Zellers' pharmacy biz goes to Metro 0
COLLINGWOOD - It's business as usual for the time being at Collingwood's Zellers.
The local department store was not one of the 189 stores acquired by American retail giant Target from the Hudson's Bay Company; Target announced late last month 76 Zellers locations across the country that will see a makeover to the Target brand.
Those stores are set to open by next April.
Target purchased leasehold interests in up to 220 Zellers stores in January, 2011, in a $1.85-billion deal. Last September, 189 were identified to become a Target, while 39 of those locations were subsequently sold off by Target to Wal-Mart.
HBC spokesperson Tiffany Bourré confirmed the local Zellers is one of 84 stores not acquired by Target, "and we're looking at our options for Zellers across the country.
"We're looking at all feasible options... for the brand."
She was unable to say how many people are employed at the store, though she noted the average store employs about 100 associates.
In the meantime, though, the pharmacy at Zellers will be closing; it's one of seven locations in Ontario that have been sold to Metro.
The pharmacy business at another 95 Zellers stores was sold off to Loblaws Companies Ltd.
Bourré said pharmacy customer files are being transferred to the pharmacy at the Collingwood Metro, a transition that is expected to be complete by May 17.
"It will be a seamless transition, and as Zellers is responsible for customer care, there will be no disruption to prescriptions or health care," she said.
As to the store's future, Bourré said parent company HBC has no timeline for determining its options for the Zellers brand.
The company has signaled in the past it may continue to operate a scaled-down Zellers chain.
"There are many communities where the Zellers store is the store in the community, and it makes a lot of sense to stay. Maybe some of these are in smaller communities Target doesn't want to go into and other retailers don't either," company spokesperson Freda Colbourne told QMI Agency last year. "We have a number of different specialty brands where we run small chains, and we want to continue to run Zellers."
Zellers has been in Collingwood, operating at the Blue Mountain Mall, since 1990; previous to that, the store was a Towers.