10 years after closing time | Hudson’s Bay would expand the Zellers banner

(Toronto) Canada’s Zellers banner may have a broader resurgence next year, a decade after the discount chain closed most of its stores in Canada.

Posted at 8:14 am

Brett Bundale
The Canadian Press

Hudson’s Bay Company announces that Zellers will launch a new e-commerce website in early 2023 and expand its physical presence at select The Bay department stores across the country.

The retail giant says the new Zellers will “offer a digital shopping experience that appeals to brand nostalgia.”

“We know how special Zellers is in the hearts and minds of Canadians,” said Adam Powell, Zellers’ chief business officer. Zellers is a brand deeply rooted in the Canadian experience. »

Zellers’ return comes as Canada’s recent surge in inflation is prompting consumers to shop at a discount in search of lower prices, and there is stiff 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 gain market share in part through “the illusion of greater competition,” says Vass Bednar, executive director of the public policy master’s program at McMaster University.

“We are in this period of inflation and people are more price conscious than ever,” she adds. Shoppers who remember the Zellers brand will associate it with Sparen. »

It also comes amid an ongoing legal battle over a Quebec family’s use of the Zellers trademark. The Moniz family is behind a host of new trademark and business registration filings including Zellers Inc., Zellers Convenience Store Inc. and Zellers Restaurant Inc.

In a statement filed last fall, the Hudson’s Bay Company specifically accused the Moniz family of trademark infringement and misleading marketing.

The reintroduction of Zellers is likely due in part to the lawsuit, points out retail analyst Bruce Winder.

“It’s probably related to the legal issue of trademarks,” he adds. In order for Zellers to truly say, “This is ours,” they have to show they’re using it. »

Zellers will face an uphill battle with established competitors in the discount retail market, he adds.

“It could be a niche opportunity and hopefully it will work, but I just don’t see it coming back in droves successfully,” Winder said.

Zellers was founded in 1931 and acquired by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1978. It functioned as the discount department of The Bay department store with the slogan “Where the lowest price is the law”.

The banner peaked in the late 1990s with around 350 locations before losing ground to major competitors like Walmart.

In 2011, the Hudson’s Bay Company announced its intention to sell the majority of its remaining Zellers leases to American company Target, closing most stores by 2013, but Target’s continued adventure in Canada was a fiasco.

The retailer has opened a handful of Zellers stores as liquidation sites through 2020.

The Hudson’s Bay Company opened a Zellers store in portions of The Bay department stores in Burlington, Ontario in 2020 and in the Anjou neighborhood of Montreal last year.

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