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Zellers is Making a Comeback in 2023

Zellers is Making a Comeback in 2023

By Simon Hung

A familiar name is coming back to Canadian retail next year, as Hudson's Bay Company plans to revive Zellers in 2023.

In a statement, HBC announced that a new Zellers e-commerce website – Zellers.ca – will launch in early-2023 with apparel, furniture, home décor, housewares, pet accessories, small appliances and toys, along with a new Zellers house-brand. In addition, the company will expand Zellers' brick-and-mortar footprint inside Hudson's Bay stores, similar to the Zellers pop-up spaces in Burlington, Ontario and Anjou, Quebec that opened last year.

Hudson's Bay did not specify how many brick-and-mortar Zellers they plan to open, but the company noted that they plan to have a presence in most major cities across Canada.

"We know how special Zellers is in the hearts and minds of people in Canada," said Zellers Chief Business Officer Adam Powell. "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."

The revival of Zellers comes over a decade after the brand became effectively extinct in Canada, after the chain sold off most of their store leases to Target Corporation in 2013 for their doomed Canadian expansion. Despite its decline, the brand still maintains a loyal following and routinely surfaces as a trending topic on social media.

Hudson's Bay has also noted that the Zellers revival will come with a "refreshed identity" for the brand and it's unknown if Zellers' beloved mascot Zeddy will be part of the revival. The bear was last seen in 2012 after being abandoned in the Canadian wilderness and could not be reached for comment.

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Source: Hudson's Bay Company

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    • Well I hope they're going to have a good plus size section because I always bought my pants there since I couldn't find anything acceptable in Walmart then you go and close and I can't find pants anymore that aren't too hot. So I'm glad I hope the clothes will be similar to what you were getting before cuz I could always find something there if I didn't at Walmart and then having the the choices taken away has made finding clothing very difficult I ended up having to buy men's sweatpants at Walmart just to have something warm but not sweaty during the winter cuz I don't like those pants that are made out of the hot stretchy material and cost a small Fortune. Some sense finally. They sold tender Tootsie shoes there too and one time I bought a $35 pair that was more comfortable than a $250 pair I had and I can't afford that much for shoes.
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    • It won't be the same as the old stores, simply because the quality of general merchandise from China has declined in an effort to reduce price and raise profit. We'll get containers full of inexpensive goods that will compete with Canadian Tire and Dollarama quality-wise, mixed with low end electronics and cheap clothing from Cambodia and Bangladesh.
      I’m by no means a fashion expert but isn’t high end clothing also manufacture in those countries too
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    • Someone in Branding or Marketing had this idea and pitched it. In a room full of empty ideas, this one stood out and the executives said "sounds like a great idea". Can only hope there is a solid business plan for this. I don't see myself going to a Zellers. I hardly ever go to the Bay or even shop its online version.
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    • It won't be the same as the old stores, simply because the quality of general merchandise from China has declined in an effort to reduce price and raise profit. We'll get containers full of inexpensive goods that will compete with Canadian Tire and Dollarama quality-wise, mixed with low end electronics and cheap clothing from Cambodia and Bangladesh.
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    • I don’t really have nostalgia for zellers.. mine was so weird. Always had weird bootleg dvds and boxed n64 and gbc games and accessories and this was the mid 2000s... also when I was high school my friend worked there and he’d always steal stuff from the back because there was absolutely no oversight
      Exactly!! bring it [email protected][email protected]!
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    • I don’t really have nostalgia for zellers.. mine was so weird. Always had weird bootleg dvds and boxed n64 and gbc games and accessories and this was the mid 2000s... also when I was high school my friend worked there and he’d always steal stuff from the back because there was absolutely no oversight
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    • If they're going to relaunch Zellers, then they need to do it right: bring back Zeddy Bear and make sure the stuffed bears are on sale in the toy department, revive the TRULY line of products, bring back those great candy boxes Zellers used to sell by the pallet (Neilson Will-o-Paks and Hershey Snacking Boxes).
    • Report Post
    • So, I don't get it... they will make a corner on a Hudson's Bay store depressing, with dusty shelves and dirty floors, and hire crusty employees just for the section, so it feels like we got Zellers back?
      They won't need to hire, they'll just put their current crustiest employees there.
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    • Zellers inside a HBC??? It will be a tiny little section with cheap stuff, and that's about it. Like I'm going to be clamoring over Zellers stuff....
    • Report Post
    • Canadians are excited about the return of Zellers next year – but why?

      Canadians excited about Zellers return
      https://youtu.be/VJU-d-gNqsg
      "kitschy factor" lol.

      That means more along the lines of Canadian Olympic & tourist "CANADA!" merchandise. I truly hope not. I really wish we had the stylishness of Target in discount up here.
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    • people only go there once to take Instagram pictures and go back to WM for shopping.
      I fully expect this is disappear real soon.
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  • mbg
    • This is nothing but news media latching on to an HBC public relations stunt. The only reason it got widespread attention is because headlines have a click-bait-ish nostalgia factor. Watch nothing actually come of this, despite all the hype.

