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February 06 2015

Target Liquidation Sale: Shop Now or Later?

By Elaine Jair

Since Target's liquidation was announced, the burning question in everybody's mind was undoubtedly how good the clearance sale was going to be.

Liquidation officially began yesterday (February 5) and I ventured to my local Target to check out the sale in pursuit of the answer to that question. Upon arriving, I already noticed a stark difference in traffic. I had previously visited the same Target the day before, just to see if there was anything that caught my eye. The parking lot was pretty much empty, with roughly 15 cars or so. Inside the store, it was even emptier, with a handful of shoppers and less than 5 staff members walking around. Once liquidation began, that all changed.

There were no more empty spots in the parking lot and I could see a continuous stream of people entering the store, despite it being close to 8 PM. Once inside, the first thing I noticed was the huge line-ups at checkout -- everyone was pushing carts full of stuff and there were even more people walking around. So I thought to myself that the deals must be somewhat decent if everyone was buying something.

Let's just say that's not exactly the case.

First off, everything is up to 30% off. After perusing the entire store, I can safely say that at the moment, most items are a disappointing 10 to 20% off. Here are the discounts that I took note of:

  • Tablets (Samsung, Apple, e-Readers) - 5% off
  • Headphones - 10% off
  • Movies - 20% off
  • Toys - 20% off
  • Video Games - 10% off
  • Sporting Goods - 20% off
  • Valentine's Day & Easter decor and chocolates - 20% off
  • Stationary - 20% off
  • Grocery Items - 10% off
  • Cushions - 20% off
  • Cosmetics - 30% off
  • Greeting Cards/Gift Wrap - 30% off
  • Skincare and Hair Dye - 10% off
  • Fashion Accessories - 30% off
  • Clothes - 20% off
  • Bedding - 10% off
  • Baby - 10% off

So should you make the trip to Target right now? If you're looking to purchase video games or Target-exclusive merchandise, you will want to shop now rather than later. When I visited Target the previous day, everything was pretty well-stocked. By the time I went last night, the video game section (especially the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U games) was pretty much picked clean and all the Beaver Canoe items were quickly swiped off the shelves. Ladies, you'll really need to high-tail it to the cosmetics department, as those items were also being cleared out pretty fast (which isn't surprising, as that was where some of the better deals were). I'd also suggest stocking up on some Valentine's Day decor and chocolates now as well, since they generally won't be on sale at other retailers until after February 14. Similarly, greeting cards are a great deal now as well, especially since brands like Papyrus rarely ever go on sale and they are now available for 30% off.

In conclusion, aside from the aforementioned items, I'd suggest waiting to see if the discounts will increase. Liquidation has just started and is expected to run through May 15, so there's still quite a bit of time for prices to drop even more. Of course, whether or not you want to shop now would ultimately depend on how badly you want a particular item. You could wait around for a better deal, but gauging by how many people were shopping and will be shopping over the weekend, there's a chance the item could sell out before it even reaches that point.

Looking for more clearance information? Make sure to check out the Target Clearance Deals forum here.

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February 04 2015

Target Liquidation Sales to Start Thursday, February 5!

By Elaine Jair

We've been anxiously awaiting this moment -- it has just been confirmed that Target's liquidation will start on Thursday, February 5! Liquidation is expected to end by May 15, but since some stores will be closing earlier than others, some locations will end liquidation as early as the end of March. Apparently, merchandise will be discounted by up to 30% off, which we're sure is a bit disappointing to some. However, if you've eyeing some regular priced items that rarely go on sale, this is probably a good offer for you.

With the recent influx of customers seeking liquidation deals throughout the past two weeks, we wouldn't be surprised if stock levels are waning. In fact, a Target spokesperson even specified that many Targets no longer carry perishables such as milk, eggs and frozen foods. In that case, those of you who are planning on shopping the liquidation sale will want to shop earlier rather than later!

Be sure to check RFD's Target Clearance thread for the deals at your local Target!

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January 27 2015

Uniqlo to Open Two Flagship Stores in Toronto in Fall 2016!

By Elaine Jair

With the recent rush of retailers exiting the Canadian market (Target, Sony, Mexx, and Jacob, just to name a few), you'd think that the retail industry in Canada would be looking rather grim. However, popular Japanese clothing retailer, Uniqlo, is looking to buck that trend by announcing their plans to enter the Canadian market!

Rumours have been circulating about the impending arrival of Uniqlo and we've finally received some confirmation from the company. That's right -- Uniqlo has just announced that they have two flagship locations in Toronto slotted to open in the fall of 2016; one location will be at the Toronto Eaton Centre and one at Yorkdale Shopping Centre. With roughly 1,500 stores around the world, it's about time that Uniqlo has finally decided to expand to Canada. Not to mention, they're making sure you'll notice their arrival as these two planned stores will be pretty big; the Eaton Centre Uniqlo location measures 28,000 square feet, while the Yorkdale location measures 24,000 square feet.

