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Express to Close All 17 Canadian Stores

Express to Close All 17 Canadian Stores

By Simon Hung

Express, an American clothing chain with 17 locations in Canada, has announced that they will close all of their Canadian stores.

No specific timeframe has been given, but closing sales will begin this month and the company has stated that they will pay all 340 employees their salaries and benefits until at least June 15.

The chain operates over 650 stores in the United States and Puerto Rico and expanded to Canada in 2011, with plans at one point to open 50 stores. In a press release, Express CEO David Kornberg cited a challenging Canadian retail environment and unfavourable exchange rates as the primary reasons behind the decision to cease operations in Canada.

Court filings also show that their Canadian stores contributed a net loss of $6 million USD this past year and the company has lost $56 million USD in Canada since 2011. Rising rent costs were another reason behind the closures, as Express is still responsible for $120 million USD in property leases.

Express has stores in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario -- click here to find the location nearest you. The company also estimates Canadian customers have around $400,000 in unused gift cards, which will be honoured during the liquidation process.

Unfortunately for shoppers, this marks yet another American chain that has opted to leave Canada after underestimating the difficulty of the Canadian retail market, joining a growing list that includes American Apparel, BCBG, Bebe and Target.

39 Comments

    • I have no idea who they are.

      Side note: I shop at Costco for my clothing.
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    • never bought much there, goodbye, won't be noticed much.
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    • I went to the shindig for their store opening in Pacific Centre. Everything was made out of synthetic material. Never wanted to step back in there.
    • Report Post
    • Becks wrote:
      May 4th, 2017 6:13 pm
      I went to the shindig for their store opening in Pacific Centre. Everything was made out of synthetic material. Never wanted to step back in there.
      Had that Dollarama odor of cheap Chinese products?
    • Report Post
    • To be honest, I'm very glad to see some stores closing because I may grab some decent closeout merchandise.
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    • Remember Steph Curry was on their store posters but that's about it. Probably most canadians won't buy clothing at retail price. Many, myself included wont buy new clothes unless its 50-70% off.

      Funny how many of the US retailers blame the challenging Canadian retail market. More like the Canadian consumer knows when it is being hosed.
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    • Only been in the Express store once and found the inventory to be quite expensive and nothing special to warrant the price vs. lower priced alternatives. My friend who shops there says only buy from the clearance section when it's 50% to 70% off.
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    • EastGTARedFlagger wrote:
      May 4th, 2017 7:30 pm
      Had that Dollarama odor of cheap Chinese products?
      Their cotton clothes are okay but way overpriced. I know someone who knows someone who worked for Express in China. That person received a big box full of Express shirts for free from the Express friend. I laughed when I saw the ridiculous MSRP on the tags. They would have made nice profits if they had found enough crazy people to pay MSRP.
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    • amplified wrote:
      May 5th, 2017 2:29 am
      Funny how many of the US retailers blame the challenging Canadian retail market. More like the Canadian consumer knows when it is being hosed.
      More like how we have an overconcentration of retail market share in so few hands (read: Weston family and Canadian Tire), and worst of all, we blindly support incumbents and never give new players a chance.
      I spell it all out here:

      costco-price-increases-within-days-1692831/5/#p26664212

      Want lower prices? Don't keep killing off foreign competitors. Should have been shopping at Target instead of Walmart and RCSS. Should have been shopping at Sam's Club instead of Costco.
      God help us if the government ever allows the Weston family to buy Canadian Tire.
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    • Bunyak wrote:
      May 5th, 2017 10:48 am
      I laughed when I saw the ridiculous MSRP on the tags. They would have made nice profits if they had found enough crazy people to pay MSRP.
      Ridiculous MSRP's? Sounds like they were being tagged for resale at Winners/TJ Maxx or worst of all, Value Village! "Compare at"...
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    • another american retailer closing ..

      thig isn't good as one of the reasons is the low loonie.. that is what happens when bank of canada wants lower loonie
    • Report Post
    • sk1001 wrote:
      May 5th, 2017 1:42 pm
      another american retailer closing ..

      thig isn't good as one of the reasons is the low loonie.. that is what happens when bank of canada wants lower loonie
      Enough of this. The loonie should be pegged at par and leave it at that. Or if we don't want to be too tied to the Americans, peg $1 Canadian = 85 cents Euro.
    • Report Post
    • Damn, I actually shop here when they do their 40% off everything or $25 off $100.

