Blogs & Comment

Target can’t even go out of business right

Canadian bargain hunters deliver one last kick as the retailer heads for the exit

Shopper in front of Target location displaying sale signs

A shopper walks past a Toronto-area Target advertising its liquidation sale on February 5, 2015. (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)

Poor Target. From the very first step it took on Canadian soil, it was dogged by impossibly high expectations. Now that it’s heading for the exit, Canadian shoppers are adding insult to injury by complaining that its going-out-of-business sale isn’t providing deep enough discounts.

Our colleagues at MoneySense found shoppers underwhelmed by what is on offer at liquidating Target stores:

“It’s not really a good deal,” said a father of two boys as he examined the 20% off Lego toys (he chose not to be named). “Not when you compare the prices to Toys’R’Us.” But when asked if he would wait before buying he quickly shakes his head. “If I wait until it’s 30% off there won’t be any left.” Given that half the shelves that stock Lego are already empty, he may have a point.

Other shoppers in the toy aisles were similarly unimpressed. “It’s not really a deal,” said another dad (who also didn’t want to share his name), “actually it’s quite underwhelming.”

And here’s the Canadian Press story finding much the same phenomenon:

Bargain hunters who expected to unearth major deals at their local Target stores on Thursday, the first day of its liquidation sale, were sure to be disappointed once they got a look at the prices.

Store signs that promised discounts of up to 30 per cent yielded to shelves with price cuts mostly in the 10 to 20 per cent range.

“I’m not super impressed, really,” said Paul Boychuk, who walked into a Toronto Target store expecting better savings.

The elusive deeper discounts quickly became a conversation piece for customers who roamed the store aisles, discussing the savings, or lack of them, on their mobile phones.

MoneySense did find some deals, with categories like cosmetics, carpets and camping equipment showing the biggest price cuts. But even these are underwhelming, topping out at just 30%. Still, Target may be starting slow. With the final stores closing in May, there are still months to go during which prices will likely drop further. For bargain-hunting consumers, the trick will be waiting long enough to get the price they want without waiting so long that the shelves are bare (although some of the shelves started out that way).

As they reliably do these days, disappointed shoppers took to social media to air their complaints:

Which winds up reinforcing the narrative of Target’s tragic hubris: