Friday, January 22, 2010

Target Targetting Canada

     When I walked into the kitchen this morning, Cameron waved the newspaper at me and said, "Target is coming to Canada!" While he is not in the throes of a red cart romance, he knows I am. My love for Target has grown over 9 years of work-related cross-border trips to Buffalo and plenty of high-speed marathon shopping events at the red retailer.
      According to the Toronto Star article, as part of Target's international (a global red cart romance? Oh yes!) expansion, they plan to be in Canada in 3 years' time. Originally it was thought they'd buy and take over Zellers, but that didn't happen. Much as I appreciate Zellers for having provided me with my first H.R. job and my husband (how's that for an H.R. faux pas - fishing off the company pier!), as a retailer, they are so behind the times. Lousy selection and not the greatest pricing. Wal-Mart is great for basics and has cheap prices, but it just doesn't compare to Target, which is in a league of it's own.
     I love Target because it is upscale cheap chic. Their buyers are just as cutting-edge as upscale retailers, and realizing consumers want current, trendy, and stylish products at a lower price, they strive to not just satisfy them, but to wow them.
     When I visit Target, I take a two-pronged approach. I have a mental shopping list of specifics to buy, but I focus primarily on tuning my radar to fabulous items and deals. First stop is always the ladies' fashions. Usually, there is a rack of "guest designer" clothes, a collection made by a designer specifically for Target, and is only there for about a month. This is a similar strategy to H&M's approach. For example, last year there was a line of clothes in Target, designed by Proenza Schoeler.
     The clearance rack is also pretty good. I bought a long-sleeved t-shirt for $2.00 last year to wear on a ski trip. I've also had luck with the Merona line of classic clothes, always good for business-wear. The Isaac Mizrahi fashions are hit and miss for me, but his shoes are quite good and my white Mizrahi wallet has received many compliments. I've also had great luck with the Gilligan & O'Malley line of bras. For example, I recently bought a nursing bra for $14.00, while normally one of those would set you back at least $30.00 anywhere else.
     Around the store I continue. The cosmetics department is fantastic. Sonia Kashuk, Boots No. 7, and Pixi are some of the interesting lines they carry, in addition to the usual drugstore-brand suspects. On to the shoe department for inexpensive, stylish pumps and flats. Last year I bought Austin a pair of Crocs knock-offs for $3.00.
     Kids' clothes are pretty good, but I usually buy used for my shorties. I've not really examined the mens' department (sorry Cam!) and while the Liz Lange maternity clothes were quite attractive to me last year, I'd already built my maternity wardrobe and resisted the urge to buy more.
     On to the hard goods, where I spend most of my time in the home goods aisles. Hotel quality (high thread count) sheet sets for crazy cheap prices. Nice blinds and drapes. Seasonal table-wear to lose your mind over without blowing your budget. Small appliances (like a programmable Crockpot for for $19.99.) Home decor items that are current and stylish. All the time I'm doing the math and figuring out how much is reasonable to bring through Customs. (side note: I declare everything. Never, ever, ever, lie to Customs. Right, Cam?)
     A little browsing in the food aisles (great variety of coffees and the store brand, Archer Farms is darn good) for brands and items not available in Canada. Final stop is usually in the pharmacy area. Here is where I'll find Target brand items that are only available as name-brand in Canada. I scored an infra-red ear thermometer last Fall for $19.99 under the Target brand, when all I could find in Canada were name-brand ones for upwards of $70.00. I've also been known to buy store-brand "family planning" items like ovulation kits, pregnancy tests, and KY. Last but not least, I pick up Tom's of Maine deodorant at half the price than charged at home, and salon brand hair products about 1/3 cheaper.
     Another way to shop Target is online, where they have an even broader range of products, especially in the home furnishings area. What's great is consumers post reviews of products they've bought or tried. Target shoppers are a loyal bunch and are happy to take the time to review products. What I've done is researched items in advance, and then bought them at the store in-person.
     Since I can't shop Target as regularly as I like, I don't consider myself an expert. More of a cross-border Target admirer. There are, however, a number of blogs dedicated to this rabid love for Target that its loyal shoppers have. My favourite is Slave To Target, which was the first to coin the phrase "red cart romance", that pretty much sums up my sentiments towards this amazing, fun, cheap chic retailer.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a Meijer gal, myself (you've won't have found them in Buffalo - they're strictly Mid-West, I think) but they don't do clothing. GREAT for grocery, pharma and small gadgets...but yep, for clothing and home goods, particularly of the 'affordable luxe' type, Target (please always to pronounce it 'Tar-zZHAY' avec un bon accent francais...heh) is great.

    And now you won't have the bother of declaring all the loot at the border, LOL! Vive la romance du chariot rouge! (Yeah, I think that lost a little something in translation. Maybe because the translation itself was bad, y'think?)