Target tries mea culpa approach

Releases video acknowledging its shortcomings, promises better things ahead for Canadian customers

Rebecca Harris June 18, 2014

Target Canada has released a video acknowledging its shortcomings and promising a better shopping experience for Canadians.

In a two-and-a-half minute video posted on YouTube, Target employees speak frankly about the challenges of the past year, admitting the company didn’t put its best foot forward when it expanded into Canada last year.

“We had some disappointments when we opened. Certainly we think we’ve disappointed our guests,” said Damien Liddle, senior corporate counsel, in the video. “But… we’re working really hard to give everybody that unique Target experience.”

Lisa Gibson, head of PR for Target Canada, said the unscripted video was originally created for internal purposes. “We had really good response from the team members, so then we thought it was worth sharing with others… It was a great way to reinforce our commitment to Canada and be really transparent.”

Target Canada, which now operates 127 stores, has lost more than US$1 billion since it expanded into this country. The retailer has been plagued by inventory problems and consumer complaints over high prices. In May, Target fired the president of its Canadian operations, Tony Fisher.  He was replaced by Mark Schindele, who was senior VP of merchandising operations.

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In the video, the employees talk specifically about how Target is improving, including getting new systems and doing more research to better understand its guests.

“[The video] acknowledges that we know we let guests down when we first opened [our] doors,” said Gibson. “And so everyone is working hard to fix things and make it right and give our guests a much better experience.”

What do you think of Target’s mea culpa? Will Canadians give Target a second chance? Post your thoughts in our comments section below.