Canadian Tire has grown from its beginnings more than 90 years ago to become one of Canada’s most-shopped retailers. Its retailing brands are among the most widely recognized among Canadian consumers. Generations of Canadians have relied upon Canadian Tire merchandise and services to prepare for both work and leisure activities.
Canadian Tire’s businesses operate under a group of banners with synergistic relationships between them: Canadian Tire (retail stores, petroleum outlets and financial services operations), PartSource, Sport Chek, Atmosphere, National Sports, Mark's Work Wearhouse, L’Équipeur and Pro Hockey Life. Through these banners and other, franchised banners, nearly 85,000 Canadians are employed.
In November, 2014 the Company was named one of Canada's Top 100 employers for 2015 by Mediacorp Canada Inc. This award recognized the Company for its strong leadership, commitment to community, and employee engagement initiatives.
Canadian Tire's core business, Canadian Tire retail stores, comprise the Company's dealer-run stores in Canada. These stores trace their lineage back to 1922, when the Company's founders, John W. Billes and Alfred J. Billes, opened an auto parts and service location in Hamilton, Ontario to serve the rapidly increasing number of private automobiles in Ontario. Incorporated as Canadian Tire Corporation, Ltd. in 1927, the business grew both in the scope of its product and service offering and in its geographic reach to today's nearly 500 stores across Canada.
Today’s Canadian Tire stores are shopping destinations which offer products in the Living, Playing, Fixing, Automotive and Seasonal categories. These product areas represent an inventory of more than 150,000 differentiated products available for purchase. Unique among general retailers for its strength in the Automotive category, nearly all of Canadian Tire’s locations include auto service bays, which are supported by stores' extensive inventories of auto parts. The Company's website www.canadiantire.ca is a popular Internet destination for Canadian shoppers, who can use it to acquire many Canadian Tire products and services for in-store pickup. In addition, radio, television, social media, magazine and newspaper advertising, including weekly flyers, short catalogues and electronic flyers, keep customers aware of new or attractively priced in-store merchandise.
To effectively serve Canadian Tire Retail's network of stores spread across the wide expanse of Canada, there are two distribution centers in the vicinity of Toronto, a distribution centre in Calgary which was completed in 2002 and expanded in 2005, and a fourth distribution centre near Montreal. This was opened in 2009 and is one of the largest of its kind in Canada. In addition, there are auto parts distribution facilities in Montreal, the Toronto area, and Calgary providing overnight order processing and 24 to 48 hour delivery to Canadian Tire's businesses. Through the use of information technology, a system for store demand-based forecasting and replenishment has been developed to coordinate orders to suppliers and distribution to stores.
FGL Sports, the largest sporting goods retailer in Canada, joined the Canadian Tire family in 2011. Its stores feature athletic clothing and outerwear, footwear, sports equipment and accessories through banners which collectively span the full range of prices. Product offerings cover equipment and apparel for hockey and other team sports, apparel and footwear for running and walking, and equipment, footwear and apparel for golfing, surfing, skating, skiing, snowboarding, and other sports and athletic activities. Products are sold through “big box” retail locations as well as “small box” stores operating under a number of specialty store banners.
Major store banners include Sport Chek®, with approximately 190 locations and an online retail site, Sports Experts®, with 73 locations, Atmosphere®, with 66 locations, and Intersport®, with 44 locations. In addition, there are more than 60 locations doing business under the banners Pro Hockey Life, National Sports®, Hockey Experts, S3® and Sports Rousseau® / L'Entrepot du Hockey®. Sport Chek®, Pro Hockey Life, National Sports® and some Atmosphere® stores are owned and operated by FGL Sports, while stores under the Sports Experts®, Intersport®, Hockey Experts, S3® and Sports Rousseau® / L'Entrepot du Hockey® banners, and many stores under the Atmosphere® banner, are franchised locations.
When added to the extensive sports and recreation offerings of Canadian Tire Retail stores, FGL Sports makes Canadian Tire a retailing powerhouse in the Canadian sports and recreation market, with over 900 retail locations across the country.
Through division INA International, FGL Sports develops, manufactures and imports private label brands and licensed brands of merchandise for sale in FGL Sports retail locations, and is a member of major industry buying group Intersport International Corporation. INA International also designs and sells merchandise under brands licensed from their owners. In these ways retail locations are assured of a wide variety of merchandise to sell, and can offer high quality goods and competitive prices.
