Shoppers at Target Canada locations over the weekend may have gone in expecting big sales, but it was business as usual for the retailer as they prepare to close all 133 stores nationwide.
Though no formal announcement has been made, Target Canada has been informing customers via social media that that the close-up process will begin soon, and could last for months.
“We expect that the liquidation process will begin in approximately 2-3 weeks,” tweeted Target Canada Monday morning. “Stores will remain open on a case-by-case basis during the liquidation period. On average, this process may take 16-20 weeks.”
Inside the Target store at Richmond’s Lansdowne Centre Saturday morning, “business as usual” meant a fairly empty parking lot and store. Though there was merchandise on sale, it was mostly clothing and toys marked down as part of routine post-holidays clearance. Yellow tags proclaiming “New lower price” fluttered across several shelves.
A sales associate at the store expressed sadness at the news the company was ending all Canadian operations, and explained that the store was waiting for further instructions from Target Canada for the liquidation process. She and other sales associates mentioned how busy the stores had been since the news of closing broke. “Where were all those people before?” lamented the cashier.
The employees of Target in Richmond are just a few of the nearly 18,000 employed by the company who will be out of work in the coming months. Target’s Canadian closure is creating “one of the biggest layoffs in Canadian history,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
Sears Canada has already indicated they would help bring on former Target employees whenever possible, and are directing workers to their hiring website and urging them to attend special career fairs around the country. The retailer, which has also been going through hard times, has initiated a special discount for Target employees.
Walmart has similarly said they welcome former Target employees to apply with their company, reports the Toronto Star.
When it comes to the 133 retail locations that will soon be vacated around Canada, Walmart is one of the top names being tossed around by analysts as a likely contender to take over some of the leases.
Other theories include retailers or grocers like Loblaw, Canadian Tire, Costco, Lowe’s, Rona, or Sobeys, or even other U.S. chains like Kohl’s or Dick’s Sporting Goods, according to the CBC.
Many Target Canada locations were “anchor” stores, some multi-level, in shopping centres. The proximity of the vacant stores to existing retailers considered candidates for moving in will play a major role in determining who can fill Target’s shoes.