      Normally buy my dress shirts/pants from express
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    • danny3526 wrote:
      May 5th, 2017 2:12 pm
      Damn, I actually shop here when they do their 40% off everything or $25 off $100.
      I'm suspicious of any retailer that can offer 40% on any sort of consistent basis unless it's an actual clearance sale (ie you're never going to see this item again at this price)
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    • Dam, I love their clothes :/
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    • EastGTARedFlagger wrote:
      May 5th, 2017 11:04 am
      More like how we have an overconcentration of retail market share in so few hands (read: Weston family and Canadian Tire), and worst of all, we blindly support incumbents and never give new players a chance.
      I spell it all out here:

      costco-price-increases-within-days-1692831/5/#p26664212

      Want lower prices? Don't keep killing off foreign competitors. Should have been shopping at Target instead of Walmart and RCSS. Should have been shopping at Sam's Club instead of Costco.
      God help us if the government ever allows the Weston family to buy Canadian Tire.
      You do realize Walmart is an American company and they own Sam's Club?
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    • death_hawk wrote:
      May 5th, 2017 2:23 pm
      I'm suspicious of any retailer that can offer 40% on any sort of consistent basis unless it's an actual clearance sale (ie you're never going to see this item again at this price)
      Canadian Tire and Benix being two of the worst offenders. Thing is at Canadian Tire it's not a deal unless it's 75% off!
    • Report Post
    • EastGTARedFlagger wrote:
      May 5th, 2017 11:04 am
      Should have been shopping at Target instead of Walmart and RCSS.
      This one particular example is terrible though.
      Target was doomed from the beginning. No amount of support from customers would have saved them.
      It's actually quite an interesting read on how they failed.

      The core principle of your argument is sound though.
    • Report Post
    • Never heard of them. Do they sell the same clothes from China/Bangladesh/Cambodia that everyone else sells, or is there something unique about them?
    • Report Post
    • they make nice looking clothes but i've never bought anything from there despite going into their sherway store every so often over the years. i just rather get similar looking stuff at banana republic/j crew for what i consider (just my opinion) the better deal
    • Report Post
    • I'm a huge fan of this store. All my work clothes are from here. Of course, only buy clearance or 50% off but I know the exact size and fit when I walk in.
    • Report Post
    • Never heard of them.
    • Report Post
    • Another retailer bites the Canadian dust. Just when you think Canadian retail might be stabilising or something...nope. Just more retailers closing. Granted I never bought anything there so it's not really that big a deal to me, but still.

      The ones I'm still shocked are still going are The Bay and Sears though...I just don't get that. Like who shops there [regularly] other than retired people? I bought something recently at Sears (the electric blanket clearance) but prior to that it must have been--appliances. I guess that's what keeps Sears going actually; last time I walked through I noticed they had signs they were Canada's #1 appliance seller. Makes sense I guess. The Bay though, I think the last time I bought anything there was...I really don't have a clue, it's been so long. They've always just been "how to get in the mall" places, never anything more.
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    • ES_Revenge wrote:
      May 7th, 2017 11:58 am
      Another retailer bites the Canadian dust. Just when you think Canadian retail might be stabilising or something...nope. Just more retailers closing. Granted I never bought anything there so it's not really that big a deal to me, but still.

      The ones I'm still shocked are still going are The Bay and Sears though...I just don't get that. Like who shops there [regularly] other than retired people? I bought something recently at Sears (the electric blanket clearance) but prior to that it must have been--appliances. I guess that's what keeps Sears going actually; last time I walked through I noticed they had signs they were Canada's #1 appliance seller. Makes sense I guess. The Bay though, I think the last time I bought anything there was...I really don't have a clue, it's been so long. They've always just been "how to get in the mall" places, never anything more.
      In The Bay's hayday (1980s & 1990s) after the demise of Eaton's & Simpsons, and other regional Dept Stores, The Bay was truly a great place to shop. They owned Zellers, and hand-in-hand the two were the biggest players in the Cdn marketplace. Back then the burbs was where you found Zellers (which had in its own right become a mini Dept Store) and The Bay an anchor in most major malls is where you went for more selection and more upscale purchases (small appliances, brand name / designer clothing / good quality housewares / linens / dishes etc). They were booming. Sears was their head-to-head competition (often at the other end of the mall) and having a hard time keeping up... Except for their "push" which was with Appliances, Tvs, Electronics, Watches, Jewellery, Tools, Outdoor Stuff (Patio Furniture, Lawnmowers, BBQs) and Furniture (including Baby Stuff). Sears to this day maintains this base of items.

      The Bay on the other hand gutted their stores in the last 10 Years. They followed what I call "the empty space" model of marketing. They also cut down on Customer Service / Employees when they redesigned their stores by implementing a central cashier (along the escalators on each floor) vs Centres in each department of the store staffed by folks who knew the merchandise in their sector. Now even though there is less stuff for sale ... NO ONE KNOWS NOTHING. At the same time they gutted their merchandise selection so much, and went so far upscale fr the average consumer by bringing in more Designer names (Gluckstein - Ivanka etc) that they lost those who were their long established customer base. Now most people I know look but don't buy (or don't go in at all) cause they've been disappointed by the cost (in addition to everything else going on there).

      Even their longstanding Cosmetics & Perfume counters are suffering... As the likes of Shoppers now carry more & more of the big brands that once upon a time could only be got at a Department Store.

