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Zellers is Back – Hudson's Bay Opens New Zellers Pop-Up in Burlington

Zellers is Back – Hudson's Bay Opens New Zellers Pop-Up in Burlington

By Simon Hung

Hudson's Bay Company is reviving one of the most beloved brands in Canadian retail history, as the chain has opened a new Zellers pop-up inside their Hudson's Bay location at Burlington Centre Mall in Ontario – the Burlington Centre store page even mentions "Zellers" as something they carry.

As reported by Retail Insider, the pop-up was originally opened in August on the second floor of the Hudson's Bay store, complete with Zellers signage and red decor throughout the section. The pop-up features a mostly-uninteresting assortment of products, including Canada-branded apparel, bedding, housewares and toys.

Inside the Zellers pop-up at Burlington Centre Mall (image via Reddit).

According to a Hudson's Bay spokesperson, the Zellers pop-up is meant to provide a "fun and nostalgic experience" for customers and more pop-ups could open at other Hudson's Bay locations in the future, but no specific details were provided.

Zellers is one of the most iconic retail brands in Canada, as the discount chain once operated over 300 stores across the country into the late-1990s. That number dwindled to 64 in 2011 after 220 stores were sold to Target for their ill-fated expansion into Canada, then to just two in 2013.

Zellers operated two standalone stores until January 2020 (Etobicoke location pictured).

The last two standalone Zellers stores – one in Etobicoke, ON and one in Nepean, ON – operated in relative obscurity as liquidation outlets until they were closed for good in January 2020, with Hudson's Bay Company retaining the rights to the brand. We visited the 95,000 square-foot Etobicoke location back in 2017 – click here to read about the visit and see what the store had to offer.

While Zellers stores are effectively extinct, the Zellers brand still maintains a loyal following on social media, with Canadians reminiscing about Zeddy the bear mascot, The Skillet in-store diner and other Zellers-related shopping experiences whenever the brand becomes a trending topic.

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Source: Retail Insider

39 Comments

    • But more importantly, when's the Zellers restaurant coming back?
    • Report Post
    • Looks FANTASTIC …

      And exactly the stuff that Zellers was most known for

      Clothing, Housewares, and Kids Toys !

      We definitely lived in a Zellers house back in the 80s & 90s

      Target’s acquisition ruined everything … would love to see Zellers make a comeback. Give Cdns more choice than just Walmart … which has become very arrogant / complacent as the last 20 years have rolled on
    • Report Post
    • TomRFD wrote: But more importantly, when's the Zellers restaurant coming back?
      Lol, or MIDNIGHT MADNESS … and Balloon Drops!
    • Report Post
    • Looks very uninspiring. They could at least update the logo. Seems like someone found some old shelves, racks, and banners and said, "Let's see if this sticks."

      What's the logic here? The Bay is supposedly a luxury goods department store. Sell discount merchandise inside a luxury goods store, but continue to pay expensive rent?
    • Report Post
    • PointsHubby wrote:
      Lol, or MIDNIGHT MADNESS … and Balloon Drops!
      They should definitely do that. The nostalgia alone would drive in a lot of people.
      Spinner wrote: Looks very uninspiring. They could at least update the logo. Seems like someone found some old shelves, racks, and banners and said, "Let's see if this sticks."

      What's the logic here? The Bay is supposedly a luxury goods department store. Sell discount merchandise inside a luxury goods store, but continue to pay expensive rent?
      I think keeping the original look and retro logo is the only way this works. The store within a store concept is pretty popular so I could see this working. Who knows how far they plan on going with this though. I'd love to see them put out some Zellers exclusive branded goods.
    • Report Post
    • Won't last. This is The Bay, stuck in big box retail space, trying to fill that space. They are not a big box store anymore but they seem to be the only one's that don't know this.

      Zellers will fail where they failed before and where Target failed: distribution. They could never keep the shelves stocked properly. Always confusion and mismanaged.
    • Report Post
    • Love the original look and retro logo, would be nice to see a few stand alone stores open i think they could find a footing in todays market as market conditions have changed so much over the years.
    • Report Post
    • Bring back Club Z points, i still have merch from the points.
    • Report Post
    • Quentin5 wrote: Bring back Club Z points, i still have merch from the points.
      Ya the program that started it all as far as Loyalty Programs in Canada
      Got our KitchenAid Pro Mixer c/o Zellers @ HBC
    • Report Post
    • It's funny. When Target announced it was coming, we were all overjoyed. We all thought it would be a better replacement for Zellers, and it if was anything like US Target, it would have been. Fast forward through the debacle that was Target Canada and now we have no Target AND no Zellers.

