The Source electronics chain will open 20 new stores this year, expecting its small-store strategy with popular products, including cellphones, to attract consumers.
More than half of the new stores will open in Western Canada, The Source president Charles Brown said Friday.
"In spite of the cautious economic forecast, we continue to see strong consumer spending in key categories, things like headphones and mobility and home entertainment," Brown said from Toronto.
"The beauty of our model with the small store is you can go into a fairly small market and have that store be profitable. You don't need a massive market for a 2,000-square-foot store," he said.
Telecom giant BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE) bought The Source in July 2009 to complement its Bell wireless products and services.
"That's starting to be a growing part of our business," Brown said.
The announcement comes a day after major retailers Best Buy Canada and Sears Canada announced layoffs totalling some 1,600, a move analysts blamed on the popularity of online shopping and the shrinking demand for super-sized brick-and-mortar stores.
"We're really accessible — 70 per cent of Canadians live within five kilometres of a Source store. So we're in your neighbourhood. That fits the trend of where things are going today," Brown said.
The company already has 700 small-box locations across Canada, and says about six per cent of its business comes from online sales.
It also plans on renovating 50 stores, in addition to the new stores which will expand the 67 stores it opened last year, Brown said.
He said almost 900 full-time and part-time jobs will be created for the 67 stores opened last year and the 20 stores to open this year.
Retail analyst Len Kubas of KubasPrimedia Consultants said The Source isn't in direct competition with Best Buy or Sears.
"Most people who go to The Source are probably going to need a sales person to help (them) with what they want," Kubas said from Toronto.
"You go for a little extra service, you go for personal attention which you may not get to the same degree in a big box store."
Many of the stores doing business as The Source are former Radio Shack stores.
The name was changed after U.S.-based Circuit City acquired the Canadian operations.
Circuit City later declared bankruptcy and closed all its U.S. locations but the Canadian business survived when it was acquired by BCE Inc.
Make A List. Check It Twice.
It’s an awful feeling to forget someone! There is a selection of apps available to help with shopping list organization, but good old pen and paper work too.
Do Your Research
Before you start shopping, go online to price compare and get ideas. If you find the item for cheaper on another website, make sure you check the shipping costs before purchasing. Some websites may have higher shipping costs and suddenly the deal isn’t as amazing.
Review Return Policies
If you’re worried about sizes or a gift not being quite right, don’t. Stores are making it easier than ever to return items — just be sure to read their policies before you buy. In many cases, it’s as simple as mailing it back for an exchange. Don’t forget to get a gift receipt!
Take time to make sure what you're buying is what you actually want. Check for online promo codes and make sure you apply them at check-out. Read your total carefully during check out before paying so you can ensure any discounts have been applied and you know the total price that you’ll be charged including taxes, shipping or any other costs.
Look For Sales And Deals
Online is the easiest place to find sales and deals. Many stores have their flyers online so spend a bit of time digging around. Sign up for your favourite retailers’ online alerts or newsletters to learn about upcoming sales and deals.
Give and receive! Shop smart and earn valuable reward miles on spending. Going online to a website such as airmilesshops.ca enables AIR MILES Collectors to earn reward miles at stores where they wouldn’t normally be able to earn.
Check For First-Time Shopping Deals
If you are a first time shopper or student, email customer service to see if they can offer you any deals. Some stores offer up to 30 per cent off for students and first time shoppers!
Consider Paying With A Credit Card
Some credit cards offer additional purchase protection, extended warranties and liability protection from fraudulent purchases.
Look For Shipping Deals And In-Store Pick Up
Shipping is often a flat fee so try and consolidate your online shopping by visiting stores with a wide selection. Indigo and Macy’s offer great gifts for a range of people. Certain stores like Sears and The Source allow people to shop online and visit a store location of their choice to pick up their purchased items.