Toronto Life - The Goods

A compendium of the latest store openings, hottest parties and runway shows and all the buzzy fashion gossip. Sign up for the Style newsletter for weekly updates



Target went to hilarious lengths to make its Canadian shelves look full

(Image: Target Canada)

(Image: Target Canada)

It’s been a disappointing year for Target Canada, the wayward retail stepchild of everyone’s favourite American superstore. Since launching last spring, the Canadian chain hasn’t quite lived up to its parent-corp’s expectations, thanks to a whole bunch of factors: higher-than-expected price tags, competition from rival shops like Walmart and Loblaws, and distribution issues that left shelves at Canadian outlets looking sort of sad and empty.

A recent story in the Wall Street Journal adds a new touch of pathos to reports about the chain’s inventory issues. The article cites some specific examples of harried store managers trying valiantly, but ineffectually, to disguise the fact that they just didn’t have enough stuff to put on display—by spacing action figures really far apart in the toy section, for instance, or devoting an entire half-aisle to one specific brand of laundry detergent. Given the American chain’s reputation for miscellaneous abundance, the neglectful state of Canadian shops seems particularly unfortunate, as if they were set up to fail from the start.

Still, some sources are still betting on a Target Canada comeback, including credit-rating agency Moody’s. “Writing [Target Canada] off is extremely premature,” Moody’s vice president and senior analyst Charles O’ Shea told the Financial Post.

After all the negativity, it’s nice to know someone out there is still rooting for the struggling subsidiary of North America’s second-largest discount retail corporation.

  • Devon Domanski

    Interesting story that would have been complimented nicely with photos to illustrate the point… without images, it’s not really that hilarious. And why is ‘action figures’ linked to Love Toronto Life but think this post missed the mark… or Target, as the case may be.

  • WEW

    Agreed, I didn’t even read the post since there’s no photos.

  • Fenderaddict2

    Read book the same way? ;-)

  • WEW

    hahaha, you know it! ;)

  • Alex

    Lots of people are not shopping at Walmart either for a lot of reasons.

  • Michelle Scolnick Moll

    They tried too hard to “Canadianize”

  • Nicholas Stobart

    @Devon D. If you read the article and followed the link provided “inventory issues”, you would have had lots of pictures to look at related to this story. A little effort goes a long way.

  • Common Sense Canadian

    I find the Target store cleaner and much better laid out than Walmart’s, and the prices are now comparable as well. Of the two I prefer Target hands down.