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Madrid IKEA store victim of dramatic robbery

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The first IKEA to open in Spain’s capital city, Madrid, was the target of armed robbers Dec. 9, who stole approximately US$7,345.70 after crashing into the store with a large SUV.

According to the Guardian U.K., the store was packed with about 2,000 customers when the robbers crashed into the store’s exit in a black Jeep Cherokee, then emerged firing guns in the air.

Police said the raid lasted no more than two minutes. No one was injured in the incident.

The store, which had been open for four months is, not the first of Sweden-based IKEA’s locations to be targeted in Spain, according to reports. In September of 2005, armed robbers stole more than US$144,626.83 at an IKEA store in Alcorcon.

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CEO of Wal-Mart Canada will depart

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Wal-Mart Canada president and CEO Mario Pilozzi will retire effective Jan. 31, according to the world’s largest retailer.

Pilozzi spent seven years as head of the company’s Canadian division. He will be replaced by David Cheesewright, who currently serves as chief operating officer off Wal-Mart’s United Kingdom operation, ASDA.

Cheesewright joined ASDA in 1999 and over the past eight years held leadership positions in operations, merchandising, logistics, strategy, and format development.

During his tenure as head of Wal-Mart Canada, Pilozzi received numerous awards, including Distinguished Canadian Retailer of the Year (2007), induction into the Canadian Retail Hall of Fame (2004) and the Sam M. Walton Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2000), the highest award given by Wal-Mart worldwide. He joined Wal-Mart Canada in 1994 following more than 30 years with Woolworth Canada.

Established in 1994 and headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, Wal-Mart

Canada operates a network of 298 outlets across Canada.

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Lowe’s Canada president joins first grand opening

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Don Stallings, president of Lowe’s Canada, and Matt Basso, store manager, were joined by Brampton, Ontario Mayor Susan Fennell during the opening of Lowe’s first location in Canada. HCN was there to cover the retailer’s entrance into the Canadian market.

Two other locations opened that day in Brantford and Hamilton.

Lowe’s may have opened its first Canadian locations Dec 10, but the company’s emergence into the Canadian market has been a long time coming. Two years to be exact. But in a market that’s showing tremendous growth opportunities for American investment, Lowe’s is moving slowly and cautiously.

Don Stallings, president of Lowe’s Canada, said that the key to making Lowe’s successful in Canada is to make the retailer truly Canadian.

He said it would be a mistake to merely take the “U.S. model and drop it off across the border … hire a few Americans to run everything and expect it to do great.”

Stallings said that they were very methodical in researching the Canadian market, the Canadian home and hardware customer and Canadian products and merchants to determine the best fit for Lowe’s Canada.

“We might have brought the culture and the shape of the box, we try to then bring the products that will appeal to the Canadian consumer,” he said.

Stallings said that their research showed that the Canadian consumer is very discerning, they are more contemporary oriented and the projects that they do are larger scale renovation or rebuild projects.

“I think there’s a lot of correlations that are similar, but more importantly, the differences are extremely subtle, but they’re geared toward Canadian,” he said.

The company led into the openings with a series of television ads featuring a customer-oriented home and hardware store with help buttons in every aisle.

“If our lines have more than three customers, we’ll open up another so you don’t have to wait,” the commercial promises.

Lowe’s opened three Ontario locations Dec. 10 in South Brampton, Hamilton and Brantford, with plans to open three more by the end of the year. And while Lowe’s has more than 100 new Canadian locations planned, Stallings said they’re in no rush. “It’s more important for us to be strategic and methodical and not open them before we’re ready.”

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