Retailer Target may have to back out of Canada entirely if it doesn’t turn around its struggling operations soon, some analysts say.

According to estimates from Tiburon Research cited in the Wall Street Journal, Target is on track to lose $2 billion on its Canadian operations in the first two years of operations.

It already lost $941 million in its first year of operations, a genuinely poor outcome given the company had been predicting Canada would be profitable for it by the end of 2013.

It is conceivable that they will close Canada,” Cowen and Co. retail analyst Faye Landes told the Globe and Mail. “I assume with a new CEO, everything will be on the table.”

Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel resigned abruptly this week. Most observers attributed the move to the retailer’s disastrous security breach in January, which exposed the credit and debit information of millions of customers.

But many analysts pointed to Target’s problem-plagued entry into Canada as “one giant reason” for Steinhafel’s departure. Belus Capital’s Brian Sozzi warned in January that the chain’s emtpy-shelves problem in Canada could mean the chain risks becoming “extinct” in Canada.

As Forbes reports, Canadian customers’ complaints about empty shelves and a lack of selection stem from investment decisions, and those are made by the CEO.

Target’s new interim CEO, John Mulligan, says the company is committed to staying in Canada.

"Our focus on Canada is on fixing the Canadian business and getting it back on track where it needs to be," Mulligan said this week. He says the company has not changed its goal of reaching $6 billion in annual sales in Canada by 2017. Sales in its first year totaled less than a quarter of that, $1.3 billion.

Target’s rollout in Canada — 124 stores opening in 10 months — may have been too aggressive, analysts told the Globe and Mail, and that may have led to some of the near-comical blunders the company made while setting up shop.

The Wall Street Journal catalogues some of them:

Target trained its Canadian employees at its U.S. stores for months. But when they returned home to Canada, they found the technology and systems were different from what they had learned….

...Inventory was a problem. At one location, workers didn't even have enough products to fill the shelves on opening day. The manager at the time, who declined to be named, instructed employees to spread out action figures and dolls over multiple racks to try to make the toy aisles look fuller….

Within weeks of the first wave of store openings in 2013, some employees were told their hours would be halved because sales weren't keeping pace….

The inventory problems got so bad at one store that workers filled half an aisle with Tide detergent because they didn't have enough other products to fill the space, according to a former employee.

Some analysts say leaving the Canadian market altogether won’t be necessary. Paul Trussell of Deutsche Bank told the Globe it’s more of a question of Target closing its weakest stores.

“New management would need to come in and provide real measuring points ... that will determine whether or not Target is truly positioned well for the long term in Canada,” he said.

Though he doesn’t expect a fast decision on what to do with Target’s Canadian operations, he’s certain of one thing: Whatever happens, “it’s not going to be the status quo.”

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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.