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Target launches merchandising moves for Canada
August 13th, 2014
MISSISSAUGA, Ontario – Target Corp. has unveiled a number of initiatives intended to turn around its performance in Canada. The moves come in the wake of leadership changes in the Target Canada division earlier this year.
"We’ve been listening to our guests and taking a hard look at where we need to improve," said Mark Schindele, president of Target Canada. "We’ve uncovered the root cause of some of our challenges and are focused on three main areas: improving in-stocks, sharpening our pricing strategy and enhancing our merchandise assortment."
Of its various missteps in Canada, extensive out-of-stocks, which have been widely documented by photographs on the Internet, have perhaps been most puzzling to industry observers. To address them, Target will undertake the following measures:
• A physical inventory audit at all stores, to result in a reset of systems and more accurate order and shipping data.
• Better forecasting and allocation of products, based on sales history and promotional plans, to ensure that proper quantities of product are in place at the right time.
• Adjusting delivery schedules so stores receive merchandise more frequently.
• Implementing new training and processes at headquarters and among store-level staff to instill better routines and engage store-level employees.
On pricing, which has been another sore point with Canadian consumers, many of whom are well aware of Target pricing south of the border, the company has devised a new price-match policy that includes:
• Matching prices on any competing local retailer’s circular, print or online, as well as price matching against selected online retailers, including Amazon.ca, Bestbuy.ca, Toysrus.ca, Babiesrus.ca, CanadianTire.ca, Futureshop.ca and Sears.ca.
• Customers can use such apps as reebee and flip to match prices, rather than having to bring a competitor’s printed flyer.
• Price matching can be done at the checkout instead of at the customer service counter.
In addition, Target Canada is launching a host of merchandise assortment initiatives, including expanding the maternity apparel assortment by 50% and adding the Nick & Nora women’s fashion line next year. The cosmetics lineup will be expanded through an exclusive partnership with e.l.f. that involves the addition of an e.l.f. essential line. Target will also triple the space allocated to the popular NYX line in October.
In the hard home area, Target will launch an exclusive line of appliances called French Bull, followed this fall by the debut of several well-known small appliance brands, some of which have heretofore been unavailable in mass market retail. In soft home, the retailer is introducing a new line of home décor items this fall in partnership with Sarah Richardson, a well-known Canadian interior designer. In addition, Target is partnering with Roots to extend the exclusive Beaver Canoe assortment, with expanded home décor offerings and new apparel items such as sleepwear this fall.
In all, Target plans to introduce more than 30,000 new items between now and Christmas.
Schindele replaced Tony Fisher as president of Target Canada in May. He had been senior vice president of merchandising operations for Target Corp. The company also is continuing its search for a nonexecutive chairman for Canada with deep knowledge of the Canadian market, in order to ensure that the retailer’s strategies and tactics there are appropriate going forward.