After ‘Unmitigated Disaster,’ Target Pulls Out of Canada

After hemorrhaging money for nearly two years, the retailer is closing its 133 Canadian stores, leaving 17,600 Canadians without jobs.

After ‘Unmitigated Disaster,’ Target Pulls Out of Canada Photo (cc) by nckhtmn

Target, which has operated in Canada for just shy of two years, is shuttering its 133 stores and pulling out.

According to CTV News, Target Canada has endured 22 months of multimillion dollar losses.

“Simply put, we were losing money every day,” Target Corp. CEO Brian Cornell said Thursday.

The store closures will put 17,600 Target employees out of work. “The company says nearly all the workers who are not needed during the wind-down period will receive a minimum of 16 weeks of compensation, including wages and benefits,” CTV News reports.

Farla Efros, Toronto-based COO of Hilco Retail Consulting, told Forbes that Canadians loved shopping at Target in the United States, but the Canadian Target stores fell short.

Instead of that Target experience they expected, Efros says Canadian shoppers were treated to higher prices, less selection in categories like children’s clothes and housewares, and often empty shelves due to unusually bad supply chain teething pains.

“From the minute they opened the doors they were disappointing the Canadian consumer,” she said.

Canada was the Minneapolis-based retail giant’s first attempt at international expansion, according to Slate. Unfortunately, it was an utter failure from the start.

“By all accounts, the adventure has been an unmitigated disaster — a story of a company trying to accomplish too much, too fast, with too little thought,” Slate said.

Target opened its stores in rapid fashion in Canada, mostly in buildings in second-rate locations that they had acquired from Zellers, a discount department retailer. But the Target stores opened before the company developed a Canadian supply chain, which left many stores with empty shelves, Slate reports.

CTV News said that unlike in the United States, Target Canada also did not offer online shopping.

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