Target has begun the long road ahead of clearing aisles and more importantly people’s jobs. Big red clearance signs are marked with a black sharpie displaying 20 to 40 percent off. Target’s time is up and a dark cloud is left shadowing the American retail world as Canadian consumers second guess the U.S. market.
After expanding too fast, customers complain Target Canada’s prices were not low like the U.S. Target. There were complaints of low restocking as well as low variety in products. It’s been under two years since the American retail chain planted 133 stores across the border onto Canadian soil, replacing Zellers. After losing $1bn in its first year, it was time. But there are the loyal customers who will miss Target. Frequent shopper, Diana Davey, says, “I love Target and I am upset they are going because now I’ll have to go to the states.”
Employees are finding it difficult during liquidation, not because they need a new job, but consumers are being rude! Conversations down the aisles of Target are no longer cheerful, but sour. Amit Sangha, Sales floor team leader of Target Canada in Brampton says, “I am outraged and embarrassed to see how these people are coming into Target all over Canada and treating us like animals.” He is one of many Target employees who feel this way. Customers are leaving behind merchandise if the prices aren’t low enough and stomping out the doors in anger. Target team members feel picked on and belittled, becoming targets for angry customers who continue to show their depreciation. Amit Sangha continues to say, “They are calling us names, cussing, and threatening us, throwing things, and telling us they are happy we are shutting down or outraged because the liquidation sales were only ten to thirty percent off to begin with.”
Target hired Alvarez & Marsal as the international consultancy to oversee the liquidation of the company. As far as real estate assets, no other retailers have fought to be in line to take over. Target is the latest retail company facing a large setback in the tough retail world in today’s economy. Over seventeen thousand six hundred Canadian employees are packing up their bags to begin a new job hunt. Target is offering sixteen weeks of severance pay. Alijandro, a Target security guard says, “It was a great atmosphere to work in, and I will miss the people I have worked with.”
A few other stores have missed the target in the Canadian retail market as well such as Mexx, Smart Set, and Jacob. Mexx Canada has declared bankruptcy and is closing all of its ninety-five stores by the end of February. Smart Set, a women’s clothing store, is closing all one hundred and seven locations after their announcement in November 2014. The women’s store, Jacob, is closing all ninety-two stores across Canada after trying to restructure. It’s always a tough time for retailers after the Christmas season is over. The stores become quiet and hours are cut to preserve funds, but it looks like more than just hours are getting cut.
Diane Brisebois, the president of the Retail Council of Canada, faces heavy decisions in the retail market. While some stores are closing, other stores like Nordstrom have begun expansion in Calgary. They plan on expanding their other stores by 2017 in Toronto, Vancouver, and Ottawa.
In a few months, the famously red and beige walls of Target will look black as the lights turn off on the final closing day. The question remains as mysterious as the dark aisles, “What retailer will flick the lights back on and is Target’s failure to succeed in Canadian markets unique to the company, or is it all across the board for any retail companies?” The store manager at Target Mississauga answers to all media saying they are answering no questions during liquidation time. In the meantime, Target is busy packing up and heading back across the border. Everything must go! Even the big red Target ball.