I have been a faithful Target shopper since the day they opened. It wasn't because I had become a huge fan when I would visit the US Target.
Shopping at Target on holidays was fun - but there are a lot of American stores that are fun to shop at for us Canadians.
The reason I was so excited about Target's arrival in Canada?
Competition. It was time.
Particularly in Western Canada.
With Loblaws now owning Shoppers Drug Mart, and Sobey's buying Safeway, the grocery market is too small and prices are too high.
I have grown to love my Target shops. The stores are clean, organized and quiet (the lack of people probably not a good sign!).
From housewares to clothing to make up, Target has great high quality product lines.
So you would think Target would have been an automatic shoe in for Canada!?
We knew their brand from cross border shopping, and we were in dire need of some competition. What the heck happened?
This was a series of mistakes in my opinion. A big ship sunk slowly by a few holes.
1) Target didn't do their homework. There was a huge excitement about their store openings and initially people went in, just for curiosity's sake.
Their prices were too high, their goods not impressive, and shelves were poorly stocked. Apparently, Canadians shop differently then Americans!
The US formula didn't work.
Now you can't pin this all on Target. For some reason, there are still some Canadians who think that prices at Canadian Target stores are going to be just as low as our American neighbors.
That's like comparing apples to oranges.
We are a separate country! Circumstances like taxes, shipping, volume and wages will dictate prices.
Target lost a lot of ground those first few months and Canadians weren't willing to give them a second or third try.
2) Target didn't stock what we wanted. When there was a great sale, it became well known that if you weren't there the first day, you missed out. Trying to use a rain check was almost impossible because no one knew when more product would be shipped.
When a cold snap hit and customers were looking for mittens or winter boots for their kids, Target didn't have it.
3) Policies changed constantly. Depending on the cashier or manager, one day you could price match from another store, the next day you couldn't.
For months, there was a lot of confusion at the tills and a disconnect between head office and store management. Cashiers and even some managers were poorly trained on how to use a coupon and ring them in.
It's not like Target didn't try, but it seemed to be too little, too late.
I have had some great hauls at Target. I have written many blog posts about the deals and clearance that I find there.
Despite its problems, I dug in my stubborn heels and didn't give up on my favorite store. I could see Target's potential.
But I also understand business. I had a feeling this would happen if customers didn't get back into the stores.
I shudder to think of our shrinking shopping pool and the high prices.
THAT really does need to change.