SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Glenn Rossman, Cynthia Dunlop

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Canadian Tire Opens New Cloud Nine Digital Innovation Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba

  • The state-of-the-art digital content warehouse and 'App Factory' will serve as the core digital hub for the Canadian Tire Family of Companies
  • The centre will add 50 new Winnipeg-based employees to the Canadian Tire team over the next year

TORONTO, April 22, 2014 /CNW/ - Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited (CTC) (TSX:CTC) (TSX:CTC.a) has officially opened its Cloud Nine Digital Innovation Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. One of the most advanced centres of its kind in North America, the 28,000 square foot site will house a digital content warehouse, application lab, testing lab and high performance data centre. It will serve as the core digital hub for the Canadian Tire Family of Companies and allow the Company to provide greater digital services to its customers, suppliers, employees and partners.

The new centre will provide the Company – which includes Canadian Tire retail stores, Mark's, FGL Sports (Sport Chek, Hockey Experts, Sports Experts, National Sports, Intersport, Pro Hockey Life and Atmosphere), Partsource, Gas+ and Financial Services – with 20-times more computing power and 10-times more network bandwidth than its existing technology infrastructure. The new facility will also be used to host its new 'App Factory,' where advanced digital solutions and new technologies will be developed for use in-store and online. 

"At Canadian Tire, we've been serving Canadians for over 90 years and innovation has always been a hallmark of our history," said Eugene Roman, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Canadian Tire Corporation. "The launch of the Cloud Nine Digital Innovation Centre is one of the biggest digital endeavours ever taken on by the Company – the applications we are developing here will enhance the in-store shopping experiences for our customers, turbo-charge their interaction with our brands online and provide great improvements to our back-end operations."

Attached to the Cloud Nine Digital Innovation centre is an Advanced Gamification space and Digital Media Hub called the NEWcleus. The goal of the NEWcleus is to create technology to change the way people communicate and interact with the Company's retail stores.

"By bringing together a diverse group of individuals in a truly inspiring space, we will continue to showcase innovation at Canadian Tire. As retail turns into e-tail, we will continue to connect our physical stores with digital and further enhance the way our customers interact with our staff, our stores and our brand," said Roman.

Canadian Tire selected Winnipeg because of the city's burgeoning technology community, which is the result of significant government investments in the sector from the Province of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg. 

"Manitoba continues to grow with the creation of good jobs in new industries. Nowhere is this more evident than the investments we're seeing in downtown Winnipeg," said Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger. "We are pleased to support Canadian Tire's Cloud Nine Digital Innovation Centre and look forward to seeing even more jobs created as a result of our incentives for new media and data processing businesses."

CTC worked with YES! Winnipeg, the city's business development team within Economic Development Winnipeg Inc., for support with a number of critical program elements, including sourcing local vendors and partners as well as liaising with the Provincial and Municipal governments. This work included playing a key role in facilitating Canadian Tire's relationship with Manitoba Hydro and working to ensure that the Cloud Nine Digital Innovation Centre meets the latest energy efficiency and green computing standards.

"We are so pleased that Canadian Tire, one of Canada's most respected brands, has selected Winnipeg as the site for their advanced Cloud Nine Digital Innovation Centre and digital gamification development lab," said Bill Morrissey, Leader, Yes! Winnipeg, an initiative of Economic Development Winnipeg Inc. "Not only does their decision validate Winnipeg's very compelling value proposition as a great place for new business operations, but this centre will be a catalyst for further growth of our already-vibrant ICT sector.  We are so proud of the collaborative community effort of support that was extended to Canadian Tire Corporation by so many stakeholder organizations here."

Canadian Tire and its Family of Companies have recently made a number of significant investments in agile technology solutions that improve store operations and digitally power customer interactions both in-store and online. In 2013, Canadian Tire launched its new interactive online catalogue and announced that it will be increasing the products available through its e-commerce channels. FGL Sports opened a state-of-the-art Sport Chek 'lab' store in Toronto, and in 2014, launched its flagship store in West Edmonton Mall – both locations combine unique hands-on experiences that bring the products to life with interactive technology and digital installations. The Company also became the first retail partner in Communitech with the opening of a digital development lab in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, which will be closely linked to the Cloud Nine Digital Innovation Centre in Winnipeg.

About Canadian Tire Corporation

Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited, (TSX:CTC.A) (TSX:CTC) or "CTC," is a family of businesses that includes a retail segment, a financial services division, CT REIT and Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, CTC's affiliated national charity that is dedicated to removing financial barriers so kids across Canada can participate in sports and physical activities.  Our retail business is led by Canadian Tire, which was founded in 1922 and provides Canadians with products for life in Canada across its Living, Playing, Fixing, Automotive and Seasonal categories. PartSource and Gas+ are key parts of the Canadian Tire network. The retail segment also includes Mark's, a leading source for casual and industrial wear, and FGL Sports (Sport Chek, Hockey Experts, Sports Experts, National Sports, Intersport, Pro Hockey Life and Atmosphere), which offers the best active wear brands. The nearly 1,700 retail and gasoline outlets are supported and strengthened by our Financial Services division and the approximately 85,000 people employed across the Company. For more information, visit corp.canadiantire.ca

SOURCE CANADIAN TIRE CORPORATION, LIMITED

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