Target workers, shoppers, dismayed at Canada pullout

Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:57pm EST
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By Andrea Hopkins

TORONTO Jan 15 (Reuters) - Employees at Target Corp stores in Canada said they were stunned by the U.S. retailer's decision on Thursday to pull out of Canada, believing business had improved after an admittedly disastrous launch less than two years ago.

"It's a big shock for everyone. I thought it was getting better," said one Toronto Target employee who would only give her first name, Lima, for fear of reprisal from her employer.

"I thought maybe they might close a few of the stores that weren't doing as well. I never thought they'd close them all."

Workers and shoppers alike at a two-storey Target store in northeast Toronto expressed dismay at the abrupt end to the shabby chic retailer's Canadian expansion.

"I'm surprised, we're all surprised. I'm surprised they didn't tell us internally first," said another employee, dressed in the standard red sweater and khakis and bulls-eye name tag.

He declined to be identified, saying employees had been told not to talk to the media, but said he'd worked at Target since it opened two years ago and business had improved.

"I thought it was going well; the sales in this store were good," he said, before acknowledging that "stocking was always the problem."

The clean, bright store was well staffed on the day of the bombshell announcement, but some shelves were empty and others were stocked with a single item for the length of an aisle, suggesting problems with the supply chain remained.   Continued...