Canada's two remaining Zellers stores slated to close
Christy Somos, with a report by CTV News Ottawa's Michael O'Byrne
Published Friday, September 6, 2019 9:33AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, September 6, 2019 2:02PM EDT
Once a giant in the Canadian retail landscape, now dwindled down to two locations, Zellers will soon be closing its final stores, one in Ottawa, the other in Toronto.
Most shoppers are nostalgic, others find it tragic.
“I’m disappointed,” said shopper Lisa Rutherford to CTV News Ottawa. “I’d like to see it stay, it’s a Canadian icon.”
Seventeen-year-old Tierra Vata used to shop at Zellers with her mother, who passed away a few years ago. “It’s kind of heartbreaking,” she said. “This is the store we used to go to when I was young.”
Zellers has been in operation for almost 90 years – its first store opened in 1931, and at its peak had 350 stores across Canada with half a billion in sales annually.
The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), which acquired Zellers in 1978, plans to close the final two locations over the coming months after years of profits being eaten away by competitors like Walmart and Target.
Target, who acquired most of Zellers physical locations and leases in a deal with HBC in 2013, rebranded most of them as an inroads into the Canadian market. But after hemorrhaging profits, they shuttered all 133 Target Canada stores in 2015, which allowed a handful of Zellers stores to reopen – but to no avail.
There is no official closing date for the Ottawa Zellers location, and a store employee told CTV News Ottawa consumer reporter Michael O’Byrne that it likely would not happen until after Christmas.