      I would love to have Zellers back!
    • Report Post
    • I always found Zellers fun to walk through, since it was sort of always a mess. You could sometimes just find that video game, that was 10 years old stuck behind some old shelf. It was like a weird treasure hunt sometimes.

      Probably indicated they were terribly disorganized, but when the kids were young alot of their clothing was actually pretty decent for the price. Much more than walmart crap.

      Overall, they had an OK mix of products, and we bought lots of things from them over the years. If this is just the bay, with some different logos it's not going to hold up.
    • Report Post
    • All i got to say is cucumber...
    • Report Post
    • They should just re-open a chain of zellers restaurants, that would be more than sufficient
    • Report Post
    • Spinner wrote: Looks very uninspiring. They could at least update the logo.
      It's fine the way it is. I'm glad they did not mess with the classic image & look.
    • Report Post
    • TomRFD wrote: I think keeping the original look and retro logo is the only way this works. The store within a store concept is pretty popular so I could see this working. Who knows how far they plan on going with this though. I'd love to see them put out some Zellers exclusive branded goods.
      You end up attracting the same old crowd, which is getting smaller every day. Anybody born in the past 25 years won't have any nostalgia and will see it as some unknown business selling cheap goods (who buys apparel with "Canada" on it except for tourists?).

      Store within a store works only when selling things that are worth a physical trip to the store. Apparel with a big Canada emblem and toys that can be purchased from Amazon aren't it.
    • Report Post
    • playnicee1 wrote: It's fine the way it is. I'm glad they did not mess with the classic image & look.
      Excellent post/signature synergy 😎
    • Report Post
    • TomRFD wrote: But more importantly, when's the Zellers restaurant coming back?
      I like to think the hot dog roller machine has still been running with the very same hot dogs in some warehouse or basement somewhere all this time.

      Image
    • Report Post
    • Spinner wrote: You end up attracting the same old crowd, which is getting smaller every day. Anybody born in the past 25 years won't have any nostalgia and will see it as some unknown business selling cheap goods (who buys apparel with "Canada" on it except for tourists?).

      Store within a store works only when selling things that are worth a physical trip to the store. Apparel with a big Canada emblem and toys that can be purchased from Amazon aren't it.
      FYI … Nostalgia is a thing
      A BIG THING when it comes to sales

      Teens in the 70s … wanted to reflect on the 50s (often before their birth years too)
      Hence the success of American Graffiti - Happy Days - Lavern & Shirley

      Same for kids of the 90s … looking at the 70s
      That 70s Show - The Wonder Years

      Here we are about to hit the 2020s …

      Makes sense that folks are gonna reflect on decades 20 to 40 years ago
      1980s to early 2000s
      Are the NEW it

      Just look at fashion …
      Women are wearing those ridiculous looking high wasted Mom jeans
      My SO … shaking head … and wonders WHAT THE H3LL DID WE THINK WAS EVER ATTRACTIVE ABOUT THESE
      They literally suit NO ONES BODY TYPE
      And yet today’s teens / young adults / 20 somethings are flocking to them

      Definitely believe Zellers could make a go of it again …
      If they focus on the stuff people recall fondly

      As the saying goes “Everything old is new again “

      And for the younger generation … it’s all new to them
      Hence the fascination
    • Report Post
    • I hope that Hudson Bay Company will re open a Zellers on the South Shore of Montreal again..
      I've worked for Zellers for 8yrs and was sad to close the store I worked for. I've been wishing for it to come back..
      Loved that store shopped there before I was hired there.
      Please open that store again.
      Thanks
    • Report Post
    • I read this few days ago, went there a couple of days ago. I wish it was happening in better circumstances, say when the CDN bucks was equal to the green one.
    • Report Post
    • esfandiyar2002 wrote: I read this few days ago, went there a couple of days ago. I wish it was happening in better circumstances, say when the CDN bucks was equal to the green one.
      What does this even mean ?

      The Bay in question is in Burlington ONTARIO … the Zellers pop up is inside The Bay

      No US Dollars involved.

