OTTAWA - Ottawa has approved Target Corp.'s plan to enter the Canadian market and sell books and other cultural products such as DVDs, music and magazines.
The plan by the U.S. retailer to open stores in Canada was reviewed under the Investment Canada Act to ensure the store's shelves will have enough home-grown content.
In approving Target, Heritage Minister James Moore said Target plans to create more than 20,000 new jobs and has committed to sell uniquely Canadian cultural products in its Canadian stores.
"Our government is committed to strengthening Canada's economy in all sectors, especially arts and culture," Moore said in a statement Friday.
"Target's investment in Canada's economy shows our plan is working and will be of great benefit to Canadian workers, Canadian consumers and their families."
The review was launched in March to see if Target's plan to open stores in Canada would be of net benefit to the country.
As part of the approval, Target has committed to employ 100 to 200 people at each store as well as sell and promote Canadian cultural products.
Target has also agreed to support Canadian cultural events and organizations
The U.S. retailer is poised to begin opening the first of between 125 and 135 stores in Canada at former Zellers locations acquired from Hudson's Bay Co.
The store openings are set to start next year.
Target, a 109-year-old U.S. retailer that was part of Dayton-Hudson Corp. before changing its name in 2000, is one of the biggest U.S. department store chains, with revenues of more than US$67 billion in its last fiscal year.
The company has more than 355,000 employees and 1,763 stores and is the second-biggest discount retailer in the U.S. after Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
The iconic American upscale retailer is in talks with Hudson's Bay Company to become a "store within a store" at HBC locations in Canada. The move is seen as an attempt by The Bay to fight off the possible arrival of Nordstrom's (see next slide).
One of the most prominent competitors to Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom announced in September, 2012, that it plans to open locations in Cadillac Fairview-owned malls in Calgary, Ottawa and Vancouver. The stores will open in former Sears locations.
Discount retailer Marshalls entered the Canadian market in March, 2011, and recently announced an expansion of six new stores in Ontario. At least a dozen of its 750 stores are now located in Canada.
The home improvement retailer began moving into the Canadian market in 2007, with a store in Hamilton, Ontario. It has since expanded to 31 locations in Ontario and Alberta.
Ritzy fashion chain J. Crew opened its first Canadian location in the summer of 2011, and immediately ran into public anger about the U.S.-Canada price gap. Shoppers complained that J. Crew's Canadian prices were about 15 per cent higher than in the U.S.
The arrival of Target to Canada in 2013 is easily the most hotly-anticipated retail arrival since Walmart came north of the border in 1994. The discount retailer is planning more than 100 stores across the country, having taken over a significant number of Zellers locations. But the store is currently engaged in a labour dispute, as it tries to keep former Zellers employees from unionizing in the new stores.