HBC’s CEO explains why Target botched its Canadian launch—and why Saks will do better

HBC’s CEO explains why Target botched its Canadian launch—and why Saks will do better

In hindsight, maybe Target should have hired Richard Baker to oversee its foray into the Canadian marketplace. In an interview for the Globe, the CEO of the Hudson’s Bay Company pinpoints no fewer than nine mistakes made by the big box retailer, including not having an office and spending enormous amounts of money on leaseholds. He says he’s planning a “very low risk” approach for Saks Fifth Avenue’s north-of-the-border launch:

I’m opening up two stores, not 100-and-whatever stores. They paid $1.8-billion for leaseholds, then they paid $10-million per store to fix them up. They had no office, they had no buyers, they had no planners, they had no distribution centre, they had no POS [point-of-sale] system, they had no IT backbone. They created everything from scratch while we’re coming in very quietly opening up two stores with existing infrastructure.

Hopefully, this means shoppers will find Saks’s shelves plentifully stocked when the department store opens in spring 2016.