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Eh? Canadians not-so-hot about Target expansion

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Target Corp. arrived in Canada ready to make retail inroads with its trademark combo platter of discount prices and signature merchandise. But Canadian customers--er, make that "guests," as Target prefers to call them--have not been knocked out by the inventory or the shopping experience, according to a report in the Globe and Mail.

The Business Journal notes that Target is more than halfway to its goal of opening 124 stores in five Canadian provinces in its first foray outside of the U.S. Target opened 20 new stores across Canada just in the month of July.

A customer-satisfaction rating survey by Forum Research puts Target at the bottom of a list of retailers with a presence in Canada, below both Wal-Mart and Costco Canada. The Forum survey indicates that customers in Canada expect a better store experience. It found only 27 per cent of respondents are “very satisfied” with Target, down from 32 per cent in April. In contrast, 62 per cent are very satisfied with Costco, the same as four months earlier; 40 per cent are very satisfied with Wal-Mart, up from 39 per cent.

“There was a lot of hype before Target entered the country,” Forum president Lorne Bozinoff told the Globe and Mail. “Now that people have shopped there, I think there is a bit of a letdown.”

Target has built a supply chain specifically for Canada that includes three distribution centers. The Minneapolis-based discounter also renovated 68 stores and hired and trained thousands of employees.

On Wednesday, when Target releases its second-quarter results, it is expected to elaborate on its Canadian performance.

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