Whether it shuts down or keeps going under a different name, there will be no more Zellers store in the Semiahmoo Shopping Centre in South Surrey after next spring.
On Thursday, the current owner of the store, the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), announced it will close the 64 Zellers that it didn’t sell to the Target chain.
A widely circulated email to media outlets said that continuing to operate the remaining Zellers stores is “not viable, particularly given the geographic footprint of the remaining locations” and that they would be closed by March 2013.
There could be exceptions, however.
A few of the stores may stay open, but not under the Zellers name, said HBC spokesperson Tiffany Bourré.
“Zellers is considering options for certain locations, including potentially rebranding some stores, which will result in certain stores remaining open for the foreseeable future,” she said.
Bourré told Peace Arch News there has been no decision made about which stores would stay in business and whether the Semiahmoo outlet would be among them.
Target bought 189 Zellers stores from HBC last year for $1.83 billion and plans to convert most of them to Target outlets starting next spring.
But not all: Target sold 39 of its newly-acquired stores to Wal-Mart and closed 28 others.
The Zellers in the Semiahmoo Shopping Centre at 152 Street and 16 Avenue wasn’t part of the sale to Target.
About 100 people work there.
In April, clients of the Semiahmoo Zellers pharmacy were told their files will be transferred to the pharmacy of the PriceSmart Foods store located in the same mall.
Zellers pharmacy businesses in B.C. and Alberta, including all patient prescription files, were bought by the B.C.-based Overwaitea Food Group (OFG), parent company of Save-On-Foods, Overwaitea Foods, PriceSmart Foods, Cooper’s Foods, Urban Fare and Bulkley Valley Wholesale.
The sale agreement also included pharmacies operated at Bay stores.
Zellers was founded in 1931, when Walter P. Zeller bought the 14 Canadian locations of American retailer Schulte-United in Southern Ontario.
Over the years, the company expanded to become Canada’s second-largest mass merchandise discount chain with over 200 stores, much of its growth achieved by buying stores from other chains like Woodward’s or – as at the Semiahmoo location – Kmart.
Zellers was purchased by HBC in 1978, and the combined company was bought by South Carolina businessman Jerry Zucker in 2006.
After Zucker died in 2008, the Canadian companies were bought by New York-based NRDC Equity Partners.