Home > Uncategorized > Target Canada Offers Little Christian Product

Target Canada Offers Little Christian Product

target logoIf our visit to a Toronto Target store today is any indication, Canadian Christian bookstores can breathe a sigh of relief. Target’s book and music selections don’t come close to overlapping what is referred to in the US as CBA-merchandise. We couldn’t find anything in the CD department, there was a copy of Fireproof in the DVD department (at $9.99 compared to DCC list price of $18.99) and in the book department only the two Paul Young novels and a new mass market Ted Dekker novel.

Is this good news for Canadian Christian retailers? On the one hand, it means there is currently no threat of competition as Christian retailers in the U.S. occasionally face from the book and music and video departments of Wal-Mart and Target. On the other hand, the area we were in — at the East York Town Centre — is an island of high population density on the fringes of downtown Toronto, with a multi-ethnic demographic many of whom are commuters and are unlikely to make it to east Toronto’s Christian bookstore, which is for them, a world away.

That means that if we drop our competitive posture for a minute and focus instead on the spreading of a message, that message isn’t getting out through mainstream retailers in Canada as it is in the U.S. Conversely, some will argue that with Wal-Mart Canada’s forays into religious book buying consisting mostly of Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer, Christianity is being represented by authors that some feel do not speak for all Christians.

…Target Canada has bigger fish to fry however. Admittedly in the East York location they inherited what had to be a two-level store. This left a rather random placement of merchandise, although the special lift for shopping carts adjacent to the escalators provided some entertainment. My wife observed that the contracts that Target U.S. has with designers of women’s wear and men’s wear apparently don’t extend to Canada. Those departments were smaller than expected. In the men’s department, I counted seven racks of men’s shirts and hoodies that had neither signage nor pricing on the manufacturers size tags, though the racks were obviously picked over, inferring that signage had existed for the opening and then been removed. In the food department, import and labeling guidelines required that much of the initial food offerings were sourced here, meaning there was nothing particularly new or different.  The general impression was of a rather sloppy and haphazard approach to merchandising from a retailer who should know better, but in a few weeks, we’ll visit the Ajax, Ontario store which has a more familiar Target layout.

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