Business

Target returns, auctions off leases on most Canadian properties

Target Canada will auction off some of its leases next week and has returned 55 leases to its landlords as part of its process of pulling out of Canada.

Defunct retailer aims to pull out of Canadian properties by May 15

A Target store in Toronto, now empty. There were few bidders for Target Canada's properties. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Target Canada will auction off some of its leases next week and has returned 55 leases to its landlords as part of its process of pulling out of Canada.

The defunct retailer filed documents with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice outlining how it would rid itself of its leases after failing to find bidders for the properties.

Leases not returned to their landlords will be auctioned off next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Target aimed to get rid of all its leases as of May 15. All stores have been closed since April 12.

It had hoped to sell them to other retailers and recoup some cash from its failed venture into Canada.

But with big box retailers like Future Shop folding because of online sales and tightening margins in women's wear and department store sectors, there is a shortage of candidates to take them over.

Target originally had 133 stores and 19 leases for warehouse and office space.

It was able to sell 11 leases in desirable locations back to landlords Oxford Properties Corp. and Ivanhoe Cambridge, who wanted to regain control of their properties early in the process. Target gained $138 million from the deal.

The landlords receiving back the other 55 leases have expressed concern they may have difficulty finding tenants for the space.

Target announced it was pulling out of Canada in January, after bills began piling up from its ambitious launch in Canada, with no prospect of profit for at least five years.

With files from the Canadian Press

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