For those of you who have shopped at Uniqlo locations before, you'll know that they sell everything from pants to tops to underpants to socks and more. Instead of following trends, Uniqlo designs fashionable basics that can be incorporated into anyone's wardrobe. Styles are typically priced at around $6 to $130 USD, which positions this retailer in direct competition with H&M and American Apparel.

As mentioned, these stores are planning to open in the fall of 2016, so there's still a bit of waiting, but the retailer is also already looking to recruit in Canada. Use #UniqloCanada on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, plus keep an eye out on RFD for more information!

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January 24 2015

Target Liquidation Sales

By Kate Musgrove

Update (February 2): We've got new updates on the start date for Target's liquidation! Word is that Target is looking to present a motion to the court on Wednesday, February 4, which seeks the approval of the court to appoint a joint venture of liquidation companies to sell off the inventory across the 133 Target locations. If this motion is approved, then Target's liquidation will start on Thursday, February 5! In fact, leaked internal company emails are already stating that 'Thursday will be like Black Friday', which suggests huge price drops. Of course, liquidators will be solely responsible for all the pricing decisions, so we'll have to wait and see if the deals will be as good as they claim.

Original Post:

From the very first announcement that it was discontinuing all operations in Canada, Target has said that liquidation could be expected in “two or three weeks”. One week later, prices haven’t started dropping yet, but we’re expecting that sales will begin soon. What are we basing that on? Well, we’ve heard rumors that the flyer that starts today (January 23) is the last scheduled flyer and liquidation will start when the flyer ends – January 30. Already, all Starbucks Target locations have closed with the employees being reassigned to other areas of the store.

Overall, despite the fact that the liquidation sales haven’t started, sales are actually up at Target – a result of shoppers looking for early liquidation-level pricing and perhaps people who hadn’t ever been to Target and want to check it out before they shut down.

Currently Canadians are holding a total of $7 million in unused Target Canada gift cards. Target Canada gift cards have never been accepted in US Target locations and Target has indicated they won’t alter that policy, so once Target Canada shuts down, the gift cards will hold no value. So if you’ve got a Target Canada gift card, you’ll want to spend it sooner rather than later. Keep an eye on RFD for news and updates on liquidation sales at Target Canada.

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January 21 2015

Resources for Target Canada Workers

By Kate Musgrove

While Target’s retreat from the Canadian market was sudden, it wasn’t surprising, as opening in Canada had cost Target about $7 billion and they weren’t on track to make a profit until 2021. It was surprising to read, though, when they filed for bankruptcy protection on January 15 that it wouldn’t have been able to make payroll on January 16 otherwise. If you’re one of the nearly 18,000 workers affected by these layoffs, here are some quick links that might be helpful:

We hope that more Canadian employers will make efforts to reach out to Target employees, and if you know of any offers of help or employment opportunities, leave a comment and let us know, and we'll add it to our list.

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January 15 2015

Target Exits Canada For Good -- Less Than Two Years After Launch!

By Kate Musgrove

Although Target started laying the groundwork for a Canadian presence back in 2011 (by acquiring the leases of 189 Zeller locations from HBC), the first store didn’t open until March 2013. Now, less than two years later, Target has obtained creditor protection and will begin winding down its Canadian businesses. All 133 locations will be closed, although it's not clear at the moment what the closure timeline will be like. While they have stated that "nearly all" employees will receive a minimum of 16 weeks of wages, this is still very sad news for the 17,600 employees.

While it was clear the company was struggling after a bumpy start, the complete and total closure of all stores does come as a surprise to many. New Target locations were opened as recently as a few months ago. Target reports that it considered closing low-performing stores, exiting select provinces, changing distribution and many other corrective options but they were ultimately unable to find a way to reach profitability before the year 2021.

What went wrong? For one, the Canadian launch included over 100 stores -- an absolutely huge number of retail locations to open at once. (By comparison, The Bay has a total of 90 locations in Canada.) Canadian shoppers that enjoyed the US Target experience were frustrated by higher prices, and the Canadian dollar increased from parity with USD at the beginning of 2013 to 93 cents by the end of the same year which only led to greater dissatisfaction in the difference in prices. In the first year, Target lost $1 billion and their losses overall were $1.5 billion and the chain continued to lose money daily.

On December 29, 2014, forum user winner2000 created a poll asking "Will Target say bye bye to Canada in 2015?" You can talk about the closure in that thread -- and, of course, you'll want to stay tuned for liquidation deals.

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November 19 2014

Hot Holiday Gadgets for 2014

By Kate Musgrove

Almost everyone has someone on their holiday shopping list that would love the latest and greatest gadget – the question is, what are the latest and greatest gadgets? Here’s a look at the top three things we’ve been hearing about:

Wearables: this category includes everything from the FitBit-style activity trackers and smart watches to the much-hyped Google Glass. Unfortunately, the high-end of wearable tech is a bit out of reach – Google Glass is available to US shipping addresses only (and costs $1500 USD) while the Apple Watch still doesn’t have a firm release date. Apple has only said it will be early 2015. So if your gift recipient is set on the Apple Watch, you’ll have to make do with an IOU!

