Zellers is making a comeback with stores across Canada slated to open next year
Zellers is coming back from the dead, according to The Hudson's Bay Company (HBC), which on Wednesday morning revealed that it would be reviving the beloved discount brand in Canada with physical shop-in-shops and a new "online shopping experience."
"Very soon, shoppers from coast to coast will have more ways to shop one of HBC's most beloved brands," announced The Bay's parent company.
"Arriving early 2023, the distinctly Canadian retailer Zellers will debut a new e-commerce site and leverage the nationwide network of prime brick-and-mortar Hudson's Bay locations as it expands its footprint in major cities across the country."
The company has yet to release how many physical shops will exist or where they'll be located, but we do have an idea of what the shop-in-shops will look like, thanks to a brief Zellers pop-up activation inside a Burlington HBC store last year.
"Zellers and Zellers.ca will deliver a digital-first shopping journey that taps into the nostalgia of the brand Canadians know and love, while introducing a refreshed identity and a unique and exciting product assortment for families at everyday value," reads a release from HBC issued this morning.
"Feature anchor categories at launch will include housewares and home décor, furniture, small appliances, toys, and pet accessories and the introduction of a design-led, value-driven private brand. The assortment and category offer will grow throughout the year, including the introduction of apparel."
It does not appear as though the reborn Zellers brand will involve restaurants or Zeddy Wheels (yet), though feedback from consumers online definitely suggests an appetite for both.
People who grew up in the 90s and early 2000s, when Zellers was in its prime, will remember the red-and-white discount department store well.
Hudson's Bay department stores announced this week that they will be relaunching the Zellers brand within certain Hudson’s Bay location across the country in early 2023. Should they include this ride? pic.twitter.com/hvCcEHXxfo— Old Canada Series (@oldcanadaseries) August 17, 2022
Sadly, the retailer started fading in the new millennium as competitors (mostly Walmart) crowded the Canadian market.
In 2011, HBC announced that it would sell the leases for some 220 Zellers stores to the (now-defunct) Target Canada. It retained 64 stores at the time, almost all of which were liquidated and shuttered by 2013.
The company still had two stores in operation until just a few years ago — one in Ottawa and one in Etobicoke. Toronto's was the last remaining Zellers store in Canada when it closed down in early 2020.
"We know how special Zellers is in the hearts and minds of people in Canada. 'Where the lowest price is the law' was a calling card, which has helped Zellers establish itself as more than a retail destination, but a place to build and support community," says Zellers' Chief Business Officer Adam Powell of the revival on Wednesday.
"Zellers is a brand deeply rooted in the Canadian experience. Spanning generations, people hold distinct connections to Zellers through shared experiences with family and friends, and we look forward to building on that in the future."
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