Target’s Expected Canadian Invasion, Penney’s Strategy Change: Consumer Business Recap

Target Corporation’s (NYSE:TGT) scheduled launch of its first stores in Canada in the spring has retailers there in some trepidation, although it is thought that the impact will affect the local companies in different ways. Sears Canada (NASDAQ:SHLD) and the iconic Hudson Bay Co are expected to be the most vulnerable to the Target invasion, say some experts. Hudson especially worries them because its shares have consistently traded under its C$17 offer price since its first trading day, partly due to expectations about the advent of the American retailing giant. On the other hand, Loblaw Companies (LBLCF.PK) and Metro are primarly grocers by trade and expect a lesser threat from Target.

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In a Monday release, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) reported a corrective action to address potential engine overheating which might result in engine fires in SE and SEL models of the 2013 Ford Escape and Ford Fusion models that are equipped with 1.6-liter engines. The voluntary safety recall was announced Nov. 30th.

Is J.C. Penney Co. (NYSE:JCP) Chief Executive Ron Johnson changing his strategy once more? Analysts such as Matthew Boss at JPMorgan are wondering if the fact that Penney’s allowed its Friends and Family 20 percent-off coupon to expire on Monday is signaling just that. Johnson had promised that he would not resort to coupons or sale to remake the retailing chain, but then the friends and family sale coupon appeared only three days after the firm introduced an offer with a discount of between 20 and 30 percent off select outerwear. Boss comments that such moves are “clearly indicating a departure from the long-term vision,” and he believes that Johnson will “emerge from the woodwork over the next several days,” arguing over whether a hybrid model with select sale events can help save sales or if the changes are “too little too late.”

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