Monday, December 10, 2007

Lowe's Brings More Competition to Canadian Retail Sector

Lowe's official entrance into the Canadian market today spells more competition for the Canadian retail sector: not only in the home improvement category, but also with products like appliances, for which many CE and big box stores are involved.

Three stores opened today in Brampton, Hamilton, and Brantford, ON; and there are plans to open a Toronto store in late January. Lowe's says it hopes to open 100 stores in Canada in the near future.

In an effort to up the ante when it comes to customer service, Lowe's Canada plans to do things like open additional cash registers the instant there are more than three people in line, says National Post. If you happen to have caught one of the retailer's latest TV commercials, you'll also see that it plans to position "call" buttons throughout the store. Press one, and a salesperson will immediately come to your rescue. (Yah right - I'll believe it when I see it!) Other efforts Lowe's is undertaking in order to entice customers include having more employees on the floor, and having more products and special order items.

Lowe's not only poses additional competition to big box, home improvement, and appliance retailers. But because the company also offers installation services, custom A/V specialists might find themselves crossing paths with a Lowe's installer every now and then.

The important thing to note is that, even though Lowe's isn't specifically in the consumer electronics marketplace, the retailer will pose new competition for the consumer's disposable bucks. Am I going to buy and install a new plasma TV, or get that kitchen renovation I've been dying for? Not to mention that, should the retailer follow through with its customer service promises, there will be a new level of shopping satisfaction to live up to.

Meanwhile, direct competitors like Home Depot are likely revising strategies to more effectively compete against this new entrant in the Canadian market.

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