What happened to Target? This lesson draws upon an explanatory article related to Target’s rapid demise in Canada and it can be used in conjunction with “Target’s Canadian retreat leaves a 20-million-square-foot hole.”

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Entrepreneurship, business management, opportunity identification, marketing, economics, location

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What mistakes did Target make in its efforts to enter the Canadian market?
Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

This lesson explores how overly-confident executives disappointed Canadian shoppers who complained of too-high prices and bare shelves.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  1. Ask students if they shopped at Target in Canada. In the USA?
  2. Did they notice any differences? Using a T chart on the board, note the differences.
  3. Review the colours and meanings of each of DeBono’s Six Thinking Hats with the class: Black, White, Yellow, Red, Green and Blue.
  4. Organize six groups within the class and assign each group one of the Thinking Hats.
  5. Distribute the article for reading and then ask students to discuss the article from the point of view of their Thinking Hat. Allow 15 minutes for discussion.
  6. Reorganize the groups so that there is at least one of each coloured hat in each group.
  7. Have students discuss the article holistically allowing each of the ‘hats’ to give their perspective.
  8. As a class, ask each group to summarize their discussion in one to two minutes.

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Target is not the first, nor will they be the last, foreign company to set up business in Canada. Based on what they learned about Target’s demise, what advice would students have for other retailers who are thinking of coming into the Canadian market?
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

  • Students are able to articulate and understand why Target failed and extrapolate those findings into general information to share with others.

Confirming Activity:

  • Have students select one of the following retailers that successfully expanded into Canada. They should research and prepare a visual design demonstrating what they did to help them be successful.
    • Ikea
    • Home Depot
    • WalMart
    • Michael’s
    • Starbucks