Target leaving Canada is no surprise. Their stores were a real flop right out of the gate. Since the chain first opened its doors in March 2013, there were all sorts of basic issues: supply chain and empty shelves, dropping a fashion flyer with no advertised items in the store, summer fashion posters still up in November, etc. Behind this was an organization that was siloed—with marketing, merchandising and operations clearly not communicating and totally out-of-sync.
What has always been an amazing situation is that this phenomenal U.S. chain couldn’t even get Retail 101 right in Canada: in the Target store closest to my neighbourhood, the front and forward merchandise areas were empty and the high-traffic fixtures around the escalators were devoted to dollar store items. Even more astounding was the situation when I went to purchase a pair of jeans on the second floor men’s wear department. I was told that there was “no fitting room and that I would have to go to the lower floor women’s wear department.” What? A men’s wear area without fitting rooms? OMG!
We all hoped for an up-beat, creative, contemporary offering. What we got was a mess.
Unfortunately, they won’t be missed—because they never ever really arrived.
Some key learnings from Target:
- Get the basics right!
- Don’t be arrogant!
- Don’t switch your culture!
- Be nimble—or else!
- If you have great resources—use them!
- Never underestimate a competitor!
J.C. Williams Group is a well-known, full-service retail and marketing consulting firm. It offers clients practical, creative, and in-depth knowledge of retailing and marketing, including up-to-date know-how and techniques to make retail operations better and more profitable. You can also read their informative blog, Retaileye, here: retaileye.wordpress.com.