Tiffany Bourre, a spokesperson for Hudson’s Bay Company, confirmed the remaining 64 Zellers stores in Canada are closing.
“It is our intention to close all the stores in March 2013,” Bourre said in a telephone interview.
She said the company plans to “rebrand” a few of those stores and open them under a new name. She didn’t know how many stores will survive in a different form and said she didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up.
“Most of the stores are closing,” she said. “The ones that will remain open will be determined at a later date. And I don’t have a timeframe for that.”
Bourre said most stores have about 100 employees, although the company doesn’t give out specific information for individual locations. She also declined to comment on what type of severance packages staff in Sudbury will receive, citing company confidentiality policies.
The decision was expected after the Southridge Mall location was left off a list of Zellers store leases sold to Target last year for $1.8 billion. The U.S. retailing giant plans to open a store in Sudbury in winter of 2013, in the current Zellers location in the former Super Mall in New Sudbury. Earlier this month, Target Corp. announced plans to open between 125-135 stores in Canada starting next year.
“Construction has already begun on our first set of stores and we are excited to see the transformation as the Target brand comes to life in Canada,” said Tony Fisher, president of Target Canada, in a press release earlier this month.
Target expects to employ 150 to 200 people at each store and has already started hiring at many locations. The company is encouraging anyone interested in a job at Target to visit target.ca/careers for more information.
Each site will be closed between six and nine months for renovations, which will cost more than $10 million at each location. Minneapolis-based Target has 1,764 stores across the United States.
It plans to open its first stores in Canada in southern Ontario in March and April, with a steady rollout of new stores across Canada every few months after that.
By the time the new Target store opens, Sudbury’s existing Target Apparel store will have to have a new name. Under a settlement reached in February, Target Apparel’s parent company, which also owns Fairweather and International Clothiers, agreed to drop the Target name by Jan. 31, 2013.
The company, owned by Canadian retailer Isaac Benitah, received an undisclosed financial settlement in return.
That means the Rainbow Centre outlet will have to come up with a new name before then. Officials at Fairweather didn’t respond to requests from Northern Life to clarify when the change would take place, or what the new name will be.
Posted by Arron Pickard