Posted at 9:08 AM on May 26, 2011
by Jon Gordon
Soon you won't have to be without Target on your ventures north of the border. Minneapolis-based Target Corp. is detailing its plans for a big push into Canada.
Target announced yesterday it will open the first of 105 stores across 10 provinces in the first part of 2013 -- including a store in Winnipeg.
Target stores will be replacing Zellers locations but the Canadian retail chain will still operate Zellers stores elsewhere throughout the provinces.
So how will Canada's Target stores be different? The Financial post talked with Tony Fisher, the president of Target Canada. Excerpt:
Q: What are the differences between Canadian and American consumers?
A: Starting with similarities, there is a focus on value; when I think about 'expect more, pay less', our brand promise, I think that will resonate very well in Canada. The differences at that local level in particular are really what we have to understand over the next two years.
One Canadian Twitter user seems quite happy about the development, as you can tell from this exchange:
Target will announce a second wave of Canadian stores in September, according to a company official.
This is the most exciting news to hit Canada since ... hmmm ... 1981. "Zellers sucks" is an understatement. Think terrible mid-90s KMart crossed with Pamida.
I wonder, though, how this will affect Canadian consumption patterns. I moved here several years ago, and one of the things I noticed first was that because goods are more expensive here, there's less consumption of tossable goods. It's not "oh I found that in the dollar bin so I bought it" so much since that element is missing from most stores here. Furthermore, I wonder how Target being in Canada will affect border towns like Great Falls, MT, Buffalo, NY, and Grand Forks. They get a lot of business from Canadians coming down to shop, especially at Targets.
One of the first reactions among Canadians was disappointment that another Canadian company was bought out by Americans. Of course, Zellers is owned by the Hudson's Bay Company which is currently owned by Americans. And long time Minnesotans will remember that Dayton's used to be Dayton's-Hudson's because it was affiliated with HBC and that's back when Dayton's and Target were linked. So it's all just coming full circle.
Random facts and observations aside, I (like many Americans in Canada) will be counting the days until Target's glorious arrival.
"because goods are more expensive here, there's less consumption of tossable goods"
That's yet another thing I like about Canada. Fewer bins of cheap junk for sale.
Yes, it's a plus for the most part. There are complications when it comes to conspicuous consumption, particularly in relation to kids and the difficulty of becoming "established" as an adult in one's 20s. It is becoming more common for people to live with their parents through college and into the first years of employment to be able to save up enough to buy their own place. That's a different story though.
For the most part, Target might be able to make prices more equal between here and the US. There's no reason that, say, the same vacuum, dishes, board games, or area rugs that are sold in Minnesota should be 30% more expensive here (unless they're made in a country with which Canada has special tariffs).
Target has fascinating fashion! and you can get lots for less! (or is it less for less)
Soon Canada will be the emperor with new clothes!