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Old 01-22-2016, 01:56 AM   #1
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The Downfall of Target Canada: Explained

The Last Days of Target

Long but good read, pieces the story on the decisions made that ultimately led to the downfall of Targets' foray into the great white north.

TL;DR:
"Ambitious but rubbish"
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Old 01-22-2016, 02:24 AM   #2
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Interesting, read half of it, and will read the rest later.

Business soap opera.
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Old 01-22-2016, 04:00 AM   #3
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Old 01-22-2016, 09:25 AM   #4
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The article is a great read.

It is a good lesson for corporations about how not to expand their operations into another country. You cannot be a profitable company without the right leaders in place with the correct vision and work background to make the right decisions.

Target Canada should have only started an online store in the first place.
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Old 01-22-2016, 09:43 AM   #5
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Terrific article ... not conjecture and speculation (for once). It's still a sad story and I feel greatly for all those who worked tirelessly for that company. It will forever be a business case-study.
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Old 01-22-2016, 09:43 AM   #6
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for a company that is worth that much and was that successful in the US
it boggles my mind that that they didn't envision and prevented this from the start
haste makes waste

i've read up to the SAP part and holy hell, you had red flags everywhere
did they really think they were gonna walk on water at this point?

the whole Target failure in Canada is textbook material and should be taught in business courses
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Old 01-22-2016, 09:54 AM   #7
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Other retailers stepped up their game when they heard Target was coming too. Most companies like Walmart or Superstore had actual plans they implemented to push back against Target.
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Old 01-22-2016, 10:13 AM   #8
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Long but excellent read
As someone that has worked their entire career in retail I can certainly relate to a lot of these challenges.

Feel bad for the Sr. Leadership team that headed up the target entry to Canada...they were asked to do the impossible. ..I can only imagine the countless crazy long hours worked to try to make things work to only see it fail in the end.

And of course the countless people that lost their jobs after target closed. They actually tried to recruit me several times....on one call with a recruiter they offered me a 20% comp increase to go to them without even asking what I was making.
Glad I didn't make that jump
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Old 01-22-2016, 10:27 AM   #9
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Good read, and if true, the whole debacle could be summed up with one acronym:

GIGO

(Garbage In, Garbage Out)
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Old 01-22-2016, 11:33 AM   #10
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I described it like this on another forum (partially in response to the assertion that a big part of their downfall was bad locations):

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As far as Target Canada's demise, I wouldn't say so much that the Zellers stores were in bad locations, as most were anchor retailers in major malls. Zellers was once a very popular low-cost retailer, similar to Wal-Mart, but once Wal-Mart came to Canada, their popularity started to fall, aided by the fact their products and prices didn't really keep up and over time the stores started to look dingy and dated.

When Target announced they were coming to Canada, shoppers got excited, expecting the same kind of products and pricing they'd get by crossing the border to the US stores. Unfortunately, Target Canada ended being little more than dressed-up Zellers stores (they were VERY nice stores, mind you, very clean and bright and well-organized), with little improvement in variety or prices. The prices were MOSTLY in line with Wal-Mart, and they definitely had a larger presence (ie. more convenient locations), but the product fell short in both selection and quality.

Realistically, the biggest problem was that customers felt let down. Wal-Mart customers didn't need to cross the border for their US stores because the Canadian stores offered good alternative. Target didn't. People expected a lot from them, and they didn't deliver. Even after Target Canada admitted where they'd gone wrong and tried to fix it, customers didn't come back. That's what ultimately killed them.
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Old 01-22-2016, 11:38 AM   #11
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I'm a bit confused. When Walmart came to Canada, were their products and pricing similar to their US stores? I don't recall that to be the case (although I could be wrong).

So I'm curious as to why folks would expect that from Target - unless it was something that was implied by Target when they started to open up stores here.
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Old 01-22-2016, 12:22 PM   #12
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I don't believe so, but you don't really need to be competitive with the US stores to succeed.
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Old 01-22-2016, 01:17 PM   #13
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Unfortunately, Target Canada ended being little more than dressed-up Zellers stores (they were VERY nice stores, mind you, very clean and bright and well-organized), with little improvement in variety or prices.
Improvements were made, but they were very mild. Everytime I went in, it felt like the same old Zellers. The overall shopping experience was probably what kept me away for the longest time.
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Old 01-22-2016, 03:54 PM   #14
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It didn't really take a MBA to figure this out.

No organization can walk into a completely market and go "from 0-100 (stores) real quick", let alone one that carries tens of thousands types of products.

What a disaster for everyone, except for the HBC owner. He sold the Zellers leases for 1.8B, but bought HBC (the whole company) for like 1.2B a few years back, and then bought Saks.

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Old 01-22-2016, 04:23 PM   #15
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Not much of a downfall when they never rose here.
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