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Whither Canadian Tire? Female MBA team wins with answer

A Canadian Tire store in North Vancouver, B.C.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

For the first time in seven years, an all-female team won the Financial Executives International Canada's Best in Class Invitational MBA case competition.

The winning team on Saturday came from University of Calgary's Haskayne School of Business, while runners up were from McGill University's Desautels Faculty of Management and Schulich School of Business at York University. The fourth finalist was from McMaster University's DeGroote School of Business.

The hypothetical crisis they had to solve: retailer Canadian Tire Corp., which last year bought sporting goods purveyor Forzani Group, including Sport Chek, will face a daunting e-commerce challenge on Jan. 1 when Amazon.com will have just acquired two big U.S. sporting goods rivals. The Haskayne team's recommendation for Canadian Tire: Pump up sporting goods marketing and promotions to lure customers, focus on in-store customer service and speed up digital enhancements.

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Canadian Tire executives, including chief operating officer Marco Marrone and chief financial officer Dean McCann, met with all 12 teams that vied for the prize, briefing them on the company's operations. The winners got cash prizes of $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500.

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About the Author
Retailing Reporter

Marina Strauss covers retailing for The Globe and Mail's Report on Business. She follows a wide range of topics in the sector, from the fallout of foreign retailers invading Canada to how a merchant such as the Swedish Ikea gets its mojo. She has probed the rise and fall (and revival efforts) of Loblaw Cos., Hudson's Bay and others. More

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