Target reaffirms commitment to Canada in video

Target is trying to show it is serious about fixing the problems from its bumpy launch in Canada by doing something very Canadian — apologizing.

U.S. retailer lost $1.1B in botched first year in Canada

In a YouTube video, various Target employees are seeing reaffirming the company's determination to fix its problems at Canadian stores. (Dave Chidley/Canadian Press)

Target is trying to show it is serious about fixing the problems from its bumpy launch in Canada by doing something very Canadian — apologizing.

In a YouTube video sent out on social media this week by new president Mark Schindele, several of the company's 20,000 employees are shown speaking frankly about how committed the company is to fixing the problems encountered in the retail chain's poorly executed launch in Canada

A diverse set of employees — from marketing executives to in-store employees — are each shown telling the first-person stories of the work being done behind the scenes.

"Maybe we didn't put our best foot forward," the company's chief legal counsel, Damien Liddle, says at one point. "We're working really hard to give everybody that unique target experience."

Lofty expectations

The company launched more than 100 stores in Canada to much fanfare in 2012 with lofty ambitions of reshaping the retail landscape here. But the honeymoon didn't last long as customers saw prices much higher than those in the U.S.  and worse — empty shelves as the company struggled to manage its supply chain here.

"We're getting trucks in daily," said Carlos Mosquera, who is identified as "brand team leader" with the company. "We're stocking up in certain areas where we were lacking before but we're heading in the right direction now for sure," he said.

Although the company has grown to 127 stores and 20,000 employees in Canada, the Canadian expansion has been a financial disaster that's added even more red ink to the parent company's books. In the first four quarters of operation, Target lost more than $900 million in its Canadian stores

The latest quarterly figures show the company lost another $200 million here last quarter, about the same as it did in the same time a year earlier.

The company's inaugural Canadian president, Tony Fisher, was abruptly let go before that latest round of bleak numbers came out last month. Analysts have speculated the company may have to pull out of Canada unless they can start turning a profit soon, but with the hiring of Schindele and the release of the video, the company appears to be eager to dispel the notion that it will leave any time soon.

"We're here to provide a great guest experience," Target Canada's director of merchandising operations Beverley Altberg says in the video. "It might take us a little longer to get there but I promise we will."

"We are committed to Canada," she said.

Click here to watch the entire video.


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