Toronto – November 3, 2014 – The newly appointed leaders of Target in the United States and Canada continue to be smug about the company’s failed venture into Canada. Rather than addressing serious concerns, such as the lack of secure employment in the retailer’s Canadian stores, Target executives vow to stay the course on a ship that’s leaking, if not sinking.
After Target’s Canadian operation lost nearly $1 billion (US) last year, the American retail giant unceremoniously fired the president of Target Canada, while the company’s CEO Gregg Steinhafel abruptly resigned. Yet, the new CEO, Brian Cornell, says that the company will simply continue to unroll the same strategy in Canada as it uses in the United States. This is despite the fact that customers and industry watchers alike continue to be baffled by empty shelves in most Target stores in Canada.
Mark Schindele, the newly minted president of Target Canada, appears to be equally unaware of the problem at hand. While admitting that “we’re still stumbling”, Schindele believes the solution is burdening Target hourly associates with even more duties and responsibilities – but without improvements to wages and benefits. Target associates in Canada continue to be denied enough hours to make ends meet, full-time jobs are few and far between, and pay rates continue to hover around minimum wage.
Instead of building good jobs for Canadian workers, Target remains steadfast in blaming their own employees for the bad decisions made by American executives. Even Target’s leadership seems to know their strategy fails to address the reality in Canada. Referring to Target’s decision in 2012 to open no less than 130 stores in Canada, while failing to honour the jobs of thousands of former Zellers employees, as well as terminating the jobs of hundreds of Target associates within a few months of opening, Cornell says: “I think we should have done it at a slower pace”. Still, the CEO refuses to hire even a non-executive chairperson with Canadian experience.
For his part, Schindele has vowed that Canadians will notice improvements that are “measurably better in the fall”. So, now that autumn is upon us, do you think Target is better now in Canada? Post your comment at facebook.com/ufcwcanada.