      If you are talking economic climate in general … then you should have said that, and elaborated on that point.
    • Report Post
    • PointsHubby wrote: What does this even mean ?
      PointsHubby wrote: If you are talking economic climate in general … then you should have said that, and elaborated on that point.
      😂 Glad you did it! :)

      The point is when the dollar to dollar comparison kicks in, and if you have any background experience of those era when Royal $ was equal to Republic $, you would easily notice lots of things have been changed for worse: The quality has been dropped, the shrinkflation has been kicked in, the price tag has been jacked up, the product variation has been reduced, the wages have not been gone up, and the like. But we are still so happy to see Zellers has come back, eh?! Hands down!😉
    • Report Post
    • Only the older folks liked Zellers. I hated it.
    • Report Post
  • tew
    • esfandiyar2002 wrote: 😂 Glad you did it! :)

      The point is when the dollar to dollar comparison kicks in, and if you have any background experience of those era when Royal $ was equal to Republic $, you would easily notice lots of things have been changed for worse: The quality has been dropped, the shrinkflation has been kicked in, the price tag has been jacked up, the product variation has been reduced, the wages have not been gone up, and the like. But we are still so happy to see Zellers has come back, eh?! Hands down!😉
      So your statement has nothing to do with the effects of the different values of the two currencies. It's a reference point for a time when products were better made, larger, cheaper, etc. Basically you wish this happened in 2013/2014 instead of 2021.
    • Report Post
    • Spinner wrote: Looks very uninspiring. They could at least update the logo. Seems like someone found some old shelves, racks, and banners and said, "Let's see if this sticks."

      What's the logic here? The Bay is supposedly a luxury goods department store. Sell discount merchandise inside a luxury goods store, but continue to pay expensive rent?
      This. And it made me almost sad to see HBC merch being sold in what was essentially a bargain store. Mid-range would've been Sears, but just one step above dollar stores were Zellers and Woolco.
    • Report Post
    • seaker wrote: This.
      And it made me almost sad to see HBC merch being sold in what was essentially a bargain store.
      Mid-range would've been Sears, but just one step above dollar stores were Zellers and Woolco.
      HBC Merch sold in a bargain store ?

      Back in the day these 2 stores were very much separate identities … with different goods.

      HBC acquired Zellers in 1981. It was at the time the largest Retailer in Canada … infact originally it was Zellers looking to acquire HBC … but HBC Execs saw Zellers potential as a nice balance to their own Department Store. HBC being mid range to upscale, and Zellers everyday to mid range.

      Oh how the tables have turned again …

      Zellers officially is no more … having been sold off / bankrupted by Target.

      But here we are today with HBC on rocky ground … and the defunct Zellers could potentially rise again to fill that everyday to mid range spot it once held … a lot more effectively than HBC ever reinventing itself as an everyday store

      For now … I think the pop up makes sense

      Whether Zellers rises from the ashes, to save HBC … well that’s yet to be seen

      But I wouldn’t say it’s impossible … even if for now it’s just a nostalgic idea
    • Report Post
    • Spinner wrote:
      You end up attracting the same old crowd, which is getting smaller every day. Anybody born in the past 25 years won't have any nostalgia and will see it as some unknown business selling cheap goods (who buys apparel with "Canada" on it except for tourists?).

      Store within a store works only when selling things that are worth a physical trip to the store. Apparel with a big Canada emblem and toys that can be purchased from Amazon aren't it.
      Huh? When didn't it sell cheap goods? It's the Canadian version K-Mart, Target, etc.
      carmaster wrote: Only the older folks liked Zellers. I hated it.
      I never liked it either never shopped there either...I don't like The Bay either though.
    • Report Post
    • Spinner wrote: You end up attracting the same old crowd, which is getting smaller every day. Anybody born in the past 25 years won't have any nostalgia and will see it as some unknown business selling cheap goods (who buys apparel with "Canada" on it except for tourists?).
      I would link the Trailer Park Boys video where they grab a rocket kit from Zellers here if it were not for the f*bombs...

      We may not have no name chicken chips anymore but the young'uns know about them from media, same with Zellers.
    • Report Post
    • Parents used to take us to several different Zellers and considered all to be discount stores like Wmt, Tgt.

      But there was one location that just had a different vibe to it... larger, brighter, huge electronics and of course restaurant. They even had grocery section and everything nicely maintained.

      Few years later vacationing in US and was like deja vu... Went to a Tgt and seemed a replica of Zellers above.

