UPDATED: Target opens nine new B.C. stores

Coquitlam is one of 22 Target stores in Western Canada that opened to the public at 8 a.m. on Tuesday

Target Canada president Tony Fisher walks media through the new Coquitlam store — one of nine in B.C. and 22 in Western Canada to open tomorrow (Tuesday) at 8 a.m.

The president of Target Canada says his company is hoping to hit the bullseye when it comes to competing with B.C.’s established retailers, offering shoppers with everything from groceries to patio furniture in the nine stores that opened Tuesday in this province — including one in Coquitlam.

Tony Fisher spoke with reporters at the Coquitlam Centre store the day before the store opened, saying Target will offer a “one-stop shop” for Canadian consumers looking for the same cheap, chic wares available in Target stores in the U.S.

Fisher said his company has an aggressive marketing strategy when it comes to besting other American big-box retailers making their way north such as Walmart, which has a store in Port Coquitlam.

But while he said Target Canada hopes to distinguish itself with bright stores with wide aisles, the latest trends and friendly staff, Fisher didn’t guarantee the same prices Canadians are used to seeing when shopping south of the border.

Fisher, who also spoke later in the day at the Vancouver Board of Trade, said the price gap between Canadian and American goods is a source of “frustration” and he cited a recent federal government study that indicated the cost to do business in Canada — including manufacturing, larger wages, taxes, fuel, etc. — is higher here, given the territory to cover.

Asked what would prevent Lower Mainland shoppers from continuing to visit the Target store in Bellingham, Fisher responded, “We are not competing with ourselves. If people want to shop in Bellingham, that’s fantastic. We are not going to stop people from cross-border shopping.”

As for its 22 new western Canada stores that opened Tuesday, Fisher said his company spent $10 million to $12 million in renovations at each of the former Zellers sites. As well, Target Canada has plans to make all of its stores certified in LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) over the next few years.

The Coquitlam Centre Target has virtually the same layout as the former Zellers but includes a grocery along the east wall.

A Minnesota native, Fisher said Coquitlam was picked because “it’s a fantastic location and a great consumer marketplace.”

Target plans to open 124 new stores across the country this year including, on May 7, in:

• Campbell River

• Coquitlam

• Cranbrook

• Delta

• Kamloops

• Langley

• Nanaimo

• Vernon

• and Victoria.

The Prince George location will open on May 14 along with the Calgary Target store.

jwarren@tricitynews.com