The withdrawal of Target from Canada after a punishing retail failure will no doubt affect local staffing, and the company’s HQ on Nicollet will have three floors removed to reflect the downsizing. Experts believe they will be taken from the top, for structural reasons.
Some possible reasons the venture didn’t work out as planned:
• “Archer Farms” in French was mistranslated to “Man with Arrows Killing Livestock.
• The company misunderstood the bilingual requirements and built a second store next to the first with everything in another language. (You wonder if people in French-speaking areas of Canada pronounced the name of the store “Tar-GET” just as we say “Tar-zhay” to indicate hoity-toity upscale sarcasm.)
• Gardening supplies and lawn chairs in March made people fearful that the store was run by lunatics.
• In the Canadian culture, dogs with circles around one eye are omens of disaster.
• Absolutely everyone, I mean 100%, of customers decided to save 10% today by signing up for a Target card, wiping out profits entirely.
• Typo in the printing plant meant the store brands were labeled MARKET PANTY, which customers found distasteful.
• Expensive lawsuits were filed by people who gave those big red balls outside the store a playful kick.
• In retrospect, the decision to replace carts with sleds pulled by dog teams seems a bit culturally insensitive.
• Really bad bet on back-bacon futures.
• Former CEO snarling, “Take off, eh,” at Canadian managers in videoconference depressed morale.
• Seventy-eight percent of transportation costs spent stocking one store in the Northwest Territories.
• Unexpected customer loyalty to a pre-existing chain, Torget.
Whatever the reason, best of luck to Target going forward, and if anyone suggests putting stores in the locations Best Buy left behind in China, hear him out. Then fire him.