Canadian Tire’s fancy new range

The retailer is pushing a premium BBQ selection to grow its share of the market and further its exclusive brand strategy.

This story originally appeared in the May 2019 issue of

Canadian Tire already leads in market share in the outdoor cooking category, so this summer it’s looking to its newest premium brand to find new areas of growth.

Exclusive brands like Motomaster and Mastercraft have long been staples on the retailer’s shelves, but expanding that portfolio is a “driving force behind Canadian Tire’s growth strategy,” says Rebecca Harth, associate VP of brand management for its cooking portfolio. It’s doing that through brands the retailer grew itself (Canvas furniture), acquired (Paderno kitchenware and Helly Hansen outerwear) or secured the exclusive rights for in the Canadian market (Petco pet products).

Joining those ranks is premium U.S. brand Vermont Castings. Canadian Tire has the exclusive rights to sell a collection of grills it developed with the brand, which Harth says is known for quality and craftsmanship – values the retailer’s research says are important to premium BBQ buyers.

Harth says Canadian Tire’s assortment in all categories needs to expand if it wants to keep appealing to a range of different households and continue to grow. But doing that through exclusive brands, retail analyst Tony Chapman says, is smart as Canadian Tire can leverage its scale to acquire brands. By controlling how the brands’ equity is built and creating scarcity, the retailer makes its brands “must see” – and for brands like Vermont Castings, turns it into a “trophy” for BBQ fans.

To build that equity for Vermont Castings, Canadian Tire has worked with Leo Burnett, Touche! and Weber Shandwick Canada on a big push.

CT-1886-02-1D_posterIn a TV spot, the camera crosses through different seasons and weather patterns, showing how there is no “BBQ season” for grilling experts (even if they do live in Canada) and that Vermont Castings has the durability and craftsmanship to endure any conditions. The campaign also includes influencer sponsorships with chefs, online ads that change based weather, plus a grassroots effort that will place assets in butcher shops (pictured, left) and interactive pop-ups. Which means the retailer’s likely to be packed with BBQ fans this spring.