Target Canada is taking steps to expand its merchandise selections, manage in-stock availability better and offer competitive prices, as the company aims to improve business performance after disappointing fiscal results in previous quarters.
The company released first-quarter 2014 sales in May, reporting $393 million in sales at its Canadian segment—8 percent lower than analyst predictions. Yet, this year’s first-quarter sales grew significantly over Target Canada’s inaugural first-quarter sales of $86 million last year. The retailer’s U.S. segment, however, saw a sales total of $16.7 billion in first-quarter 2014.
Mark Schindele, president of Target Canada, said, “We’ve been listening to our guests and taking a hard look at where we need to improve.” He added, “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.”
As part of Target Canada’s plan to expand merchandise, the retailer has partnered with Canadian celebrity designer and HGTV host Sarah Richardson to bring a new line of home decor to market. Target Canada will begin offering the new line, featuring Richardson’s distinctive combinations of colors and patterns, in fall 2015. Additionally, the retailer said it is expanding several of its popular lines, including Beaver Canoe home decor and its exclusive partnership with Roots apparel, to meet customer requests. Stores will begin offering the U.S. women’s fashion line Nick & Nora next year.
To improve in-stock availability, Target Canada undertook a physical count of inventory at all stores. It reset its systems and garnered more accurate ordering and shipping data as a result of the review. Stores will now receive merchandise more frequently, according to the release. The company said it will use sales history and promotional plans to conduct better forecasting and allocation of products to shelves.
Target Canada also outlined its new price match policy that will allow the company to compete better with retailers in its local markets and select online retailers including amazon.ca, walmart.ca and bestbuy.ca. Customers can present another store’s print or online weekly ad, or use apps such as reebee and flipp for price matching. Additionally, they can now complete a price match at the register, rather than at the guest services counter.
“If we see a like item priced higher at Target, we’ll lower it,” Schindele said. “And with the addition of our price match guarantee, and 5 percent off every purchase with a REDcard, guests should be confident they’re getting the best price at Target.”
Target announced in 2011 that it would expand into Canada, expecting to open between 125 and 135 stores in 2013 and 2014. Target operates 130 stores in Canada as of August 1.