Inside This Issue - News
Formatís potential excites Buley
June 20th, 2011
by Scot Meyer
MISSISSAUGA, Ontario – The Bargain Shop Holdings Inc. has the potential to grow in Canada in much the same way that Dollar General Corp. has grown in the United States, Beryl (Jack) Buley believes.
Buley, who took over as president and chief executive officer of the company in March, knows something about Dollar General. He served as that company’s divisional president of merchandising, marketing and global supply chain before joining The Bargain Shop last November as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. Before Dollar General, where he played a role in the redesign of the chain’s stores, Buley spent 16 years with Kohl’s Corp.
"I’ve been in retail since I was 18," says Buley, who is 49. "And I’ve never been more excited about a format and its potential. We have a tremendous opportunity in Canada."
The Bargain Shop operates 238 small-box discount stores that range in size from 8,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet. The merchandise mix is one-third consumables and one-third apparel, with the final third devoted to such categories as home, seasonal, electronics and stationery. There is some everyday merchandise, but a lot of the product is bought on deals.
Buley intends to tweak the stores’ merchandise assortments a bit, keeping the treasure hunt quality and the value associated with the deal buys, while adding more programmed buys to bring some consistency to the product offering.
The chain is also testing a new store format.
"Our stores offer great merchandise at great prices, but not always a very good shopping experience," Buley says. "So we’re reorganizing the stores in a way that’s very similar to what we did at Dollar General, making them more inviting and easier to shop."
The redesigned stores will include enhanced grocery sections — with freezers and coolers — as well as new product offerings in apparel, soft lines, pet supplies, gifts and home care.
The idea is to position The Bargain Shop units as more convenient alternatives to their big-box discount competition in urban and suburban markets. The new format also works on the chain’s stores in more remote locations, where there is little or no direct competition, Buley says.
The Bargain Shop’s ability to grow is enhanced by the fact that the Canadian retailing environment is relatively understored, with a lot of mom-and-pop stores and small, independent operators, Buley says. He adds that the imminent arrival of Target Corp. in the Canadian market will initially reduce competition for The Bargain Shop, since the Zellers stores that Target acquired will be closed for a year or so before being reopened as Target stores.
"That will create a void in the market," Buley says. "And this is the perfect time for us to step up."