Mark's Work Wearhouse was acquired by Canadian Tire in 2002. Under the banners Mark’s, Mark's Work Wearhouse, and L’Équipeur (in Québec), Mark’s retails men's and women's casual wear, business casual wear, active wear, industrial apparel, footwear, and accessories, primarily through company-owned store locations. With more than 380 stores across Canada, it sells brand name apparel and an even larger quantity of apparel under private labels including WindRiver®, Denver Hayes® and Dakota®. Many stores are co-located within Canadian Tire retail stores.
Mark’s has benefitted from the trend toward more relaxed styles of business wear while at the same time expanding beyond work wear to weekend casual wear. In doing so it has become a market leader in industrial wear, and a major Canadian retailer of men's casual wear. Mark’s also engages in business-to-business sales of work apparel through its Imagewear™ division.
Canadian Tire Petroleum
Canadian Tire Petroleum, one of the largest independent petroleum retailers in Canada, has approximately 300 agent-operated gas bars in Canada, including 19 gas bars along the heavily-travelled highways 401 and 400 in Ontario. In addition to petroleum, nearly all locations sell a variety of convenience items including a selection of Canadian Tire-branded automotive products. Many locations include car washes or propane stations. Canadian Tire Petroleum sells significantly more gasoline at its gas bars than the industry average, in large part due to Canadian Tire's loyalty programs through which motorists filling up at gas bars earn rewards that give them deep discounts on merchandise in Canadian Tire stores.
Canadian Tire Financial Services
Canadian Tire Financial Services, including its federally-regulated bank, Canadian Tire Bank, serves a wide variety of financial needs by offering the Company's branded credit cards, product warranties, a roadside assistance program, accident/creditor/life insurance, personal loans, lines of credit, high interest savings accounts, and guaranteed investment certificates. Savings products are offered inside and outside of tax-free savings accounts. The emergency roadside assistance program, known as Canadian Tire Roadside Assistance, operates on a 24-hour basis offering such services as accident towing, battery boosts, a lock-out service and preferred rates on car rentals. Insurance services include accident and term life insurance plans underwritten by Canada Life Insurance Company as well as Credit Protector® insurance on the Company's branded credit card. Guaranteed investment certificates are offered through third-party deposit brokers and directly to the public.
Canadian Tire Bank was established in 2003 as a federally-chartered, federally-regulated bank to continue the retail credit card operations previously conducted by Canadian Tire Financial Services under the various regulations of each province in Canada. It subsequently developed its retail banking business with the introduction of savings products. Its credit card operations focus on the Canadian Tire Options® MasterCard® and the Canadian Tire Options® Visa®, offered through agreements with MasterCard International Incorporated and Visa Canada Corporation respectively. Every Options® MasterCard® card includes the PayPass™ contactless payment feature for convenience at the checkout.
Canadian Tire Bank also operates the Canadian Tire personal loan and line of credit business.
For customers of Canadian Tire Petroleum, Financial Services offers the highly-regarded Gas Advantage® MasterCard®, which give customers immediate discounts on gas when used at Canadian Tire Petroleum.
PartSource is an integral part of Canadian Tire's focus on the automotive customer. This chain of 90 corporate or franchised outlets serves professional installers and medium to heavy do-it-yourself automotive customers, who would not ordinarily buy automotive parts and accessories in a Canadian Tire store. PartSource store inventory is tailored by each outlet to meet the needs of the most popular vehicle models and makes in its area. Each outlet can offer the most competitive retail or commercial prices in its area due to Canadian Tire's strong relationships with its vendors and significant aggregate buying power. Staff members at each outlet are primarily experienced auto parts professionals. In addition to its in-store inventory of brand-name auto parts and accessories and access to many more, the typical PartSource store also stocks regular auto maintenance items such as motor oil and spark plugs. To increase the synergies between PartSource stores and the core automotive business at Canadian Tire Retail stores, larger format PartSource hub stores have been developed to provide a broader range of products to both PartSource customers and Canadian Tire Retail stores.
The success of Canadian Tire Retail hinges upon its relationship with its associate dealers, the independent operators of Canadian Tire stores. The network of dealers was launched early in the Company's history, with the first official dealer store, in Hamilton, Ontario, opening in 1934.
Dealers own the fixtures, equipment and inventory of Canadian Tire stores, manage store operations and systems, hire and develop their own employee teams, and are responsible for managing store operating expenses. They also commit to acquire their merchandise primarily from Canadian Tire. In the early days of the dealer network, dealers owned the stores in which they conducted business, but by the late 1950's the cost of appropriate premises became too great for individual dealers to finance on their own, therefore the Company began buying or leasing store locations for licensing to dealers. Today most dealers license their store premises from the Company.