Drones: Really! Drones have a surprising number of real-life uses, especially when they’re equipped with photo/video capabilities. Then you can do everything from taking a photo of a large group, grabbing the best pics at your kid’s soccer game and getting previously-impossible nature and wildlife shots. Pricier drones with come equipped with the ability to livestream to your phone, which is pretty darn cool.

Smartphones: Phones are getting lighter, thinner and more advanced every day. And while the recent trend seems to be bigger, rather than smaller phones (we’re looking at you, iPhone 6), the point is that the huge advances made mean that a lot of people are interested in the latest models. And while you can get a cheap tablet for $99, the latest and greatest smartphone will run you more like $400-$700. Which is all the more reason to ask for one as a gift!

There are a few things that aren’t on the list. For one, tablets! It seems like everyone and their grandmother has one already. And like we said above, in general, prices are dropping on them. And while last year was huge for the PS4 and Xbox One (both released in mid-November 2013), it’s likely that a lot of people who want one already have one. On the other hand, there was a pretty limited selection of games available for each console at launch, but tons of great games have come out lately and both consoles have had price-drops. So it could be another console Christmas after all.

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November 17 2014

Holiday Shopping Survival Tips

By Kate Musgrove

The holidays are a whole lot of fun – there are parties, snacks, presents, and tons of merriment. There’s absolutely no downside! Unless, of course, you have to go to the mall. The mall can be hot, crowded and unpleasant this time of year, but have no fear – we’ve got some pro shopping tips for you.

Layer up: in our completely (un)scientific opinion, the mall runs about 65 degrees Celsius all winter. So if you’re headed in to shop, dress in light, easy-to-remove layers. And if you drive there, consider leaving your winter coat in the car.

Go against the flow: going to the mall on Saturday or Sunday means crowds, crowds, crowds. If you can, try to hit the mall before regular work hours for more convenient parking, less people – and the first crack at the newly restocked shelves. Many malls across Canada have extended hours during the holiday season, check this page to see if yours does.

Good things come to those who wait: for friends or relatives you won’t see until after the holidays, consider holding off on shopping for their gifts. Yes, if you go to the mall on Boxing Day it will be hot, crowded and unpleasant, but just think of the money you can save! Or, you can do the very smartest thing and…

Shop online: it’s convenient, it’s comfortable, and you’re allowed to bring your own snacks. If you do have to shop in-store for anything, try to get as much done as you can before you leave the house: price-compare and research, at least, and order and pay (for in-store pickup) if possible.

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October 21 2014

Quick Black Friday Tips

By Kate Musgrove

For years, Boxing Day dominated the retail scene in Canada. But each year since about 2010, Black Friday has grown (and grown… grown). This holiday was originally an American tradition, with retailers using the date to kick off the holiday shopping season with big sales and deep discounts. Black Friday is always the day after American Thanksgiving but Canadians haven’t seemed to let the fact that we celebrate Thanksgiving about six weeks earlier stop us from taking part.

If you haven’t shopped Black Friday before, here are a few tips:

  • Online Black Friday sales will typically start the instant the clock ticks from Thursday to Friday –12:01 AM – so grab a cup of coffee after work to stay up.
  • If there’s a site you think you’ll want to shop at, be sure to set up an account with updated shipping and payment information in advance. If there are only a few of your most coveted item in stock, you don’t want someone else to snap up the last one while you’re painstakingly entering your Visa number.
  • RedFlagDeals.com will typically have flyers from retailers as much as a week before the sale starts, so keep an eye on the flyers section and you’ll have a huge leg up on your shopping.

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October 21 2014

Secret Santa Gift Ideas

By Kate Musgrove

It’s coming up on that time of year – you’re buying presents for your very nearest and dearest family and friends… and that one weird guy at the office. For reasons we can’t completely figure out, offices often hold a random draw gift exchange which means that in addition to buying gifts for the people you love, you’re also buying a gift for someone you don’t know (or worse – someone you know but you don’t like!). Here are a few Secret Santa shopping tips to help you out:

Boss: buying presents for your boss can be awkward. If you give an extravagant gift you may look like you are currying favour. Pick something small but meaningful instead – a framed photo from a work event, or some homemade sweets to share.

Complete Stranger: keep an eye on their desk for clues. For example, if they are never far from their coffee, you could do something like a mug, a coffee shop gift certificate or even some gourmet coffee beans. If their desk is covered with photos of their kids, you might give them a board game they can play as a family.

Office Nemesis: a forced gift exchange is a great time to kill with kindness – even though the temptation to give them a Dating for Dummies book or an introductory Weight Watchers membership may be there, a thoughtful holiday gift could go a long way to bridging this gap.

Intern: typically, interns aren’t well-paid. This is definitely the time to skip a gag gift and give something genuinely useful, like a gift card for a store you’re sure they’ll like or a pair of movie passes.

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