      Unless The Bay goes back to their old far more successful model (or just looks to how Macy's their US pal works, with something for everybody)... IMO they are doomed for sure.
    • Report Post
    • Bay hasn't had centralized cashiers for a long time now. Guess they realized it did more harm than good. That said I shop at the bay regularly for kids clothes that are on cleareance. Get brand name quality clothes instead of crap from Gymboree, Walmart etc.
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    • The bay stopped investing in maintenance and upgrades in their stores before the zellers banner folded.

      Have a close look around any of their locations, carpet held with duct tape, water stained ceilings, beat up counters and merch displays, disgusting 20 year old washrooms, 10 year old pos equipment, apathetic untrained staff, etc etc.

      They stopped caring around the same time it became obvious Sears was going to be an eventual failure. That was almost 10 years ago, and have stayed open longer than I would have expected.
    • Report Post
    • I honestly have never heard of this place.
      I don't recall ever seeing or hearing any TV or radio ads.
      Were the 17 Canadian locations just women's clothing? The article Op posted shows an Express Men store...
    • Report Post
    • playnicee1 wrote:
      May 8th, 2017 2:26 am
      I honestly have never heard of this place.
      I don't recall ever seeing or hearing any TV or radio ads.
      Were the 17 Canadian locations just women's clothing? The article Op posted shows an Express Men store...
      They are quite big in the US ... Especially for Women's Wear. Of their 17 Stores in Canada... 2 were in BC - 4 in Alberta - and 11 in Ontario (10 of which were in the Toronto / Golden Horseshoe). No stores in Quebec. Honestly, I had no idea they were even here in Canada.
    • Report Post
    • I've literally never heard of this company. Never seen a single store in Toronto. Maybe if they weren't hiding their stores, they wouldn't be shutting down?
    • Report Post
    • PointsHubby wrote:
      May 8th, 2017 4:31 am
      They are quite big in the US ... Especially for Women's Wear. Of their 17 Stores in Canada... 2 were in BC - 4 in Alberta - and 11 in Ontario (10 of which were in the Toronto / Golden Horseshoe). No stores in Quebec. Honestly, I had no idea they were even here in Canada.
      Exactly the point well made. They deserve to go out of business. They failed to even care to let people know they exist.
    • Report Post
    • death_hawk wrote:
      May 6th, 2017 4:21 am
      This one particular example is terrible though.
      Target was doomed from the beginning. No amount of support from customers would have saved them.
      It's actually quite an interesting read on how they failed.

      The core principle of your argument is sound though.
      http://www.canadianbusiness.com/the-las ... et-canada/
    • Report Post
    • They offer a variety of colors for the same fit so it's good for weddings when you are trying to get a specific color scheme. It's too bad.... I've only been two or three times tho.
    • Report Post
    • I'm kinda surprised many people haven't heard of Express in Toronto since they have stores in the majors malls as well as the PATH.

      I'm upset that they're leaving. Almost my entire work wardrobe is from Express - pants, blazers, skirts, sweaters, tops, etc. They have some great sales throughout the year, especially on Black Friday and Boxing Day at 50%. Guess l'll have to use the remaining money on my gift card asap.
    • Report Post
    • onexeyed wrote:
      May 8th, 2017 9:28 pm
      I'm kinda surprised many people haven't heard of Express in Toronto since they have stores in the majors malls as well as the PATH.

      I'm upset that they're leaving. Almost my entire work wardrobe is from Express - pants, blazers, skirts, sweaters, tops, etc. They have some great sales throughout the year, especially on Black Friday and Boxing Day at 50%. Guess l'll have to use the remaining money on my gift card asap.
      Did you ever buy their stuff at regular price or always waited for a big sale? Everyone that shops there talks about getting big discounts so I'm wondering if people only bought their sale items.
    • Report Post
    • onexeyed wrote:
      May 8th, 2017 9:28 pm
      I'm kinda surprised many people haven't heard of Express in Toronto since they have stores in the majors malls as well as the PATH.

      I'm upset that they're leaving. Almost my entire work wardrobe is from Express - pants, blazers, skirts, sweaters, tops, etc. They have some great sales throughout the year, especially on Black Friday and Boxing Day at 50%. Guess l'll have to use the remaining money on my gift card asap.
      I'm extremely surprised by this thread. Express was in almost every major mall, and they had great clothes for office settings.

      But seeing comments saying they buy their clothes at Costco and Walmart makes me understand a bit more.
    • Report Post
    • onexeyed wrote:
      May 8th, 2017 9:28 pm
      I'm kinda surprised many people haven't heard of Express in Toronto since they have stores in the majors malls as well as the PATH.
      Assuming that translates to malls in Vancouver, that's probably why I haven't heard of them.
      I also never go to malls.
    • Report Post
    • sk1001 wrote:
      May 5th, 2017 1:42 pm
      another american retailer closing ..

      thig isn't good as one of the reasons is the low loonie.. that is what happens when bank of canada wants lower loonie
      Good..we don't want foreign companies here...that includes Americans
    • Report Post
    • Doubleshot wrote:
      May 9th, 2017 10:55 pm
      Good..we don't want foreign companies here...that includes Americans
      right.. cause we have so many canadian companies.. and made in canada products..
    • Report Post