The Company also supports its dealers with marketing, supply chain management, purchasing, merchandising, financing and information services. In particular the Company's volume purchasing power assures dealers of lower prices on quality, brand name merchandise.
New dealers are entrepreneurial, self-motivated individuals who come from a variety of backgrounds. They are trained by Canadian Tire and begin their careers in smaller, entry-level stores. As they grow in experience and achieve success in their work, they are offered the opportunity to move to larger stores under the Company's dealer mobility system.
Canadian Tire Petroleum locations are operated by independent agents who benefit from the Company's petroleum and merchandise bulk buying power and marketing programs. The Company owns or leases sites which are supplied to agents along with major equipment, and takes care of national advertising and promotions for the petroleum retailing network. Like Canadian Tire dealers, petroleum agents are entrepreneurial individuals who are trained by the Company in all aspects of running their businesses and have the opportunity to strengthen their management skills through Company programs.
Canadian Tire has endeared itself to generations of Canadians by providing a distinctive shopping experience. To continue earning its customers' loyalty in its retail stores, the Company differentiates itself by offering new and innovative products and by providing automotive, home and leisure products in a combination seen at no other retailer. Sales and seasonal promotions establish Canadian Tire as the preferred place to shop for core product offerings, and the Company’s merchandising techniques make a strong impact on in-store customers and make stores easier to shop.
The Smart store concept introduces a new retail format to Canadian Tire and builds on the Concept 20/20 large store initiative introduced in 2003. The Smart store rearranges the retail space to emphasize productivity and enhancement of the customer experience, while emphasizing Canadian Tire’s traditional merchandising strengths in tools, automotive products, sporting goods, housewares, hardware and backyard products. Smart store features are a racetrack store layout, easy-to-read directional signage, the placement of logically related departments adjacent to one another, price look-ups, improved customer service by means of department-specific customer service desks, and a customer pick-up area for bulky items, among other changes. The Smart store format is being developed at new locations and through retrofits of existing stores.
A small market store concept was introduced in 2008. It is designed for underserved rural areas which have retail requirements outside the range of large format stores. There are now 22 such stores in Canada.
Since 2009, Canadian Tire has placed renewed emphasis on its fundamental automotive business by bringing its Canadian Tire retail stores, PartSource stores and petroleum businesses into a closer working relationship. A greater assortment of parts, a more sophisticated retail inventory management system, and a more integrated distribution network mean improved customer service. Among the beneficiaries of these efforts is Canadian Tire’s core tire business, which offers customers easier in-store product selection and online purchasing.
Over the years the Canadian Tire 'Money'™ reward program has been by far Canadian Tire’s most highly visible initiative to maintain customer loyalty. As one of Canada's best-known and most-popular customer loyalty programs, it has attained virtually universal top-of-mind recognition among Canadians.
The program was initially offered as a "cash bonus coupon" in 1958 at Canadian Tire's first gas bar in Toronto. These coupons were exchangeable for discounts on merchandise at Canadian Tire stores and were offered at new Canadian Tire gas bars as they were added to the network. The effect of the coupons was to boost business at the gas bars while driving customer traffic to the stores — a groundbreaking early application of the concept of cross-merchandising.
The program was so successful that starting in 1961 what was by then called Canadian Tire 'Money'™ was also awarded to customers shopping in Canadian Tire stores. Today Canadian Tire 'Money'™ is awarded to customers of Canadian Tire stores when they pay by cash, cheque, debit card, traveller’s cheque, Canadian Tire gift card or Canadian Tire 'Money'™. Store customers are awarded with Canadian Tire 'Money'™ based on the value of merchandise purchased, while customers of Canadian Tire gas bars receive their awards based on the amount of gasoline purchased. Over the years many series of Canadian Tire 'Money'™ have been issued in different denominations and bearing different illustrations and designs to the point of becoming collector’s items among many people in Canada and around the world.
In 2000 the Canadian Tire 'Money'™ loyalty program was expanded through the launch of Canadian Tire 'Money' On The Card®. This program allows holders of the Canadian Tire Options® MasterCard® and Canadian Tire retail credit cards to earn rewards for using their cards at Canadian Tire Retail stores and Canadian Tire Petroleum outlets. These rewards are redeemable on future purchases of Canadian Tire store merchandise and services. The program also allows holders of the Canadian Tire Options® credit cards to earn Canadian Tire 'Money' On The Card® rewards when purchasing goods and services anywhere in the world these cards are accepted.
