Breaks new ground in retail and joins technology start-ups in Kitchener-Waterloo to invent new technology and develop new applications for 'retail of the future'TORONTO, March 21, 2013 /CNW/ - Canadian Tire today opened its new digital development lab in Silicon Valley North, joining nearly 1000 companies as the first retail partner in Communitech. Communitech supports tech companies at all stages of their growth and development — from startups to rapidly growing SMEs, to large global players — in the commercialization of innovative technologies. Canadian Tire announced it will have five full time employees on site in Kitchener and is working in dedicated space within the Communitech 'hub' to improve the shopping experience online and in-store for customers using 'next in class' advancements in digital technology. Canadian Tire is excited to be part of this powerful digital community as customer-facing and operational initiatives will help grow its retail business. "Canadian Tire has decided that digital is - and will be - a core strategic differentiator in retail," said Marco Marrone, Chief Operating Officer for Canadian Tire. "We have been on a digital journey for several years now - and it is clear that to succeed we need strong capabilities in digital and technology. Our Communitech partnership puts us deep inside the smartest brain trust in Canada and will deliver the 'next in class' thinking that we need to lead the retail industry and deliver a better customer experience." "Where we used to focus on large-scale technology builds, we're now capitalizing on investments we, and others, have already made and are implementing technology much more quickly," concluded Marrone. "We have built an internal team and our app lab will explore and deliver consumer applications that support our digital vision."