Majority of Canadians say ‘good riddance’ to Target

ABOVE: Bargain hunters face pre-dawn cold for Target liquidation sales

Most Canadians feel Target Canada pulled up stakes too soon and could have turned its fortunes around. But less than a third say they’re upset to see the embattled retailer depart following a dismal two years here.

New poll figures published Thursday by Ipsos Reid for Global News find that just under one in three respondents (31 per cent) felt at least somewhat “upset” the department store chain was closing its network of 133 locations (see chart below).

Perhaps not surprisingly, younger shoppers (aged 18-34) were most ruffled, with 40 per cent in that cohort saying they were either “somewhat” or “strongly” upset by the chic-for-cheap discount department store’s decision to close. Target counts younger shoppers such as new mothers and fashion-conscious but cash-strapped teens as core customers in the United States.

On net though, the balance of opinion showed Canadians are largely indifferent. Seven in 10 disagreed when asked if they were distressed by Target’s retreat.

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MORE: Shoppers see few bargains at Target Canada liquidation sales

“Target’s short-lived existence in Canada was largely a case of unmet expectations, with higher prices and poor availability of stock among other problems,” Sean Simpson, Ipsos Reid vice-president, said.

“It’s not surprising that, having been let down, more than two thirds of Canadians shrugged their shoulders and said, ‘Well, see you later. I’m not too upset about it.’”

Too soon?

Still, it appears most Canadians would have given Target more time to turn things around, believing the retailer would pull its act together eventually. More than half agreed with that sentiment (53 per cent).

“I think it came as a bit of a shock to people they just up and left. Canadians probably feel a little bit let down about that, as well. There’s probably a sense of ‘We’re not worth it?’” Simpson said.

Target said last month based on current projections its Canadian stores wouldn’t become profitable for another six years – a damning testament to how badly the chain botched its rollout, with low traffic levels low across the chain.

Atlantic Canadians were most likely to believe Target could have been successful, with 66 per cent of respondents agreeing with that sentiment. Most provinces, including Ontario (50 per cent), Alberta (48) and British Columbia (55), were split.

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“One half of Canadians agree that Target could have turned it around and been successful in Canada, ultimately believing that its exit from Canada is premature,” Simpson said.

“On one hand, it’s too bad. But on the other, it’s good riddance. If you didn’t want to put in the effort, see you later.”

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The Ipsos-Reid poll was conducted between Jan. 29 and Feb. 3, with 1,003 adults. The poll is accurate within 3.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

The data, summaries and commentary in exclusive Global News / Ipsos Reid polling are subject to copyright. The data, summaries and commentary may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper attribution to both Global News and Ipsos Reid in all web articles, on social media, in radio broadcasts and with an on-screen credit for television.