As I was driving into the mall last week, I happened to notice the Target sign over the former Zellers. Zellers is just one of the many stores that has been taken over by an American counterpart, with the majority of them being closed down. I am quite excited for Target to becoming out, but at the same time sad. We are losing yet ANOTHER Canadian brand. No offense to Zellers, but I almost never got anything from that store. It was just a mere gateway to the rest of the mall and well, you can’t beat the prices at Wal-Mart for a lot of things. Zellers always seemed to be filled with more employees than shoppers. With one of the Zellers in the city I live in, I noticed it was mainly senior citizens who shopped there. Perhaps they had a strong brand loyalty to big red Z (Zee, Zed, potato, pah-tato).
In addition to takeover of Canadian retail stores, there is the expansion of US stores into Canada. So Canadians are being bombarded with American brands left, right and centre. I am not against American brands(I am falling so head over heels in love with Starbucks it’s not even funny. I have shares in the company), but the introduction of more American stores, may threaten the life of our existing Canadian stores. Call me patriotic but sometimes its nice knowing its a Canadian company and whoa, get this it’s made in Canada still??!?!(Errrr…here and there). I still think Canadian Tire money is fun!!
What doesn’t make sense to me are the new rules for duty-free shopping. Check out this article in moneyville: New duty-free rules to fuel cross-border stampede. It mentions that: The duty-free limit for stays of more than 24 hours will be boosted to $200 from $50. Limits for visits longer than 48 hours will be increased to $800. The previous limits were $400 for a week and $750 for more than a week. Now I’m no retail strategist expert or economist buff, but wouldn’t you want Canadians to spend most of their money in Canada?
Growing up, my family used to go border shopping in the outlet stores in Buffalo. This was long before stores such as Old Navy, the Children’s Place, and Marshall’s made their way to the Canadian side. I remember getting clothes and my parents telling me to rip the tags off, crinkle the clothes up and change into them in the washroom to pretend that they were old and we had worn them already coming into the US. I remember being very excited about going to the States, not so much for the deals, but more for the back to school shopping. This lessened the chances of me having the same outfits as the other kids, unless they also happened to border shop at the same store and get the exact same thing. Which never happened.
I love going on vacation, but I don’t love the idea of going on vacation to shop. As I got older and more aware of my spending when we went border shopping, I almost felt pressure to find something because we drove all this way, spent this much money on food, gas and sometimes hotel. I know some people who enjoy shopping in the US and will travel the distance just to go to a certain outlet mall. That’s fine by me, but there are so many stores right here in my neighbourhood. Best thing of all? It’s a 15 min drive away. Ok, maybe they don’t have certain brands or there are certain stores that are only in the US, but its only a matter of time till almost all our Canadian stores are gone. But that’s fine, cause bye, bye, bye will still mean buy, buy, buy.
Canadian readers, do you feel we’re being Americanized too much?
American readers, do you ever go cross-border shopping to Canada for certain stores? Are there certain Canadian brands you prefer? The only Canadian expansions (not even a takeover, just an expansion) that spring to mind are Tim Horton’s (whose coffee I think is pretty gross. Sorry) and Lululemon.