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RMFP Portfolio Update 2015

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Manulife Monthly High Income Fund

YTD: -0.28%

  • After less than two years in Canada, Target has announced plans to abandon the Canadian marketplace, shutter its 133 stores across the country, and file for creditor protection.  
  • The announcement Thursday not only stunned Canadian shoppers, it dealt a huge blow to Target Canada's 17,600 employees.  The company says that to ensure fair treatment of its employees, nearly all its workers not needed during the wind-down period will receive a minimum of 16 weeks of compensation, including wages and benefits coverage.  
  • Target Corporation CEO Brian Cornell said that, after thoroughly reviewing the company's Canadian performance, the company decided it wouldn't reach full profitability in Canada until at least 2021.  Target's announcement in 2011 that it had bought 220 Zellers locations from Hudson’s Bay Co., and was coming to Canada, was met with excitement by retail analysts. Canadian shoppers, too, looked forward to nabbing the great deals they had come to love at Target stores south of the border.  But the company's debut in Canada was marred by significant inventory problems that left many shelves bare, and shoppers frustrated. Canadians also expressed disappointment with the prices at Target Canada stores, which many insisted were markedly higher than in the U.S. outlets.
  • While the Fund does not own Target, it does own other Canadian retailers, such as Canadian Tire, Loblaw Companies, Metro Inc. and Empire Co. Ltd., which should all benefit with one less competitor in the space.