Target Withdrawal

What's the symbol for mixed feelings?
The big news last week was Target pulling out of Canada.

After spending 22 months in Canada (and accumulating losses of $2.1 billion along the way), the giant US retailer had enough and called it quits.

So what happened exactly?

No clue. There's a lot of reasons the media is citing. Target said that they wouldn't be making any money in Canada until 2021!

However, who needs the media when you have me. The Loonie IT Guy.

In the 22 months Target was in Canada, wifey and I visited Target twice. Why? Well, last December, we had to go to Aurora to watch a limited release movie. Target just happened to be beside the cinema. Wifey and I walked in to look around. We didn't have much time, so we spent 10 minutes before leaving to make sure we had the seats we wanted.

The second time was only a few weeks after that. Wifey needed the practice driving in Aurora and the Target was on the way so we stopped by. Wifey was on a mission to find some pyjamas, but they didn't have anything within the amount she was willing to pay. She also found the clothes looked nice, but didn't find any in her size. As a result, we walked out of there empty handed.

So why didn't we go to Target sooner?

Well, the first reason is obvious. I have no idea where the Target's are.

Seriously. I tried to look online on their website a long time ago, but didn't find any useful information. It probably was fixed much later, but I never went back on the website.

Just for you, I went on the Target Canada website to see where the nearest Target is relative to me. Yikes! Pickering Town Centre.

Are you kidding? The next closest is at Hillcrest Mall in Richmond Hill. Essentially both these locations are in two of the cities bordering Markham. The Aurora location is actually the 5th closest location.

Now the second reason is obvious. It's just too far! I'm not going to drive 30 minutes to go to Target... especially if... well, that leads us to the next reason.

No inventory!

In the days after Target's launch, there were reports with how Target didn't have any of the sales items on the shelves. Twitter was inundated with photos of empty shelves. As a result of this negative media, I wasn't willing to drive 30 minutes to go to Target only to find the item I wanted was out of stock. Which is interesting because this is the next reason...

No flyers!

In the 22 months Target was in Canada, wifey and I never received a flyer. This is likely because the nearest Target was 30 minutes away. However, as a result, we didn't know what was on sale. Therefore, we never considered Target as one of our grocery destinations. Out of sight, out of mind.

It didn't help that Target was labelled a knock off of the former Canadian retailer Zeller's. I mean, yikes! Zeller's was okay. It was pretty sad when they closed down. But calling Target a Zeller's knock off... ouch!

As such, I convinced Wifey early on that Target wasn't worth a visit. She didn't believe me when I told her it was like going to Zeller's, but after a few weeks the stories kept rolling in. On the TV, on social media, on her Flipboard... they all told the same stories.

Eventually, she decided it wasn't worth the trip when her co-workers told her that they didn't have anything special inside.

Putting all these reasons together, it's a no brainer that they are pulling out of the Canadian market.

That's not including the reasons spouted by the media experts. I don't know if these reasons are true, so I won't repeat all of them here. Actually, the number of reasons could fill their own book.

One of the main reasons that caught my eye were the poor locations. You don't say? When Target came to Canada, they purchased the leases of the struggling Zeller's. Seriously? There's a reason they were struggling. Walmart had all the good locations. Zeller's had most of what no one else wanted. The locations were so poor, that Target's flagship store is at Victoria Park and Danforth in Toronto. I don't want to call it a sketchy neighbourhood, but for freak's sake! It's a sketchy neighbourhood!

I'm sorry if you're one of the 17,600 employees of Target. There was a lot of optimism when they first arrived in Canada that these would be solid jobs to be had. Now 17,600 will be out of work looking for jobs in an economy that isn't doing well anymore. The silver lining in this is that these employees will be paid 16 weeks severance. Maybe it will be enough to hold them over until their next job, or maybe it won't.

Target also announced today that they were going to liquidate their inventory over the next 2-3 weeks... but the question remains... what inventory?


Popular Posts