Winnipeggers were out looking for bargains on Thursday morning as Target began its going-out-of-business liquidation sales. But the savings weren't as good as some were expecting, adding to customer and employee frustrations.

Target lineups

People lined up last month to get into the Target store at Grant Park Shopping Centre for closing deals. The store will be closed by April 2, along with the Target store in Brandon, Man. (Meaghan Ketcheson/CBC)

"I was hoping for some really good deals [but]

didn't really find much," said Cassandra Lis, who arrived at the Grant Park location about 7:15 a.m.

"A lot of stuff is only 10 per cent off, which doesn't even cover the taxes to tell you the truth."

Target had announced its sales would be like those seen on Black Friday — when retail outlets offer deep discounts the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving in November.

In anticipation, people lined up at all four Winnipeg Target locations — Grant Park, Kildonan Place Shopping Centre, Polo Park, and Southdale Centre — ahead of the stores' doors opening at 8 a.m.

Lis said it wasn't worth lining up early and heard other shoppers saying the same thing.

"For a store closing, especially if they're expecting to sell all of their product, it's not going to go very fast at this rate," she said.

Target pharmacist given 1-month’s notice

And while sales did not live up to shoppers' expectations Thursday, Target workers remained faced with end-of-employment issues.

Charlie Scerbo said that while he respects Target Corp.’s success in the U.S., he could tell the retailer’s time in Canada had an expiry date from early on.

“They run a very, very good operation, there's no doubt about that,” said Scerbo, who has been running the Southdale Target pharmacy for the last 22 months.

“And that's what attracted the franchisees to their franchise model. But from day one they were not able to establish the same kind of operating systems that were seen in the United States and that really was their downfall.”

Scerbo said pharmacy customers will have a choice where their prescription files are sent to, but that message hasn’t necessarily made it to everyone.

“Patients right now do not understand what's happening,” he said. “They don't understand, ‘well is the pharmacy closing, and if so, where do my personal files go'?’”

Scerbo said he was given until Feb. 26 to clear out. With less than one month to go, he said he is scrambling to tie up loose ends.

“Because we have regulatory processes we have to go through with the Manitoba College of Pharmacy, we have to let our patients know what's happening, so they have really put pharmacy franchisees in a predicament.”

Deals better in U.S., say shoppers

While Lis is disappointed Target is pulling up stakes just two years after expanding into Canada, Lis admitted she wasn't a big shopper at the stores in Winnipeg. She said there weren't the same deals people were used to seeing in the United States stores.

Target deals

The deals (Meaghan Ketcheson/CBC)

​"I was hoping they were going to be a little bit lower," she said about the prices.

She did begin picking up some things last month after Target first announced they would be closing.

"They had basically started not really a liquidation yet, but they were already starting to sell stuff at a cheaper price versus the actual retail price that it was originally at two, three months ago," she said, adding she was "hoping to get better bargains" on Thursday but left without making a purchase.

Lis said she's not giving up yet.

"I'm hoping, give it a few more weeks and the prices will go down even more," Lis said.

But for shopper Kim Kaufman, who left Target empty-handed Thursday, the retailer won’t be dearly missed. She said she won’t be coming back to Target in its last days because its Canadian competitors offer better deals.

“I can go to pretty much the majority of the stores that we shop at and get a better price right now and I can return it if I want to,” said Kaufman.

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