The return of Zellers: Hudson's Bay to resurrect Canadian discount retail chain
Canadian department store Zellers hopes to make a comeback next year, a decade after the discount chain shuttered most of its locations., brand owner Hudson's Bay Co. said Wednesday.
Zellers will debut a new e-commerce website and expand its brick-and-mortar footprint within select Hudson's Bay department stores across the country in early 2023, HBC said.
The relaunched discount retailer will offer "a digital-first shopping journey that taps into the nostalgia of the brand," the company said.
- 'The childhood place to be': Zellers' return sparks fond memories among Canadians eager for its comeback
"We know how special Zellers is in the hearts and minds of people in Canada," said Adam Powell, Zellers' chief business officer. "Zellers is a brand deeply rooted in the Canadian experience."
The return of Zellers comes as soaring inflation drives consumers to discount retailers in search of lower prices and fierce competition from existing stores like Walmart, Dollarama and Giant Tiger.
Reviving the brand when people are looking for ways to save money could help Zellers capture market share in part through "the illusion of more competition," said Vass Bednar, executive director of the Master of Public Policy in Digital Society at McMaster University.
"We're in this inflationary period and people are more price conscious than ever before," she said. "Shoppers who remember the Zellers brand will associate it with saving money."
The planned resurrection of Zellers also comes amid an ongoing lawsuit over a Quebec family's use of the Zellers brand.
The Moniz family is behind various recent trademark applications and corporate registries, including Zellers Inc., Zellers Convenience Store Inc. and Zellers Restaurant Inc.
In a statement of claim filed last fall, HBC accused the Moniz family of trademark infringement, depreciation of goodwill and so-called passing off -- the deceptive marketing or misrepresentation of goods.
Retail analyst Bruce Winder said the reintroduction of Zellers likely stems in part from the lawsuit.
"It's most likely related to the legal issue with the trademarks," he said. "For Zellers to really say, 'This is ours,' they have to show that they're using it."
Zellers will face an uphill battle from entrenched competitors in the discount retail marketplace, he said.
"It could be a niche opportunity and I hope it works, but I just don't see it coming back successfully en masse."
The Zellers department store was founded in 1931 and acquired by HBC in 1978.
It operated as the discount division of its flagship Hudson's Bay department stores, with the slogan "Where the lowest price is the law."
The store hit its peak of about 350 locations in the late 1990s before losing ground to big box competitors such as Walmart.
In 2011, HBC announced plans to sell the majority of its remaining Zellers leases to Target Corp., closing most stores by 2013.
The retailer kept a handful of Zellers locations open as liquidation outlets until 2020.
The company recently launched pop-up Zellers shops inside Hudson's Bay department stores in Burlington, Ont. and Anjou, Que.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 17, 2022.
What are your memories of Zellers? Share your nostalgia by emailing us at email@example.com, and include your name and location. Your comments may be used in a CTVNews.ca story.
Ahead of Thanksgiving Day, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is reminding cross-border shoppers that raw poultry or poultry by-products can’t be brought into the country from the U.S. due to ongoing avian flu outbreaks.
CTVNews.ca wants to hear from Canadians who are taking steps to mitigate rising prices amid a higher inflation rate.
Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem says more interest rate hikes are necessary to bring inflation down, despite some early signs of a slowing economy.
If you live in an apartment, then you've more than likely felt the effects of the dramatically increased rental rates in Canada. Personal finance contributor Christopher Liew explores some of the key factors contributing to the increased rental prices in Canada, along with some of the things that Canadians are doing to cope with the current market.
About a quarter of Canadians are losing confidence in the stock market and are now looking to cash out their investments, a new survey has found.
Canada is headed for a 'severe' and 'almost inevitable' recession in early 2023, according to the head of economics at Macquarie Group, which states Canada will face an approximately three per cent contraction in gross domestic product and a five per cent rise in its unemployment rate during the predicted recession.
Financial TikTok – or FinTok – has become one of the most popular trends on the platform, and is emerging as a go-to resource for Gen Z and millennial audiences looking to learn how to invest, budget or even spend more wisely.
As the cost of living continues to rise and pay gaps persist, there is a growing desire for more open discussions around earnings, something experts argue could help ensure everyone is being compensated fairly.