Canadian Target closures will create new shopping opportunities, say experts

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      The closure of Target stores in Canada will create new shopping opportunities and perhaps “more creative” alternatives to big box stores, according to real-estate experts.

      James Shandro, vice president of retail, leasing, and sales at the Vancouver office of the commercial real estate services firm Avison Young, noted that consumer demand remains strong.

      “We have some very sophisticated and savvy landlords and developers in this country who have experienced loss of anchor tenants off and on many times over their histories of mall ownership,” Shandro told the Straight in a phone interview following an announcement today (January 15) by Minneapolis-based Target Corporation to cease operations in the country.

      “So while Target is a big name to be losing based on their place in the world landscape, I think ultimately, this will just create opportunities for other anchor tenants and maybe even some new, more creative solutions to take care of some of the big box spaces that will be coming back when Target leaves,” Shandro continued.

      Target’s announcement came less than two years after the American retailer launched operations in Canada.

      There are 133 Target stores across the country, employing about 17,600 people.

      “Target Corporation’s cash costs to discontinue Canadian operations are expected to be $500 million to $600 million, most of which will occur in the Company’s 2015 fiscal year or later,” the retailer stated in a media release.

      The company also announced that it filed an application before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Toronto for protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. According to a CBC report, the request was granted by the court.

      Target has 19 stores in B.C., including one at Metrotown in Burnaby.

      The American retailer previously acquired leases held by the Zellers chain to gain a foothold in the Canadian market.

      Avison Young’s Shandro doesn’t think that there is an excess of retail spaces in Metro Vancouver and across the province.

      “There’s still plenty more consumer demand for more retail,” Shandro said. “It’s just a matter of having the right mix of retailers that that demand is yearning for.”

      Shandro anticipates that the spaces to be vacated by Target will host both big and small retailers.

      “There is still lot of interest and demand from other American and other international retailers that, irrespective of Target’s decision, have great interest in entering the Canadian marketplace,” he said. “This will just now give them other opportunities to consider as far as where they want to locate. But I’m sure in other markets, some of these big spaces that Target will be vacating will be demised and carved up to accommodate multiple tenants, again depending on exactly what market you’re in.”

      The Avison Young executive doesn’t see Target simply walking away from its leases.

      “There are definitely going to be financial considerations and implications that Target will have to deal with, which will then of course give these landlords and developers time to sort out what their plans are going to be for these spaces,” Shandro said.

      Real-estate consultant Peter Austin was following news about Target’s announcement when reached for comment at his Vancouver office.

      “I would anticipate that if there isn’t another major chain coming from the States that wants to take over, the spaces will likely get split up,” Austin told the Straight by phone.

      Austin doesn’t see the closure of Target stores giving pause to the development of new shopping spaces.

      “People are still building shopping centres and expanding because the population is increasing, and and as population increases, in theory, you’ll need more square footage,” he said.

      As for Target’s experience in Canada, Austin said that “it’s just a chain that has not done very well”.

      “Obviously, their sales will now be divided up by other people,” Austin said. “That’s a positive for the other stores.”



      Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

      Jan 15, 2015 at 1:48pm

      When George Bush was re-elected, I realized that America wanted to be that kind of a country. I immediately changed my shopping habits. In the decade since, I have kept at least $40,000 CAN out of the US economy. It requires me to read labels at the grocery store, and sometimes it means spending more money on needed products. Sometimes I have to do without. But in the end, it is satisfying to know that I don't give them money to buy guns and make war.

      Buh-bye Target.


      Jan 15, 2015 at 2:35pm

      To think that they destroyed some awesome Zellers stores, that had been part of communities across the country for decades, all because they mistook low, low prices for brand loyalty. Zellers was the store for people with lower incomes and especially those on CPP. They had everything you could want and some even had old-fashioned store cafeterias. I'm glad Target is suffering.

      Not A Customer.

      Jan 15, 2015 at 5:24pm

      People Were Disappointed As They Expected The Same Prices As The US Stores. I Never Shopped At Target As I Found People Were Complaining That The Selves Were Never Stocked And Were Always Empty. BYE BYE Target.


      Jan 15, 2015 at 8:03pm

      I hope this becomes a trend moving away from big box stores and towards small locally-owned stores -- like we had 50 years ago.

      Kevin B

      Jan 15, 2015 at 8:18pm

      I gave them three chances,and tried two locations. They had minimal stock levels and the prices were not that great. I miss Zellers, they had a better product selection and better prices. The Zellers Skillet Restaurant was a tradition with good coffee (refills), good soup and sandwiches, even proper milkshakes.It was a mistake to close the Zellers brand which was a Canadian icon.


      Jan 16, 2015 at 12:11am

      Who cares about target or Walmart....and as for new stores to come to Canada ,don't bring FOOD we have enough food stores....we have loblaws and their affiliates ,sobeys and others......


      Jan 16, 2015 at 7:44am

      I am so glad they are leaving Canada! I am fed up with people supporting U.S. retailers.
      sellers, as others have mentioned, filled a niche for seniors with reasonable prices, helpful sales staff and a cafeteria in Richmond store at least that served reasonably priced food. I visited Target once in N. Delta - my first and only time!

      Snooze Button

      Jan 17, 2015 at 12:09am

      So I wonder what they are saying in the boardroom at Nostrum. They are opening their Vancouver store in a location where famous two retailers have already failed. Are they having second thoughts? I would be surprised if they aren't.

      They may taking a big haircut soon. Their chance of success is about 5%.


      Jan 18, 2015 at 11:32am

      I guess I'm not on the opinion of the majority here. I liked our Target store. Friendly staff, good prices (sorry but I compared and their groceries were the same or lower priced than walmart, and better quality) Good selection of mens that wasn't 'Joe or George' (fallapart junk) Their store brand Beaver Canoe was made by Roots. Where they failed I think was the first impression (by the commenters here) who went in once, saw empty shelves and never went back. If you are a regular customer there like I am, you'd of noticed the huge changes in the last few months. Our Zellers location was a decrepit pit of a store with half the lights burnt out, leaking roofs with buckets in the isles to catch the water, and isles cluttered with skids of junk so you couldn't even get down the isles, and 1990's era stock in their electronics department still sitting at full price with a 1/4 inch of dust on it. Target was clean, organized, and had higher quality products than Zellers, with staff that were actually helpful and seemed to care. Some of these comments are delusional, or remembering Zellers from the mid 80's when it was a decent store. As for Walmart taking over the location...I hope so. It's better than nothing despite their stores looking like low class warehouses. I think removing the cafe's Zellers had was a mistake because it drew customers into the store. The Starbucks didn't have that draw. They also should not have closed for half a year renovating, where most of their customers ended up having to shop somewhere else, and then never came back to those locations.