Customers at Target Canada locations have been complaining about low inventory virtually since the first stores opened last spring.

Target first explained away the problem by saying they were dealing with unexpectedly large demand and were struggling to keep up. But as the months rolled on and empty shelves continued to be a problem, people began asking what’s going on.

Market research firm Belus Capital Advisors says it’s not the retailer getting caught by surprise — it’s a sign of “fundamental problems” with Target Canada that could be pointing towards its “extinction.”

Belus Capital admits off the bat that it has a “sell” rating on Target stock — meaning some of its clients probably hold short positions on Target that will make them money if the stock falls. Nonetheless, the photos Belus posted on its blog earlier today are telling, and worrying.

Clearly, the low inventory problem isn’t going away. Check out some of Belus’ pics (visit the Belus Capital blog to see all the pics):

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  • Target Canada's Empty Shelves

    Belus Capital says it's a bad sign that a brand-new retailer like Target Canada is already discounting products by 90 per cent. Source: <a href="http://beluscapitaladvisors.com/2014/01/22/25-new-omg-photos-target-canada/">Belus Capital</a>

  • Target Canada's Empty Shelves

    Source: <a href="http://beluscapitaladvisors.com/2014/01/22/25-new-omg-photos-target-canada/">Belus Capital</a>

  • Target Canada's Empty Shelves

    Source: <a href="http://beluscapitaladvisors.com/2014/01/22/25-new-omg-photos-target-canada/">Belus Capital</a>

  • Target Canada's Empty Shelves

    Even food products are in short supply. Source: <a href="http://beluscapitaladvisors.com/2014/01/22/25-new-omg-photos-target-canada/">Belus Capital</a>

  • Target Canada's Empty Shelves

    Source: <a href="http://beluscapitaladvisors.com/2014/01/22/25-new-omg-photos-target-canada/">Belus Capital</a>

  • Target Canada's Empty Shelves

    Source: <a href="http://beluscapitaladvisors.com/2014/01/22/25-new-omg-photos-target-canada/">Belus Capital</a>

  • Target Canada's Empty Shelves

    Another bad sign: The "cheap chic" items that are such huge sellers for Target in the U.S. are seen here marked for clearance. Source: <a href="http://beluscapitaladvisors.com/2014/01/22/25-new-omg-photos-target-canada/">Belus Capital</a>

  • Target Canada's Empty Shelves

    Source: <a href="http://beluscapitaladvisors.com/2014/01/22/25-new-omg-photos-target-canada/">Belus Capital</a>

  • Target Canada's Empty Shelves

    Source: <a href="http://beluscapitaladvisors.com/2014/01/22/25-new-omg-photos-target-canada/">Belus Capital</a>

  • Target Canada's Empty Shelves

    Source: <a href="http://beluscapitaladvisors.com/2014/01/22/25-new-omg-photos-target-canada/">Belus Capital</a>

  • NEXT:

    CUSTOMER SATISFACTION RANKINGS

  • WORST: Target Canada - 27%

    Percentage of respondents who said they were "very satisfied" with the store in question. Source: Forum Research

  • The Bay - 40%

    Percentage of respondents who said they were "very satisfied" with the store in question. Source: Forum Research

  • Walmart Canada - 40%

    Percentage of respondents who said they were "very satisfied" with the store in question. Source: Forum Research

  • BEST: Costco - 62%

    Percentage of respondents who said they were "very satisfied" with the store in question. Source: Forum Research

  • Also on HuffPost:

    HOW TARGET CANADA'S PRICES STACK UP WITH THE U.S.

  • How Target's Canadian Prices Stack Up To U.S. Prices

  • Women's Merona Emilia Espadrille Sandals

    C$29.99 in Toronto and US$29.99 on the U.S website.

  • Gilligan O'Malley Women's Knit Pajama

    C$24.99 in Canadian sstores and US$24.99 on the U.S. website.

  • Mossimo Women's Ponte Boyfriend Jacket

    C$39.99 in Toronto and US$29.99 on the U.S. website.

  • Bird-Bead-Wavy Disc Earrings Trio

    C$9.99 in Canadian stores and US$7.99 on the American website.

  • Mossimo Supply Co. Men's Short Sleeve Tee Shirt

    C$9.99 in-store and marked down from US$9.99 to $7.49 on the U.S. website.

  • Mossimo Supply Co. Men's Long Sleeve Poplin Workshirt

    C$24.99 in Target's Toronto store and marked down from US$22.99 to $17.24 on the U.S. website.

  • Ridel Vivant Pinot Noir Tumblers - Set of 2

    $C24.99 in Toronto but US$19.99 at Target.com.

