stores for the sake of opening stores. That’s really important. When you do it traditionally, you look at the white space in retail. And I can tell you there’s a ton of white space for us.

“But if we don’t have that owner ready we can’t open the store because that store, that community will suffer. We’ve got to play delicately with that recipe.”

Interior of new Giant Tiger store on Walkley Road in Ottawa. Photo: Giant Tiger
Interior of new Giant Tiger store on Walkley Road in Ottawa. Photo: Giant Tiger
Interior of new Giant Tiger store on Walkley Road in Ottawa. Photo: Giant Tiger

Mary Dalimonte, member of the Giant Tiger Board of Directors and Chair of the Giant Tiger Human Resources and Compensation Committee, said: “Gino’s exceptional leadership acumen, strategic retail insights, solid understanding of Giant Tiger’s foundation, and unique recipe for success in the discount retail space make him the ideal choice to lead Giant Tiger. The Giant Tiger Board of Directors has tremendous confidence in Gino’s ability to continue to steer Giant Tiger as it grows its consumer base and builds upon its stellar reputation for strict adherence to low prices and saving Canadians money at every possible opportunity.”

DiGioacchino said Giant Tiger is the place where Canadians can come and save more every single day.

“Having that everyday low price is a mission for us and purpose for us,” he said. “It’s so important.

“I think right now food inflation, product inflation, is everywhere. We have to work harder to find ways to continue to provide Canadians with a way to save more. So the more we can figure out how to operate better, how to talk to a vendor, find a different brand, develop a private label that could transfer the cost, the better we’ll be.

“I think for retail it’s a challenge. But retail has always been challenging. The customer is changing fast and we need to keep pace and anticipate their needs. I go back to our secret recipe at Giant Tiger. That local owner responds well to that local customer. So we listen to what they need and then we deliver on that versus us telling them what to do.”

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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