The Daily Dose: Troubling Signs at Target

 | Jan 15, 2014 | 12:00 PM EST  | Comments
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Stock quotes in this article:

shld

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tgt

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jcp

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ebay

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dks

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sbux

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gps

Not long after my recent draining battle with Sears (SHLD), I engaged in this Twitter exchange with the Target (TGT) Canada after posting pictures from its fumbling Canadian operations:

Listen, this is "liquidation" signage we're talking about -- such as that seen in the following photo, which a contact sent to me:

When you've pumped loads of shareholder capital into a company, it's abnormal to see such signs at that company's stores. For numerous reasons, I view the above picture as evidence that Target Canada is in a long fight to gain market share in Canada. For one thing, I have talked to a number of folks about Target's Canada stores, and from these conversations I have concluded that the brand is seen as expensive -- and customers don't feel the stores are laid out properly when it comes to how they shop.

Basically, Target is seen as an arrogant American brand trying to impose their standards, instead of listening to their needs.

#HackerGate Update

Of late, I've been busy securing comments from various retailers on whether they believe they'll suffer a Target-like hack, or whether something similar has occurred in their stores. I didn't expect any confirmation of this, but I wanted some details in case news breaks in the future -- and I anticipate it will for more retailers, given that they are all using the same outdated garbage technology.

Well, all of the retailers have rebuffed that notion. Take a look at the comments I received from each of these companies:

J.C. Penney (JCP) -- "J.C. Penney takes very seriously the importance of protecting the security of all confidential customer information, and we have multiple safeguards in place to do so. We have seen no indication of a security breach or fraudulent activity with respect to customers' credit card information."

eBay (EBAY) -- "Most of the transactions on eBay are done through PayPal. With PayPal, none of the buyer's financial details are shared with the merchants where they shop."

Dick's (DKS) -- "We implement information-security best practices within our organization and place the highest priority on protecting the information of our customers."

Starbucks (SBUX) -- "Starbucks company-operated stores were not impacted by any of the recent data breaches this holiday season. Where Starbucks has licensed store agreements, such as Target, those licensees are responsible for point of sale and payment-processing. Beyond Target, none of our licensees have said they were impacted in the recent data breaches."

Gap (GPS) -- "There have been no indications the business has been affected."

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