Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited is a Canadian retail company which sells a wide range of automotive, hardware, sports and leisure, and home products. Some stores also sell toys and food products. Retail operations include: Canadian Tire, the core retail and automotive service operation, which operates a large car repair garage in each store; Canadian Tire Petroleum; Mark's, a men's, women's, and work apparel retailer; sporting goods and sportswear retail conglomerate FGL Sports; and PartSource, which retails auto parts and accessories. The company's head office is in Toronto, Ontario. The retailer is known for its Canadian Tire money, a loyalty program first introduced in 1958, where customers are provided with coupons resembling paper money worth 0.4% of their purchase that can be used in subsequent purchases as scrip at Canadian Tire stores and gas stations.
On September 15, 1922, John William Billes and Alfred Jackson Billes invested their combined savings of $1,800 in the Hamilton Tire and Garage Ltd. (established in 1909 as the Hamilton Garage and Rubber Company) in Toronto. Hamilton Tire & Garage was sold in 1923, and the Billes brothers moved several times before they settled their site at 639 Yonge Street.
In 1934, the first official associate store opened in Hamilton, Ontario. In 1937, Canadian Tire moved into the new Main store at 837 Yonge Street, after completing extensive alterations to what once was the Grand Central Market. This location remains as an associate store in the chain today. The first Canadian Tire catalogue consisted of a price list in the format of a 24" × 10" folder. Sent in 1926 to car owners in Southern Ontario, this initial price sheet folder heralded the beginning of the Mail Order Department at Canadian Tire. Since then, the company has grown to over 487 stores. The company is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Canadian Tire has experienced a period of significant growth and success, having transformed its store network in three major waves beginning in 1994. In its last five-year strategic plan, it attained top-quartile total returns to shareholders among all publicly traded North American retailers, with a total return of 286%. Canadian Tire is an industry partner of the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus.
US expansion attempts
Canadian Tire tried twice to expand south of the border to enter the lucrative tires and automotive parts business in the United States.
The first attempt occurred during the early 1980s when Canadian Tire attempted to replicate its successful Canadian Tire sales strategy in the United States by purchasing in 1982 the Wichita Falls, Texas-based White Stores, Inc. automotive retail chain with 81 stores in Texas from its then owner Household Merchandising Inc., a subsidiary of Household Finance, for US$40.2 million. After losing nearly US$100 million during four years of operation, Canadian Tire closed some stores and sold the remaining 40 stores, three warehouses and other White assets to Kansas City, Missouri-based Western Auto Supply for US$24.5 million in 1986.The second attempt occurred during the early 1990s when Canadian Tire decided to try to open a specialized auto parts chain called Auto Source that tried to have more than 25,000 different parts on the shelf in each store, more than its competitors. The first Auto Source was opened in Indianapolis in 1991. Unlike the previous attempt, the Auto Source concept was built from scratch. During the next three years, Canadian Tire had opened two Auto Source stores each in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, and Louisville for a total of ten stores before abruptly closing the money losing chain in 1995. Some of the stores were sold to Pep Boys.Although the Auto Source lost nearly CA$60 million during its four years of existence, a scaled down version was used in Canada under the PartSource brand.
Certain merchandise items are branded specifically for Canadian Tire. The most recognized of these are Mastercraft, which offers a wide range of tools, SuperCycle (bicycles), BluePlanet (eco-friendly household cleaners, CFL bulbs and other green items), Likewise (general household items such as lighting/electrical products and hardware) and MotoMaster (tires, batteries and other automotive goods). NOMA, a company that exists in Canada as a trademark only, offering a wide range of items from Christmas lights to air purifiers. During the 1980s, Canadian Tire sold electronic items under the name Pulser (with Canadian Tire logo), such as radios, stereos, televisions, walkmans, cassette tapes, etc. It is unknown when the company began or went defunct.
Moody's observed the chain's unique position in Canadian retail as being "often both misunderstood and underestimated", and "completely foreign" in comparison to U.S. retail, citing its variety of products (ranging from auto parts, to sporting goods, to outdoors products, and grocery at some locations), and that "its proprietary 'currency,' Canadian Tire money, which is a by-product of its loyalty program, has been accepted across Canada by multiple retailers and could almost be described as a 'sub-fiat' currency."In 2009, the chain introduced a new store concept it dubbed the "Smart store"; they feature "boutiques" that prominently showcase products within the chain's core product categories. Popular product categories such as auto parts and home goods were towards the front of the store in order to improve their prominence, and some locations began to trial the sale of common groceries. In June 2015, the chain opened its largest location to-date at South Edmonton Common, which features two floors, widened and expanded departments, various interactive experiences (including a driving simulator and virtual reality), as well as a rotating exhibit of Hockey Canada memorabilia.With the demise of Target's businesses in Canada in 2015, Canadian Tire took over the lease of 12 of the former Target store locations.
In November 2000, Canadian Tire introduced an online retail operation. On January 1, 2009, citing consumer disinterest in online shopping in comparison to its physical stores, the Company discontinued online sales . n November 1, 2013, Canadian Tire returned to online shopping with delivery to stores.
