Target trying to woo back Canadian consumers with video apology
Brian Beeksma pushes a cart of goods as employees work on preparing the new Target store in Guelph, Ontario. (Dave Chidley / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Emily Chan, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Tuesday, June 17, 2014 6:18PM EDT
Target has taken to YouTube in order to apologize to Canadians, using the voices of its employees to take responsibility for a disappointing first year in the country.
The two-and-a-half-minute video features interviews with Target employees reflecting on the problems the company has faced and promising improvement in the future. The interview clips are played over montages of brightly-lit, well-organized stores.
“We had a really challenging first year and things didn’t turn out exactly the way that we thought they would,” Arlene Stratton, a senior buyer at Target, says in the video, which was posted last week.
“But we’re listening to the guests and making great changes.”
Since venturing into the Canadian market in March 2013, the company has been plagued by supply-chain problems that led to empty shelves and profits far below projections. The company has also faced criticism from Canadians who say that the 127 Canadian stores and prices have failed to live up to the standards set by their American counterparts.
The video specifically mentions the problems Target faced keeping Canadian shelves stocked. “The biggest problems we’ve faced I think have been with our systems and how that’s affected our ability to get inventory to our stores,” says an employee.
Last month, Target fired Tony Fisher, the president of Canadian operations, and brought in Mark Schindale, who used to be senior vice-president of merchandising operations at the company.
The employees in the video are honest in saying the company has faced challenges, but the video is promotionalin nature, advertising improvements and changes.
“We are committed to Canadians,” Beverly Altberg, director of merchandising operations, says in the video.
Whether Canadians believe the message -- or are even listening -- is unclear. As of Tuesday afternoon, a week after it was posted, the video has only 7,000 views and the comments from Canadian consumers are mixed.
“I expected more from Target. So far Target is the biggest retail failure Canada has ever seen,” one shopper commented.
“What you guys need to understand is that coming here, there was no gap/niche for you to fill, unlike the U.S. where wealthy people needed a more upscale chain of discount superstores,” wrote another.
In the U.S., the company has nearly 1,800 stores.
But operations south of the border have also been plagued by problems in recent months, including a widespread data breach that saw the personal information of 70 million customers compromised.
The company’s CEO and CIO both stepped down in the wake of that security scare.