      Think they really could have done better even survived by keeping it fresh just like that one location I vividly remember.
    • Report Post
    • georvu wrote: Parents used to take us to several different Zellers and considered all to be discount stores like Wmt, Tgt.

      But there was one location that just had a different vibe to it... larger, brighter, huge electronics and of course restaurant. They even had grocery section and everything nicely maintained.

      Few years later vacationing in US and was like deja vu... Went to a Tgt and seemed a replica of Zellers above.

      Think they really could have done better even survived by keeping it fresh just like that one location I vividly remember.
      Lol, I forgot about this …

      Some stores added more grocery items … beyond just snack foods .. that was like in the early 2000s

      Long before Walmart did the same … yup Zellers was ahead of the curve
      .
      .
      .
      A lot of folks on RFD mention the unorganized / cluttered look of Zellers … or stock issues etc

      I think this depends on which decade you recall the chain from … things definitely got worse as time wore on (under Target especially)

      But in its hey day of the 1980s & 90s … it was an awesome store. Of course some locations were bigger, better, brighter, more organized / less crowded floor plans than others (or Mgmt cared more)
    • Report Post
    • Food at Zellers near the end was pretty grim. Their cereal aisle was a museum full of boxes with expired contests & promotions & they had 3 brands of white 2kg sugar at 3 different prices. Every other store known to mankind has 1 sugar supplier, Redpath, Lantic, whaever but not everybody. I actually called in to complain about the state of their groceries & got someone surprisingly higher up, who sounded panicked. Within days they gave it up. I feel like I got a taste of the excitement of that moment. It was a shock because I was just feeling mouthy that day & got somebody who could theoretically do something for a change. I gave an executive some real-time feedback & BOOM.
    • Report Post
    • The Hudson Bay Stores in Canada are the most disgusting, dirty, dusty, filthy, falling apart, duct tape holding rugs together and 3rd world bathrooms for customers department store chain in all of North America. There isn't a more disgusting and dirty store to shop in. I need a lysol bath after visiting a Hudson's Bay store in Canada, gross.
    • Report Post
    • hierophant wrote: Huh? When didn't it sell cheap goods? It's the Canadian version K-Mart, Target, etc.
      I'm aware of that. Zellers = low price brand name stuff. Bay = semi-luxury.

      The Bay is desperately trying to transform itself into a luxury shopping store by attracting Chinese students/PRs, basically the type of crowd that visits Holt and comes out with >$1,000 of merchandise.

      Image

      This Zellers pop up goes the complete opposite of that grand strategy. Zellers died because the moms in the 90s aged and the company couldn't attract Gen X moms. This so-called Zellers takes Canada logo apparel and puts it behind a red line. It hurts The Bay and doesn't do anything for the Zellers brand.
    • Report Post
    • realog wrote: The Hudson Bay Stores in Canada are the most disgusting, dirty, dusty, filthy, falling apart, duct tape holding rugs together and 3rd world bathrooms for customers department store chain in all of North America. There isn't a more disgusting and dirty store to shop in. I need a lysol bath after visiting a Hudson's Bay store in Canada, gross.
      I seriously believe a lot of this depends on which store where

      I have been to several HBCs this past year or two
      In different cities / provinces
      And for the most part
      They are in good repair
      And certainly not dirty

      Care to share, which ones you have found lacking
    • Report Post
    • Spinner wrote: I'm aware of that. Zellers = low price brand name stuff. Bay = semi-luxury.

      The Bay is desperately trying to transform itself into a luxury shopping store by attracting Chinese students/PRs, basically the type of crowd that visits Holt and comes out with >$1,000 of merchandise.

      Image

      This Zellers pop up goes the complete opposite of that grand strategy. Zellers died because the moms in the 90s aged and the company couldn't attract Gen X moms. This so-called Zellers takes Canada logo apparel and puts it behind a red line. It hurts The Bay and doesn't do anything for the Zellers brand.
      Huh ???