PartSource is an automotive parts and accessories specialty chain, which has 87 stores across Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. It serves commercial automotive installers and do-it-yourself mechanics. Before November 2013, some stores were owned and operated by franchisees; all currently belong to Canadian Tire.
Canadian Tire Financial Services is the credit arm of the company. This division operates Canadian Tire Bank, a bank under Canada's Bank Act. Its primary business is branded credit cards, including the Triangle Mastercard, but it also provides other credit and loan products. CTFS also sells insurance and warranty products, and operates Canadian Tire Roadside Assistance, an emergency roadside service.
In October 2008 (and 2014), Canadian Tire Financial Services was named one of "Canada's Top 100 Employers" by Mediacorp Canada Inc., and was featured in Maclean's newsmagazine.
Canadian Tire Petroleum (CTP), operating as Canadian Tire Gas+, has 300 locations and 77 Simoniz car washes. With the 1958 founding of CTP, Canadian Tire was the world's first hard goods retailer to begin selling gasoline at their stores as a means of increasing customer traffic.. CTP also holds the concession to operate the gas stations at ONroute service centre locations along Ontario Highway 400 and Ontario Highway 401.
In Ontario, CTP also operates Pit Stop, which provides services like oil changes and rust checks. The "Canadian Tire money" loyalty program was originally launched through the gas bars as "Gas Bonus Coupons". CTP has opened 3 'Q' stop stores featuring a mini-grocery store as well as other items.
In May 2011, Canadian Tire announced the purchase of Forzani Group, a Canadian sporting goods retailer that operates various brands, including SportChek, Atmosphere, Intersport, Hockey Experts, National Sports, Nevada Bob's Golf, S3, Sport Mart, Sports Experts, Tech Shop, Pro Hockey Life, and The Fitness Source.
In 2001, Canadian Tire acquired Mark's Work Warehouse (now branded as Mark's), a retailer of business casual and work wear, for $116 million. Along with standalone stores, some Canadian Tire locations feature integrated Mark's locations. However, some smaller Canadian Tire locations removed their Mark's department when remodelled into the "Smart store" format due to space constraints.In May 2018, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan sold the Norwegian sportswear retailer Helly Hansen to Canadian Tire for $985 million CAD.
Historically, Canadian Tire's Christmas ads featured Santa Claus and Ebenezer Scrooge arguing about whether Canadian Tire's selection or their sales prices are the reason to do Christmas shopping there involving the marketing slogan "Give like Santa, save like Scrooge". A stamp was issued by Canada Post commemorating Canadian Tire's 75th anniversary based on the Canadian Tire advertisement of a boy (Bike Story) receiving his first bicycle which was purchased by his father at a Canadian Tire retail store.
Starting in 2007, the company ran month-long advent calendar promotions which provided free CDs and discounts throughout the holiday season.
From 1997 to 2005, the company's ads featured the "Canadian Tire couple". The male role also known as the Canadian Tire guy was played by Canadian actor Ted Simonett, and Gloria Slade played the female role. They are usually showcasing a new product to one of their neighbours, who are in need of a certain tool. The 'Canadian Tire Couple' were featured on Royal Canadian Air Farce as one of their targets of the year, as "Canada's most annoying couple". They also made a feature guest appearance on Royal Canadian Air Farce as actors in a skit.
In early 2006, ads featuring the couple were phased out and replaced by a new campaign featuring overhead signs found in Canadian Tire's store aisles.
In 2013, Canadian Tire produced a commercial promoting its MasterCraft Eliminator Ultra car battery and its ability to function in extreme cold, which featured a stripped GMC Sierra pickup truck with its body re-created as an ice sculpture. The ad premiered during the 2014 NHL Winter Classic.In March 2015, Canadian Tire launched a new ongoing marketing campaign, "Tested for Life in Canada". The campaign, which includes television advertising and in-store labels, showcases products that have been been vetted based on input by a consumer focus group recruited by the chain, as well as their reviews of the products. The program also collects feedback that is used to help improve products marketed by Canadian Tire.
1970s: "It's for people like you"
1980s: "There is a lot more to Canadian Tire than tires"
1985: "The right choice has never been so clear."
1992: "There is a lot more for a lot less"
1996: "Everyday low prices made better"
1997: "Canadian Tire, still the right place"
Various Christmas seasons: "Give like Santa, Save like Scrooge" and "Scrooge-Approved Prices"
2001: "Let's Get Started", which used the song "I'll Start With You" (released in 1992 by former Highway 101 lead singer Paulette Carlson)
2006: "_____ Starts at Canadian Tire", with the blank filled with various seasons (such as "Summer" or "The Holidays") or situations ("Home Improvement", "Spring Cleaning", "Car Care").
2008: "For Days Like Today"
2011: "Bring it On"
2012 & 2013: "Canada's Store". In some ads, the type of 'store' is included when appropriate to the advertising creative, ie... "Canada’s Automotive Store" or "Canada's Kitchen Store".
2014 & 2015: "Tested for life in Canada".
2016: "You got this."
List of Canadian department stores
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series
Canadian Tire Currency—Canadian Tire Currency Picture Catalog Index, 1958-2003 Issues.
"Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited History". FundingUniverse.