I need bedsheets. And for the past week I’ve putting off making the Icelandic-expedition-like journey to my local Target store to get them. “Don’t worry, we can always buy them next week.” my boyfriend told me last evening, adding “Target will still be there on Monday.”
But as I awoke this morning, my Twitter feed was abuzz with some alarming news. In fact, Target might not be there come Monday. Target stores will be ripped out of their retail locations just as quickly as the discount department store showed up in the North, leaving 133 stores vacant. The American box store began their attempted takeover in 2013 – opening over a hundred stores all over Canada and adding 9 more the following year. The costly, “too large too quick” move left newly opened Targets disorganized and some shelves bare as the company struggled to keep up with demand. Disgruntled Canuck customers also complained that Target’s prices did not reflect the great deals of their American locations. This left them to turn back to what they knew – Wal-Mart (another American giant who has been part of the true north strong and free for 19 years now). Employees were frustrated with inventory mess ups and overstocked back rooms that made locating merchandise nearly impossible.
For those just warming up to Target after the loss of a great Canadian retailer, Zellers, this has come at quite a shock. Target will be liquidating it’s merchandise over the next few months (a great time to buy bedsheets!) and it’s locations will become hauntingly empty ruins of what once was – the faces of failure. Not to mention the closing stores are coupled with the termination of nearly 18,000 jobs.
Wal-Mart found it’s feet after a rocky few years on Canadian soil, and went on to become the nation’s biggest discount retailer. Other American companies that have had great success here include: H&M, Old Navy and Winners. So it was odd that Target execs stated the reason for closing was that they would not become profitable here until well into 2021. The retreat is a decision that is keeping Target share holders confident in the company’s new CEO’s plan to save this sinking ship. The failed expansion leaves Target in multibillion dollar debt.
Looks as though Canadians will have to put “Target” back on their list of stores to stock up at on their yearly shopping trips south of the border.