Canadian Tire Announces Sports Chek Growth Strategy
Canadian Tire announced today its aggressive growth strategy for remaining FGL Sports (previously Forzani Group Limited) sports retail brands. Promoting Sport Chek as its most-strategically positioned sports retail brand, Canadian Tire will focus efforts to expand the Sport Chek brand footprint.
Canadian Tire plans to make, outside of Quebec, Sport Chek its key “super brand” while also growing other sports retail brand Atmosphere as the outdoor lifestyle retail solution. This expansion strategy will open more than 100 new two million square feet retail Sport Chek and Atmosphere locations in the next five years. Additionally, Flagship Sport Chek stores are expected to be opened starting in 2013.
"Our vision is to create unparalleled access and customer connections to make our banners the conduit to the best sports brands in the world," said Michael Medline, President of FGL Sports. "To achieve this goal, we are concentrating on our core banners. To date, the acquisition and integration of FGL Sports have been seamless. Sales and profitability of FGL Sports have been strong and synergies are on target. Now, we're going on offence to strengthen our store network."
As a part of this brand promotion, FGL Sports expects to build further affinity and customer loyalty thus driving a larger emotional connection for consumers as a direct result.
"Our growth strategy will further position Canadian Tire and FGL Sports as the ultimate authority in sports in Canada," continued Medline. "In our work leading up to the acquisition of Forzani, it was clear that banner closures would be necessary and that was built into our financial modeling. These banners are expected to be generating unprofitable sales at the time they are closed and are not strategically well-differentiated in the market. This plan allows us to focus on our core banners in order to maximize results for FGL Sports."
SEE RELATED STORIES FROM THE WDM CONTENT NETWORK:
On the other hand Canadian Tire elaborated that this Sport Chek focus will mean the dismantle and closing of underperforming sports retail brand stores. Stand alone corporate locations for Sport Mart, Athletes World, Nevada Bob’s Golf, Hockey Experts, Fitness Sources and Econosports will be closed or converted to a Sport Chek or Atmosphere location by the end of Q1 2013. FGL Sports expects to close 115 corporate stores in total, although they plan to convert 20 of those locations leaving approximately 95 stores closed in total.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.