This article summarizes the real estate void left by the departure of Target. The lesson can be used in tandem with “How Target botched a $7-billion rollout.”

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

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

Key Questions to Explore:

  • How can commercial real estate be re-purposed in an ever-changing retail environment?
Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

As the article points out, with nearly 15 million square feet of retail space and five million square feet of office and warehouse space across Canada, Target’s decision to shutter its Canadian operations has plunged the commercial real estate industry into uncertainty.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  1. Distribute the article for reading.
  2. Discuss with the class the impact of such a large amount of retail space becoming available all at once in your community and in our country and on them as individuals.
  3. Ask students if they have been to a Target store. What were their thoughts on it?
  4. Organize the class into groups of four students.
  5. Distribute flip chart paper or have students work on the computer to do the following activity:
    • Locate the Target store nearest to your school
    • Using a mind map, ask students to describe the location inside the store, inside the mall and outside with respect to the community.
    • With the characteristics of the space, the demographics and psychographics of the community delineated through research, observation and experience, have students design alternate activity for the space that could meet the needs of the community in new ways and garner revenue for the landlord in a positive and sustainable way.

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Have students do a gallery walk to see what each group has come up with. Students can go back to their group and reflect on what the other groups have proposed and make any changes to their own plan. Then ask them to explain what would be the most difficult thing about their team’s proposal.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

  • Students understand the impact of this large volume of retail space becoming available all at once.

Confirming Activity:

  • Many retailers are moving away from bricks and mortar stores to a more vibrant online presence. Ask students to identify their favourite online retailers and describe the characteristics that have made them successful. Have them confirm through annual sales reports that these businesses are successful from a financial perspective.
  • The article asks: “What does this say to American or international retailers that have been considering a potential entry into Canada?” Have students answer this question and then draft some advice that might assist them in a successful launch.