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Canada Is Unimpressed by Target

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Former Canadian retailer Target Apparel, which was forced to change its name by Target. Image via <a href="">Reurbanist</a>.
Former Canadian retailer Target Apparel, which was forced to change its name by Target. Image via Reurbanist.

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US shoppers know Target, get Target, and typically spend a lot of money at Target. But according to a recent poll, Canadians have been like, "eh, what's the big deal?" toward the big-box retailer. Of 1,500 Canadians surveyed recently, a mere 27% said they were "very satisfied" with their experience at the store.

Target's Canadian rollout, which began in March, has been aggressive. The bullseye corp made its first move by partially-acquiring Canadian discounter Zellers with the intention of converting its stores to Targets. The first cycle of openings began in March with 24 stores in Ontario, followed a month later by 22 more locations in Western Canada, including outposts in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. According to Target's pressroom, the end goal for 2013 is to open 125 to 135 stores (a full list is here).

The Globe and Mail reports that for the grand openings of the first few locations, customers lined up in "droves" and some even camped out in tents. They then surveyed early shoppers to get feedback. The reaction was "ho-hum."

Part of the issue is pricing: goods in Canada stores cost more than those in the US by an estimated 14%. The president of Target Canada blames the price of transportation, fuel and distribution for the difference. That, countered with extremely high consumer expectations and early kinks, have placed the retailer last in the court of public opinion, with competitor Costco scoring the highest.

A Target spokesperson cautions that these are still "early days" and that they're continuously improving the experience with the help of customer feedback. And when that fails, there's always a little Phillip Lim to sweeten the experience.
· Target Not Delivering the Deals Customers Expected: Experts [CTV News]
· Target Canada Last In Forum Research Customer Satisfaction Survey [HuffPo Canada]
· Target Canada: 'It is like a renovated Zellers' [Globe and Mail]