      Zellers died cuz it got sold off by a then desperate HBC to Target USA … for a lot of bucks

      Target saw it as an easy gateway into Canada … utilizing a similar well known successful brand to rebrand as Target Canada

      Unfortunately the folks at Target did ZERO RESEARCH INTO WHAT MADE CDN CONSUMERS DIFFERENT FROM AMERICANS … and so cuz of a lack of prep work on their part

      Target Canada FAILED

      Zellers never failed … it just got chewed up by a clueless buy out agreement

      Fortunately for HBC … they sold the Co. But, they never sold the brand name … hence a now again desperate HBC can look back to what worked in the past and have these pop ups

      Note … I don’t deny was Zellers was having a tough time holding its own against Walmart Canada who had arrived here in 1994 … they were neck & neck with market share by 1998

      https://www.cbc.ca/archives/the-240m-de ... -1.5443333

      And it & parent HBC were in those early years struggling to fight off the big new American giant that Cdns were flocking to as the NEW THING IN TOWN and their huge big box stores vs Zellers traditional position as a mall anchor. But even more than all that … Zellers biggest issue was the poor Mgmt at HBC … who had over extended themselves with the acquisition of pretty much every other Cdn discount dept store chain there was at the time … Towers / Bonimart - Woodward’s - Kmart etc … all in 184 stores bought in a short time frame … taking Zellers up to 350 stores in Canada. HBC was literally bleeding money by the time Target USA came along. This sell off was literally made to save HBC Canada’s iconic dept store brand … The Bay

      Today, HBC is once again bleeding money … and looking for new ways to stay afloat.
      But once again they seem to be disorganized and trying to be too many things at once …

      It would be however truly ironic if one of the things that saves them going forward is a relaunch of Zellers.

      Personally I think it might just be the right time. The Cdn market is devoid these days of much in the way of a discount dept store … save for Walmart. The Cdn consumers other choices are Cdn Tire - Giant Tiger - and Dollarama. Other than Cdn Tire (which is notoriously over priced unless somethings on sale) not much available here in Canada any longer for general merchandise for the middle income family … which also is why TJ Maxx Group Canada (Winners, HomeSense & Marshalls) are doing so well.
    • Report Post
    • Spinner wrote: I'm aware of that. Zellers = low price brand name stuff. Bay = semi-luxury.

      The Bay is desperately trying to transform itself into a luxury shopping store...
      I have to stop you right there because Bay owns Saks fifth avenue.
      While Zellers makes effort to try and be better than Giant Tiger for quality,
      they can't go too high with quality because it would defeat the purpose of shopping at the Bay...Bay can't up anything for the same reason...They can't afford to lose Sak's customers.

      So now, there's a low, middle and high end combo once again.
      What I want to know is, will Zellers carry only Orange Tab Levi jeans while Bay carries the red tab and Sak's carries the gold tab?
      It's been my favourite example for years. Levi's does not actually made a gold tab, but it is a great example of my point.
    • Report Post
    • Almost 30 years ago, I remembered going to a Zellers and opening some Halloween make up and smearing it all over some costumes. I was probably 7-10 yrs old. The under cover security caught me and brought me in for questioning or whatever it was. I had also shoplifted some things that day too but he didn’t catch that.
      He let me go with a warning and not to come into the store for a year. I can’t believe I still remember his face. He kind of looked like Elvis Stoijko (sp?).

      A year or so later, I was back but he didn’t recognize me. I literally saw him browsing in the women's lingerie section doing his undercover work again.

      Zellers mascot was a big brown teddy bear right?
    • Report Post
    • PointsHubby wrote: Huh ???

      Zellers died cuz it got sold off by a then desperate HBC to Target USA … for a lot of bucks

      Zellers never failed … it just got chewed up by a clueless buy out agreement

      Personally I think it might just be the right time. The Cdn market is devoid these days of much in the way of a discount dept store … save for Walmart. The Cdn consumers other choices are Cdn Tire - Giant Tiger - and Dollarama. Other than Cdn Tire (which is notoriously over priced unless somethings on sale) not much available here in Canada any longer for general merchandise for the middle income family … which also is why TJ Maxx Group Canada (Winners, HomeSense & Marshalls) are doing so well.
      And what motivated HBC to sell Zellers? Because it was dying. Walmart had arrived and when they started selling groceries, it was the end of Zellers. Loblaws adapted by adding general merchandise. Moms and families had no reason to go Zellers.

      The Canadian market has changed drastically in the past 25 years. There's no room for another discount dept store like Zellers. Want cheap brand name clothing for the kids? Go to Gap or Old Navy outlets. Those didn't exist in the 90s. Want a cheap coffee maker or rice cooker or pillow? Buy it from Real Canadian Superstore/Loblaws/Zehrs. For everything else, there's Walmart, Amazon, and TJX Companies.
    • Report Post