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Target calls it quits in Canada

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MINNEAPOLIS — Target Corp. has decided to end its costly foray into the Canadian market less than two years after opening the first of its current 133 stores in the country.

The retailer reported in mid-January that “after a thorough review” it determined that the best decision for the company would be to wind down the Canadian operations.

With the sales performance not meeting expectations and continuing issues with merchandise assortment and distribution, Target determined that the Canadian stores would not achieve “profitability until at least 2021,” according to a company ­statement.

“Personally, this was a very difficult decision, but it was the right decision for our company,” Target chairman and chief executive officer Brian Cornell said. “We have determined that it is in the best interest of our business and our shareholders to exit the Canadian market and focus on driving growth and building further momentum in our U.S. business.”

Cornell commended the Target Canada team, which he said “worked tirelessly to improve the fundamentals, fix operations and build a deeper relationship with our guests,” but in spite of these efforts a hoped-for strong holiday sales performance did not ­materialize.

Target, which opened its first Canadian stores in January 2013, made its move into Canada by acquiring 220 Zellers leases from Hudson’s Bay Co. From those 220 one-time Zellers locations, Target picked 105 for future sites of its own stores. Target eventually opened units across all 10 Canadian provinces.

Cornell, who took on the role of chairman and CEO at Target in August 2014, said that he believes Target “missed the mark from the beginning by taking on too much, too fast.”


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