Creative commentary plus crafty composition

Off Target

This morning an announcement was made that American chain Target is closing down its approximately 130 stores in Canada, a scant couple of years after entering our retail market.  The president of Canadian operations stated they did not see profitability here occurring until 2021.

Except for the impact on employees, this can hardly be considered a major disappointment.

There has been a regular stream of negative anecdotal experience expressed since the launch, principally concerning the little advantage pricing and lower selections versus U.S. outlets.

In our own case, the expression ‘you never have a second chance to make a good first impression’ was never truer.  Noting the unimpressive look upon entering the recently opened location in a centrally located Ottawa mall, we found the small appliance section, found a displayed model and price that were acceptable (being an ‘acceptable’ compromise seemed to be the rule here), then discovered the item was not on the shelf.  After a laborious effort, we found an employee responsible for the section; he checked and advised us that not only was the item not in stock, but he couldn’t say when it would be.  We left the store very quickly.

In the lead up to the launch of another location on the intensive strip mall stretch of Merivale Road, I asked an employee of a Staples store which was going through what seemed to be an unnecessary facelift why this was happening.  The employee informed me that the other stores in the strip mall had to adhere to a visage acceptable to Target as part of the latter’s agreement to set its imprint there.  So much for the value (and expense) of that strategy.

It appears that Target’s imprint on the Canadian retail landscape will be to just slip away after high expectations. It’s legacy will likely be a historical footnote.

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