Thursday, January 15, 2015

Target Missed

I normally don't focus on news surrounding businesses often unless they are ridiculous or somehow affect me. For instance, CD Warehouse is closing this year. They were a good place. I got my first-ever Madness CD there. It was the only place in the city (to my knowledge then) that had any.

This morning I did happen along a ridiculous news item business-related, and it was about Target.

Just like that, the company is folding entirely in Canada. Every single store is closing. Every single employee laid off.

It hasn't been here two years.

I find it remarkably ridiculous and funny. The store chain's history here could fit into a 90-minute comedic film about anti-Target protesters trying to bring back Zellers. A film in similar vein to Good Burger, but without the fast-food or the across-the-street-competition.

I don't think I've ever heard of any other big American chains like Target expanding into this country only to withdraw within a year and a half. I remember the Zellers on Merivale Road very well. My mother took me shopping there hundreds of times over my childhood. Then they closed it and spent months taking everything out, removing the rear wall and all interior walls, making a twenty-foot expansion from behind the building, and re-structuring the hell out of the whole plaza. Complete with a silly target logo. Months of renovation, deconstruction, reconstruction, and branding, and the time it was opened to the public barely outlasts the time spent on building it.

What a ludicrous waste of time and money.

From what I've read, their aim was the capitalize on people who crossed the border to shop at American Target stores. That failed entirely due to the chain having no choice but to have higher prices due to shipping taxes and tariffs, etc. The Canadian stores were more expensive than the same stores across the border. Apparently, the company wanted too much too immediately from Canadian shoppers as it over-hyped the new stores as being like the American ones (which they obviously weren't). Meanwhile Wal-Mart and everyone else continued making a profit. They were still opening new stores as late as August of last year.

Stores that had only been open for four months and a week or so before the announcement this morning.

If there was ever such a huge failure in something so big, this would be it. An American chain come to Canada to ultimately lose just about all of its money building stores to close months after opening. I read that many employees found out their job had vanished in media before ultimately going into work to be laid off. One of my co-workers has a wife on maternity leave at Target. No doubt that maternity leave has just turned into permanent leave. For a store and company that will no longer exist.

I wonder of that logo was something else in disguise in plain sight. Every store had one. A giant self-destruct button, which has now been activated. Evidently they aren't too sure of themselves and therefore has every store equipped with one. A giant red-white button.

This is the most inane business news I've ever heard. All 133 stores to close, just like that. After first opening them in March of 2013. The Merivale one opened during the summer of 2013. What are they going to do now? The self-destruct button has been pushed. Everyone's been let go. The lights are dimming. Who's going to move into the giant cavernous space left by the broken company? They structured the layout so that their back room runs down the middle of the building from front to back instead of along the back. It'll be interesting to see how they'll decide what to do for the space and its unique layout. If Zellers comes back, I only hope they have cleaner floors. They weren't bad. Just a bit messy and cluttered and disorganized. But I prefer a Canadian company.

One that won't miss the target and isn't so anxious it requires a giant self-destruct button.

Red Cloud

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