Target Corporations bridge borders this month after Canada’s Zellers chain of retail stores waved the white flag, giving way to the major U.S. department store. Up until this spring, Canadians prided themselves on nabbing steals across the border from the stylish retail giant, best know to fashionable shoppers for their designer collaborations with industry names including Jason Wu, who’s brand power attracted crowds to a Target Canada pop-up erected for the soft launch last February in Toronto.
Though perhaps not as novel as it once was to Canadians, we suspect local posts will not deter shoppers from lining up for items from the retailer’s latest collaboration with celebrity stylist Kate Young should it arrive on our native soil. The fashion savvy behind red carpet queens Natalie Portman and Michelle Williams amongst others, Young’s line of semiformal and formal wear for Target, which includes apparel and accessories, launches mid-April, just in time for the prom rush.
Other collaborations planned for the spring include some demonstrations of local love that may just put Canadian brands on U.S shoppers’ radars. From partnering up with Grammy Award-winning crooner Michael Bublé (see the Deluxe Edition of To Be Loved album featuring exclusive bonus tracks in the music section come April 23rd) to the Be Delectable by CAKE Beauty line (an all-natural body care product line based out of Toronto) to offering shoppers the limited edition Roots Outfitters vintage-inspired fashion collection for women, men, boys, girls and toddlers (available until June), Target has evidently fully embraced its new home.
Target Canada is popping up in Toronto and surrounding areas this month with some locations already open. Calgary and Vancouver are set to open their doors Summer 2013, while dearest Montreal will have to wait until Fall 2013 for the company to open its doors there.
Curious to hear what Canadians make of Target’s hop across the border, we ask some of our industry friends to share their opinion on Target’s move to Canada, and saying buh-bye to ol’ Zellers.
Q: Now that there’s no longer a sense of “exclusivity” to shopping at Target without the need to cross the border, has the thought of shopping there lost some appeal in your mind or is the appeal the same as before?
JESSICA JENSEN (J.J), HANDBAG DESGINER:
I’m not sure that’s a factor. Everyone thought the appeal would be lost with other U.S. and international brands entering the Canadian market, including J. Crew, H&M, Zara and TopShop. If anything, the accessibility to the retailer is simply more of a temptation when it’s available at your doorstep.
CAROLE TANENBAUM (C.T), VINTAGE COSTUME JEWELRY COLLECTOR:
In the States, Target has taken on an upscale profile. In fact, many people facetiously refer to it as ‘Target’ with a soft ‘g,’ as though it were French. As other major brands are moving to Canada, I feel Target is a good fit. Their products are carefully selected and fashion-forward. I look forward to their coming to Toronto.
SHERI STROH (S.S), MAKEUP ARTIST:
I think people are excited for Target finally arriving in Canada, but it’s true that it may lose a bit of it’s lustre due to the fact that it’s not as “exclusive” anymore. The same can be said for stores like The Gap and Old Navy. I used to love going to the States when I was a teen, was always fun coming home with stuff that nobody else had. A lot of Target’s popularity is going to depend on how the Canadian stores stack up next to the U.S. ones. I checked out the beauty department at the store in Guelph; I bought mascara because it’s super cheap and I always love the Sonia Kashuk make up brushes and hair brushes. (Very Mason Pearson at a fraction of the price!) Store is nice, looks like Zellers, but the beauty department is definitely larger with lots of products we don’t have anywhere else.
Q: Whether or not you shopped at Target in the States, on your first trip to Target Canada what will be the first item probably to go in your cart?
J.J: Either something from a designer collaboration, or baby clothes and toys for my niece and nephew.
C.T: They have a fabulous paper department; stationary and wrapping paper have always been favourites of mine.
S.S: Honestly, I used to run to the make-up and skin and hair care when I entered a Target, but now I think I’d rather just check out the home stuff (we’re doing some renovations right now), but I’ll still (or more I did) check out what they’ve brought over make-up-wise as well.
Q: As a Canadian, are you sad to see the national chain of Zellers go? Any fond/funny memories of shopping with the retailer that you can share?
J.J: I can’t say that I’m sad to see Zellers go. I frequently wondered why they didn’t restructure their stores to follow suit with Target who was a proven success story south of the border.
C.T: Although I wasn’t a Zellers customer, it’s always sad to see a long-standing Canadian business close its doors
S.S: It’s sad when a Canadian company or brand leaves us, but it happens and Zellers wasn’t even owned by a Canadian company anymore, so I think that may have lessened the blow a bit. Before Zellers, there was Towers, and that’s gone…Simpsons department store is gone. Robinson’s is gone…we’ll get over it, life and business moves on.Published March 29th, 2013