Target Canada is shutting down and residents are celebrating the end of what was ultimately a watered-down, disappointing version of a popular American chain.
The retailer said today it will shut down its 133 stores in Canada, which it started building out in 2013, putting 17,600 employees out of a job. The company had major inventory issues, which meant customers often walked in to empty shelves, and struggled with the perception it was overpriced relative to U.S. locations, CEO and chairman Brian Cornell said in a blog post today. The company also failed to bring many of its popular American brands into the Canadian stores — such as Cherry Coke and the s'more variant of Goldfish crackers, the Wall Street Journal noted.
"Unfortunately, the negative guest sentiment became too much to overcome," Cornell said. He noted that the chain was "losing money every day" and that executives "were unable to find a realistic scenario that got Target Canada to profitability until at least 2021."
Many Canadians are celebrating Target's demise, or at least expressing a lack of surprise that this day would come. A few are posting to the company's Facebook page comparing the exit to a death in the family or the loss of a best friend.
When Target entered Canada, it got leases for locations from Zellers, a major Canadian discount chain. Many customers complained that the new Target, which is seen as an upscale version of Walmart in the U.S., was too much like Zellers — namely, cheaper and less nice. Still others felt that Target's goods were actually inferior to Zellers, as per a report last year from The New York Times that documented the chain's woes.
Target will book a large $5.4 billion pre-tax charge in the fourth quarter as part of the closings.