Target Canada's liquidation draws crowds, but also bargain hungry critics

The liquidation of Target Canada's merchandise is underway, with larger-than-usual crowds of shoppers looking for bargains — although many said the great deals were few and far between.

Many find deals while others disappointed with the level of discounts

Target Canada liquidation sales today herald bitter end

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Featured VideoSt. John's Target opens Thursday to bargain hungry shoppers, many leave underwhelmed

The liquidation of Target Canada's merchandise is attracting larger-than-usual crowds, with shoppers anticipating bargains on the first day of the super sale.

Many, however, say great deals were few and far between.

In Toronto, about a dozen people were lined up in the frigid cold outside the East York Target location around 7:30 a.m. ET before the store opened. Several more sat in their vehicles watching the crowd slowly grow. There were similar scenes at other locations across Canada, CBC reporters on the ground say.

Target said late Wednesday that customers could expect discounts of up to 30 per cent as the company offloads millions of dollars worth of merchandise to pay back creditors. But as with most liquidations, the discounts could get even deeper as time goes by and the company looks to clear out product and raise cash to pay back its debts.

"I'm not super impressed, really," said Paul Boychuk, who walked into a Toronto Target store expecting better savings.

Some customers managed to haggle a deal.

Graham Kitching, a student at Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont. was in that community's Target on Thursday morning and unimpressed with the deals. But he managed to negotiate with the sales staff and bought a $120 watch for $45, he told CBC News.

But many others left empty-handed.

CBC reporter Aaron Saltzman spoke to construction worker Chris Makris at a Toronto-area store who scoffed at buying a TV for $399 because he claims the same set only cost $199 online two weeks ago.

The trip will be his first — and last — time shopping at Target, he said.

Bargain hunters

At a Winnipeg-area Target store, there was a similar sentiment.

"I was hoping for some really good deals [but] didn't really find much," shopper Cassandra Lis told CBC. "A lot of stuff  is only 10 per cent off, which doesn't even cover the taxes to tell you the truth."

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.

The chain says the liquidation sales could take between eight and 10 weeks, and the retailer's presence in Canada is expected to be gone by early May.