Fate of local Zellers hangs in balance 0
COLLINGWOOD — There's a big question mark over Collingwood's Zellers, after parent company Hudson's Bay Company informed staff at the remaining 64 Zellers stores it owns that they'll be out of work by next March.
The sites were left out of a leasing deal with U.S. retail giant Target. Target acquired the rights to 189 other HBC-owned Zellers stores in January 2011, leaving the fate of about 64 stores hanging in the balance, including Collingwood's.
As many as 6,400 Zellers employees could lose their jobs across Canada.
"After a lengthy review and numerous discussions with various parties, it became apparently that continuing to operate the Zellers banner in its current form was not viable, particularly given the geographic footprint of the remaining locations," HBC spokeswoman Tiffany Bourre said in an e-mail to QMI Agency.
The Bay said it might re-brand and preserve an unspecified number of Zellers locations, though the spokeswoman didn't provide details.
In an email to the Enterprise-Bulletin, Bourre indicated the locations had not yet been determined.
Target plans to transform some or all of its 189 newly acquired Zellers stores into Target outlets starting next spring.
The expected $3.5-billion capital investment in Canada will create 20,000 jobs across the country. It's not clear if those are all new jobs.
Zellers employees won't automatically be hired to work at the new Target outlets, but Target has promised to "make it easy for them to apply for jobs."
The Collingwood Zellers opened in 1990 at the Blue Mountain Mall, in the former Towers location. The store — as well as the entire mall — underwent a significant makeover and expansion about 12 years ago, in the wake of approvals that allowed other retailers, including Wal-Mart, to locate in the west end commercial node.