Target closing last Canadian stores in April

Published 10:21 am Thursday, April 2, 2015

Target will close the last of its 133 Canadian stores by April 12, a little more than two years after the U.S. retailer crossed the border on its first international expansion.

The company announced in January that it was giving up on the new market and didn’t see how it could stop losing money there before at least 2021. The first wave of store closures then started last month.

Costly regulations, inventory problems and customer complaints about prices were among the obstacles that hampered the Minneapolis company’s expansion. In addition, most Canadians live near the U.S. border and are willing to shop in the United States to save money. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. also cut prices to fend off Target in Canada, where Wal-Mart already is that country’s biggest retailer.

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Target executives have said they would have had to invest billions to fix the Canadian business, and this move allows them to focus more on improving U.S. operations.

The company took over old Zellers locations and began to open in March 2013 under the Target banner in Canada, which has a retail market about one-tenth the size of the United States.

Target will shed about 17,000 jobs in leaving Canada, a market where other retailers like Big Lots Inc., Best Buy Co. and Sony Corp. also have closed stores.

Target Corp. announced the Canadian store closing update Wednesday. Its shares finished at $82.09 on Wednesday and are up almost 35 percent over the past year.

Target closed its Austin store earlier this year.