  • Giada De Laurentiis 12' Non-Stick Frying Pan

    C$39.99 compared to US$35.49 (online price).

  • Soda Stream 60L CO2 Spare Carbonator

    C$34.99 in the Toronto store and US$29.99 on the American site.

  • Target Canada Opens Stores In Ontario

    Previously on HuffPost: Target Canada Opens Stores In Ontario

  • Target Opens In Canada

    A Canada flag flies on a customer's car parked in front of the new Target store in Guelph, Ont. on Tuesday March 5, 2013. Target's expansion into Canada is continuing in big way over the next two weeks as the American retailer opens 21 new stores in Ontario.

  • Target Opens In Canada

    Tony Fisher, President of Target Canada, speaks to the media during a tour of the new Target store in Guelph, Ontario. Target announced that it is opening three pilot stores in Guelph, Fergus and Milton, Ontario March 5, 2013, the first of 124 Target stores to open in Canada, Media were given a preview tour, Monday, March 4, 2013.

  • Target Opens In Canada

    Employees work on preparing the new Target store in Guelph, Ontario. Target announced that it is opening three pilot stores in Guelph, Fergus and Milton, Ontario March 5, 2013, the first of 124 Target stores to open in Canada, Media were given a preview tour, Monday, March 4, 2013.

  • Target Opens In Canada

    Employees welcome the first shoppers who lined up for the new Target store in in Guelph, Ont. on Tuesday March 5, 2013. The company is expected to open between 125 and 135 locations in Canada.

  • Target Opens In Canada

    Hundreds of shoppers wait for the opening of the new Target store in in Guelph, Ont. on Tuesday March 5, 2013. The company is expected to open between 125 and 135 locations in Canada.

  • Target Opens In Canada

    Tony Fisher, President of Target Canada, speaks to the media during a tour of the new Target store in Guelph, Ontario. Target announced that it is opening three pilot stores in Guelph, Fergus and Milton, Ontario March 5, 2013, the first of 124Target stores to open in Canada, Media were given a preview tour, Monday, March 4, 2013.

  • Target Opens In Canada

    Employees work on preparing the new Target store in Guelph, Ontario. Target announced that it is opening three pilot stores in Guelph, Fergus and Milton, Ontario March 5, 2013, the first of 124 Target stores to open in Canada, Media were given a preview tour, Monday, March 4, 2013.

  • Target Opens In Canada

    Employees work on preparing the new Target store in Guelph, Ontario. Target announced that it is opening three pilot stores in Guelph, Fergus and Milton, Ontario March 5, 2013, the first of 124 Target stores to open in Canada, Media were given a preview tour, Monday, March 4, 2013.

  • Target Opens In Canada

    Shopper Sam Skelhorn waits in a tent for the opening of the new Target store in in Guelph, Ont. on Tuesday March 5, 2013. The company is expected to open between 125 and 135 locations in Canada.

  • Target Opens In Canada

    Hundreds of shoppers wait for the opening of the new Target store in in Guelph, Ont. on Tuesday March 5, 2013. The company is expected to open between 125 and 135 locations in Canada.

  • Target Opens In Canada

    Employees welcome the first shoppers who lined up for the new Target store in in Guelph, Ont. on Tuesday March 5, 2013. The company is expected to open between 125 and 135 locations in Canada.

  • Target Opens In Canada

    Hundreds of shoppers wait for the opening of the new Target store in in Guelph, Ont. on Tuesday March 5, 2013. The company is expected to open between 125 and 135 locations in Canada.

  • Target Opens In Canada

    First customers Scott Lester (left) and Sam Skelhorn exit the new Target store with their purchases in Guelph, Ont. on Tuesday March 5, 2013. The company is expected to open between 125 and 135 locations in Canada.

“The fundamental issues, from keeping shelves stocked (process and tech related) to articulating a low price message to skeptical Canadian customers, appear to be getting worse at the division instead of stabilizing as suggested by management on the third quarter earnings call,” Belus founder Brian Sozzi writes.

“One almost is overcome with this creepy feeling ... that Target will go the way of many U.S. brands that ventured into Canadian retailing … extinct.”

Minneapolis-based Target has been blaming its Canadian expansion for a decrease in profits in every earnings report that has come out since the Canadian stores opened.

The company recently took a look at its holiday sales numbers from last month and issued a warning about earnings at the Canadian division.

But Target wasn’t the only one to struggle through the holiday season in Canada, given the nasty weather that hit large parts of the country just before the holidays, and other retailers are also issuing warnings.

(H/t: Business Insider)