NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Yes, heart-wrenching. Target (TGT) burst into our lives in a big way in the early 2000s, showing us that great fashion for an evening out could be affordable. Sure, buying a TV was likely going to be a little more expensive at Target then mean, nasty Walmart (WMT), but that was OK as Target stores were an exhilarating shopping experience. After years of being depressed by the sloppy racks and dark lighting at J.C. Penney (JCP), Macy's (M), Sears (SHLD), and a host of defunct department stores, an entire generation welcomed a more respectable place to buy goods that probably weren't needed. Heck, this generation even emotionally connected (pre the uprising in puppy picture accounts on Twitter) with the cute Target bulls-eye puppy, Spot.
Quick aside: I believe Target needs to resurrect Spot in its national TV sports and social media marketing to reconnect with customers. You would be surprised by how puppies spread positive vibes, and social activity on Twitter (TWTR) and Facebook (FB).
As a rookie stock analyst in 2004, despite being taught to check biases at the door in the research process, I couldn't help but to be mesmerized by Target's earnings calls. New, designer threads were always being released. Housewares were on fire due to collaborations with up and coming designers. Like Apple (AAPL), there was an anticipation of what was to come next at Target, and the stock price usually benefited from that great unknown. Unfortunately, the Target of 2014 is in serious trouble, and that is not me piling on the sensationalism as to keep you on the Web page. The sad aspect here: The troubles at Target have been quietly building, and are now very present in its U.S. stores and newly opened Canadian division. Problems with culture and store layouts run so deep I wonder if Target has the balance sheet and support in the market to orchestrate the turnaround that is lurking in the weeds looking out three to five years.