The latest customer loyalty offering at Canadian Tire is My Canadian Tire 'Money'™, a program launched in 2014. Designed for the digital age, this national loyalty program allows customers to earn e-Canadian Tire 'Money' in their My Canadian Tire 'Money' accounts when they make purchases at Canadian Tire and at www.canadiantire.ca. Customers collect e-Canadian Tire 'Money' by presenting their Canadian Tire Mobile App, program card or key fob at time of payment, or by paying with their Canadian Tire Options® MasterCard®.
The venerable paper Canadian Tire 'Money'™ has been retained as a key part of the shopping experience at Canadian Tire even as these new customer loyalty innovations are introduced.
Just as Canadian Tire’s retail locations prepare Canadians for everyday living, Canadian Tire has been enriching the lives of people in need in the communities where the Company's employees and customers live and work. The focus of Company giving is Canadian Tire Jumpstart™, the banner under which the Company combined its charitable activities, commencing in 2005. In Québec, La Fondation Bon départ de Canadian Tire, which was established in 1990, operates a parallel program.
Through this program, kids are given the opportunity to participate in organized sports and physical activities. These kids either have families which lack the financial means to enrol them in sport or recreation, or live in communities which suffer from a lack of facilities. Program activities allow participants to develop a healthy lifestyle and essential life skills. Jumpstart™ has supported more than 70 sports and recreation activities including hockey, swimming, soccer, baseball, basketball, dance, yoga, climbing and martial arts.
The program is delivered by a national network of more than 330 local chapters in partnership with more than 3,100 community agencies and associations such as municipal parks and recreation departments, Boys and Girls clubs, and the YMCA/YWCA. Chapters include Canadian Tire dealers, petroleum agents, employee volunteers, concerned citizens and civic leaders in the local communities. Working together, chapters and partners create local programs and ensure that funds are provided to those who will benefit most.
During 2013, Jumpstart™ invested more than $14 million and its activities involved over 150,000 kids, more than six times the number involved during Jumpstart's initial year in 2005.
Funds for the program are received as donations from interested individuals, from Canadian Tire’s employees and business partners, from Canadian Tire dealers, and from government partners. Funds are also raised from fundraising activities in Canadian Tire stores, Canadian Tire gas bars, and locations under other Company banners. In-store donations at an individual store are tracked so that donated funds are allocated to the Jumpstart™ chapter local to that store. Canadian Tire pays for all the administrative costs so that all donations received go directly to support kids' involvement in activities.
Numerous events during 2013 helped to raise the profile of Jumpstart™ across the country. Employees from all the Company's banners donated their time to plan, operate and clean up after Jumpstart Games held in 11 cities across the country. In total more than 6,000 kids participated in a day featuring a variety of sports, games and activities, along with a barbecue lunch. In May, $1.5 million was raised through the annual month-long Red Ball donation campaign held in every Canadian Tire store, gas bar, Mark's store, Sport Chek store and Atmosphere store.
In December, 2014 Jumpstart™ and the Canadian Hockey Foundation launched The Big Play, a program aimed at giving more kids in Canada the opportunity to become involved in minor hockey. For a period of three years, the program is bringing approximately 10,000 kids per year, ages four to 18, into the game of hockey. Beyond enjoying the experience itself, participants have the opportunity to develop self-confidence and leadership skills, and to learn the value of teamwork. Assistance with the costs of registration and equipment is being provided to kids from financially disadvantaged families.
For more information about Jumpstart™, visit jumpstart.canadiantire.ca.
As a major Canadian sporting goods retailer, Canadian Tire is a natural supporter of Canadian athletes in their quest for Olympic gold. To formalize this relationship, in 2013 the Company entered into an eight-year sponsorship agreement with the Canadian Olympic Committee. As a Premier National Partner of the Canadian Olympic Team, the Company through its Canadian Tire, Sport Chek and Sports Experts banners participates in marketing and promotional activities focusing on the Olympics and on Canadian athletes training for the Olympics. The Company also entered into partnership agreements with the Canadian Soccer Association, Skate Canada, Hockey Canada, Alpine Canada Alpin, Canada Snowboard, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, and Senators Sports & Entertainment, owner of the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club.
These agreements follow longstanding arrangements with other Canadian sports organizations including Canada Games and the National Hockey League, in addition to partnerships with individual Canadian athletes.