Walmart plans expansion in Canada
Walmart on Tuesday updated its plans for its Canadian division, saying that it plans to complete at least 37 supercenter projects in the country during the company’s next fiscal year (Feb. 1, 2013 to Jan. 31, 2014). The announcement comes a couple of months before Target Corp.’s spring launch of its stores in Canada.
Walmart also announced it will expand its distribution network to support its ongoing Canadian store growth and expansion plans. The distribution center projects, new store construction and expansion, remodeling or relocation of existing stores represents an investment of more than $450 million in the Canadian economy. The plans are expected to generate more than 7,000 store, trade and construction jobs.
“Our associates across the country have done an incredible job this past year serving our customers and opening a record number of new stores and supercentres,” said Shelley Broader, president and CEO of Walmart Canada. “This year, we are ramping up our focus on lowering prices and helping customers lower their cost of living, as we continue to bring our supercentre format to more Canadians.”
Full grocery sections will be added to more locations across Canada.
“We’re truly delighted to be adding a full grocery section to more locations across the country, including the opening of our first supercentres in the Maritimes,” said Broader. “We look forward to helping our customers coast-to-coast save money on groceries as well as their general merchandise purchases."
As of Jan. 31, 2013, Walmart Canada will have 379 stores, including 209 supercentres. The new round of expansion is expected to bring the company’s store count to 388 by the end of January 2014.
The retailer will grand open nine supercenters this Friday, Jan. 25. The final two stores included with the 73 store projects planned for the current fiscal year will grand open on Jan. 31.
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IKEA given approval to open stores in India
A Monday report by Bloomberg said that IKEA has received the go-ahead from the Indian government to open outlets in the country, making it perhaps the first major foreign retailer to set up its own stores in the region.
The Swedish furniture retailer was cleared by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board, according to a statement by Commerce Minister Anand Sharma. The approval is a turnaround for the Indian government which last year barred Ikea from operating cafes and limited retail wares it could sell in stores.
IKEA still awaits approval from the Indian Cabinet to proceed with its plan to invest up to $2 billion to set up stores, according to the report.
“We consider this as a very positive development,’’ Juvencio Maeztu, IKEA’s manager for India, told Bloomberg in an emailed statement. ‘‘We are now waiting for approval from the Cabinet and subsequently a notification so that we can initiate the process of establishing Ikea stores in the country.”
IKEA has announced it would open 25 stores in India.
Study: Marketers to increase spend, hiring in 2013
Survey results released Monday by Infogroup Targeting Solutions and Yesmail Interactive found that almost 70% of companies plan to spend more on data-related marketing initiatives in 2013, with a heavy emphasis on hiring.
More than half of the respondents surveyed said they plan on adding new employees to oversee their data efforts this year, including analysts and executives.
"In 2013, brands should be taking a disciplined approach to building out their data operations,” said Michael Fisher, president of Yesmail Interactive, an Infogroup company. “Data collection has almost been the easy part; the new challenge will be connecting the dots between different types of data across multiple channels.”
According to the survey, most marketers have successfully implemented data-collection tools, but in 2013 they will focus on putting technology and people in place to use their customer information in a more sophisticated and targeted way. For example, 45% of marketers identified analyzing or applying customer information as the biggest data-related challenge they will face this year. Only 11% said data collection will be their most difficult task.
Among the report’s key findings around data-related spending and hiring:
- 68% of marketers said they expect their data-related expenditures to increase greatly or slightly in 2013; only 3% said they expect data-related expenditures to decrease;
- 56% plan on hiring new employees to handle data collection or analysis, with the most common position being a data analyst (20%); and
- 5% said they plan on hiring an executive to oversee data initiatives.
Companies are also starting to realize the need for more timely use of customer data to drive more personalized marketing campaigns. More than half of the survey respondents said they have already started implementing real-time data and plan to make greater use of it in 2013.
Another 30% said they plan on using it for the first time or consider using it.
The study also provided additional insights into 2013 data and marketing trends.
Among the findings:
- Almost 80% of marketers plan to make greater use of customers’ social media data to drive marketing campaigns in other channels in 2013;
- The majority of marketers use insights from customer data to drive marketing campaigns on their website (83%), email (72%) and social media (59%);
- Less than half use customer data to drive marketing campaigns through the offline channels of direct mail (47%), print (32%) and telemarketing (30%);
- Almost half the respondents said their website is the best source of gathering customer data, followed by email (19%) and social media (12%); and
- More than 25% of marketers admit they don’t know when they performed quality control on their customer data.
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