Target: Time to pull the plug on Canada?

A surprising number of RetailWire panelists shared the opinion that Target should cut its losses and pull out of Canada. I disagree, and I had some company among the BrainTrust. Here’s my brief comment:

It’s premature for Target to pull out of Canada, just over a year since moving in. The company has too much invested in real estate (which they acquired for a bargain price), infrastructure, organization and corporate pride to throw in the towel this quickly. There are some clear lessons learned from the 2013 results that are correctable, starting with inventory levels and pricing. Target is going to have to be a lot more aggressive on both fronts if it intends to gain market share and cover its investment and costs.

The Canada experience is symptomatic of what ailed Target overall: Too much caution, too slow to react, too much faith that the “brand” (versus good execution) would carry the day. With luck, the interim CEO is addressing these cultural issues quickly, even during the search for his permanent replacement.


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