Trio of Targets now open in Ottawa

Shoppers in the capital are hoping a new retail arrival will hit its much-anticipated mark today.

Billings Bridge, Place d'Orleans, Hazeldean and Smiths Falls locations open

John Marioka shows off the new Target store at the Billings Bridge Shopping Centre in Ottawa Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. The store opened to the public the following day. (CBC)

Shoppers in the capital are hoping a new retail chain's arrival will hit its much-anticipated mark today.

Target stores are opening at Billings Bridge, Hazeldean and Place d’Orleans shopping malls in Ottawa and the County Fair Mall in Smiths Falls, Ont.

The American retailer is one of the more popular department stores in its home country, and has moved north of the border with the first batch of Canadian stores opening in March.

Target Canada merchandising executive John Marioka said each new store in the Ottawa area will create around 150 new jobs. He said the company has invested $10-$12 million to remodel each one.

Many of the Canadian locations have an in-store Starbucks and all are LEED-certified for their green design, said Marioka.

A Target in Kingston has been open since late July.

Early reviews criticize service, prices

Some customers there and other stores in the first wave said they’ve been let down by prices that aren’t as low as they are in the States.

Marioka said they’ve had to build their business model specifically for Canada.

The Target location at Ottawa's Billings Bridge Shopping Centre. (CBC)

“Numerous government studies have been written about pricing differences between Canada and the U.S. and we’re not immune to those pricing differences, whether they’re scale, transportation…” he said, adding their prices are competitive and in-house brands are strong.

Target also placed last in a recent survey of customer satisfaction, going up against similar stores such as Wal-Mart and Costco.

A location in Les Galeries Gatineau is set to open Oct. 18. The chain plans to have a total of 124 stores in seven provinces up and running by the end of the year.

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