Photo cred - The Windsor Star
Last week, we found out that the American retailing brand known as Target was pulling out all its Canadian stores after loosing over a billion dollars in revenue in just a few short years. While Montrealers were thrilled at the thought of having access to the discount retailer that promised its customers to "Expect More, Pay Less" on their shores, it unfortunately never translated into actual business, and combined with a poorly managed store launch by Target executives, 16 stores across Quebec are now closing up shop.
We joked that Target was nothing more than a Zellers wannabe, but the truth is that all these closings affect the little guy at the end of the day, and that poses a serious issue. Some 17, 600 Canadian employees will be laid off as a result of the closings, forcing them to find new jobs in an already difficult market. The CBC spoke with an owner of a pharmacy in a Montreal-area Target, who is not only concerned about how he is going to support his wife and two children, but also worried about the pharmacy's employees who find themselves not only without jobs but no severance package either. While finding a new location for his pharmacy is possible for the first-time franchise owner, Target's low rent will likely be hard to beat. This is just one example of the many secondary workers that will be affected by this massive corporate fail.
Losing all these Targets also spells trouble in terms of filling the empty commercial spaces left in the wake. With Montreal's unemployment rate not showing any signs of significant decrease any time soon, especially after Target's pull-out, a lack of new job creation means the stores are likely to sit empty for some time. This also doesn't bode well for the construction industry, as these units need to be filled first, before building anything new.
Target's decline in Quebec can largely be attributed to an overall unawareness of the American brand as well as the increase of online shopping versus traditional shopping, but it doesn't change the fact that thousands of Montrealers are soon to be without an income to support their families. Ideally, they should just bring back Zellers, and make everyone happy, but since that will probably never happen, the only thing that we can safely say is that Target has left a gaping hole in the Canadian economy.