One of North America’s largest real estate companies is preparing to handle the vacuum left by Target.
Bentall Kennedy says it’s considering its options after Target decided to close all of its Canadian stores, including Vernon’s Village Green Centre and 11 other properties managed by Bentall Kennedy.
“We remain committed to delivering the best possible retail experience in all of the communities we serve,” said Andy Clydesdale, Bentall Kennedy president, in a release.
“And we will work to manage the coming transitions in the most appropriate way for each property affected by the Target announcement.”
Target opened a 103,000-square-foot store in the former Zellers location at the Village Green Centre in May 2013.
Clydesdale says Bentall Kennedy is disappointed about Target leaving the Canadian market.
“On behalf of our clients, we have begun work immediately to understand the implications of Target’s news for the 12 properties we manage that have Target as a tenant,” he said.
“Beyond our own business considerations, we are also very aware of the impact that this announcement will have on individuals and families across the country.”
Target Canada employs about 17,600 people across the country, including about 100 in Vernon.
Mayor Akbal Mund says there needs to be a major focus to ensure the laid-off workers can shift into other employment to support their families.
“Look at the newspaper, I see that other retailers are looking for employees,” he said, adding that Target staff have developed customer-service skills that are desirable.
“But some may have to move away from Vernon.”
The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce has been monitoring Target’s arrival in Canada and its subsequent financial difficulties that led to the closing of 133 stores.
“I was surprised by the timing of the announcement but given the challenges and losses Target has incurred which have been well documented publicly, it is not totally unexpected,” said Dan Rogers, chamber manager.
“Target’s much publicized arrival in Canada prompted many of its competitors to invest and strengthen their operations in order to compete and that ironically contributed to a much more competitive retail sector that ultimately made it difficult for Target. There were certainly other challenges but Target’s strong brand reputation may have in fact played a role in its own demise by making its competitors better.”