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Despite initial buzz, Target faces retail challenges in Canada

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Target Corp.’s push into Canada is in high gear, with four dozen stores now open since March.

The retail giant’s first venture outside the U.S. has gone well for the most part, but the Star Tribune says some analysts and shoppers complain about selection and price.

A Target executive admits that the company has underestimated inventory at some stores.

“That has been the biggest challenge so far,” John Morioka, Target Canada’s senior vice president of merchandising, told the newspaper. “There has been no accurate history to plan for our sales.”

The Star Tribune notes Target has also struggled with inventory in the U.S., including strong demand for its Missoni fashion line and the lack thereof for the Neiman Marcus collection.

Many Canadian shoppers who have visited Target stores in the United States also assumed they would see the same prices in Canada, but merchandise is typically more expensive north of the border.

Last week, Target reported that the 24 stores it opened in March generated sales of $86 million.

Target plans to open 124 stores across Canada this year.

Each Canadian store, formerly Zellers locations, has undergone multimillion dollar renovations. Watch the transformation below:

Meanwhile, Target is using social media and Spanish-language ads to step up its marketing to the growing Latino population, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

"We are going to source dominant presentations of Latino and Hispanic merchandise through the entire store," Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel told MPR. "It's a big effort that we have internally to really stretch ourselves and jump way out in front."

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