      I also found it thoroughly amusing that BNN Bloomberg decided to interview a former Sears Canada CEO, to get "insights" into this Zellers news: https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/zellers-rev ... -1.1807022
      They should have asked the now 'professor' when we can expect Hudson's Bay to finally hit the dirt.
      Agree. They keep referring to Zellers as a discount or "off-price" store without mentioning that the previous pop-up was basically a way to sell stuff that had the Zellers colour scheme (i.e. stuff that is red) at HBC prices. It had nothing to do with Zellers, but most people won't care because they'll never go... and it gets the HBC name and stores into the media.

      Nothing sold at a store within a store at HBC is going to be "discount" unless it's literally on the clearance rack.

      It's also not surprising that they have formed an association with MEC, which was recently bought up by a private equity company. Both are going to be looking for ways to sell on the reputation of these brands that people have some nostalgia at higher prices for lower quality.

      It's the same pattern that happened with Tim Hortons after being bought up by QSR and has happened countless other times that some shell company buys reputable brands to start selling dollar store stuff at brand-name prices for as long as possible until people figure out that they're not getting what they think they're getting.
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    • unless they understand what they are doing they are just banking on nostalgia which won't work for long.
      yup! people are just in love with the memory of what Zellers was. unless there's something new and unique about it, most people will stop by once and then never go back. lots of buzz at first but then itll fizzle out fast.
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    • This is nothing but news media latching on to an HBC public relations stunt. The only reason it got widespread attention is because headlines have a click-bait-ish nostalgia factor. Watch nothing actually come of this, despite all the hype.

      I also found it thoroughly amusing that BNN Bloomberg decided to interview a former Sears Canada CEO, to get "insights" into this Zellers news: https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/zellers-rev ... -1.1807022
      They should have asked the now 'professor' when we can expect Hudson's Bay to finally hit the dirt.
    • Report Post
    • The real question is how on earth is The Bay still in business? Apart from several key locations that might be generating a profit, I'm sure the lot of them are lame ducks. Someone's got deep pockets keeping this titanic afloat, perhaps the losses are used for tax purposes just like what Warner Bros. is doing in the US.
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    • I don't get it - I went to the pop-up Zellers location in the Burlington Mall Bay a few months back and it was pathetic - literally just a few items spread across the shelf (a few tshirts, towels, etc.) Has this changed? Did it get better? Seems like more of a token thought to get people in on the nostalgia and not a true attempt at bringing back a store (even on a smaller scale).
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    • Zellers sucked. Towers FTW
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    • The other issue here is that Zellers was not that competitive with Walmart to begin with and was often more expensive. So if they're so going to be planning to run their business this way and after the nostalgia factor has died down, they may be back to the reason why they had shut down their stores in the first place.

      I remember before the end of their existence Zellers had gotten rid of their lowest price is the law guarantee that they so proudly promoted for years. I'm sure that helped.
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    • Zellers died becasue it went stale.
      Bringing it back won't fix that on its own, unless they understand what they are doing they are just banking on nostalgia which won't work for long.
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    • The problem with resurrecting the Zellers brand is that Walmart has used up pretty much all the oxygen. It's extremely difficult to let a business die--HBC sold the leases to most locations to Target, and didn't even keep a small national operation going under the Zellers name--and then try to resurrect it. It's even MORE difficult when the business has been defunct for almost a decade: the last "real" Zellers (as opposed to an HBC clearance centre operating under the Zellers name) closed in 2013.

      What used to differentiate Zellers from Walmart is that they tended to be in major shopping centres whereas Walmart was more of a strip plaza/power centre retailer. This helped Zellers differentiate their customer base and aim at a slightly higher income consumer. Zellers had some VERY good locations--like Vancouver Oakridge, Coquitlam Centre, Calgary Chinook Centre, Erin Mills Town Centre, Ottawa Bayshore, Winnipeg Polo Park--in some of the top malls in the country. The bad news is that when Target died, Walmart took over a lot of those superior locations e.g. Coquitlam Centre, Erin Mills, Bayshore, Burnaby Metrotown, Edmonton Kingsway all now host a Walmart. So even the niche Zellers had is gone.

      Interestingly, the former Zellers/Target at Metrotown is now one of the top-producing Walmarts in terms of sales per square foot in B.C.
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    • Although some Bay locations are good: Yorkdale & Sherway and don’t need Zellers except to hock some nostalgia items to millennials.

      Other Bay locations are so run down and don’t fit into the local demographics, you might as well change the whole store over to a Zellers and sell only in house brands and clearance designer items.

      They should really bring back the outlet location on Queensway and attach a restaurant.
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    • Does this mean I can continue using Zellers points card?
      You've been able to earn Hudson's Bay Rewards points continuously with your Club Z number.
    • Report Post
    • Does this mean I can continue using Zellers points card?
    • Report Post
    • Let's bring back BiWay, Bargain Harolds, Towers, Consumers Distribution, Knob Hill Farms and Honest Eds. We can relive the 80s.
      I loved getting the new Consumers Distributing catalogues in the mail. Just like the Sears Wishbook. Ahhh memories...
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    • The company is also launching an e-commerce site for Zellers, the first time the off-price brand has ever sold goods online. The chain will sell product categories including housewares and furniture, toys, pet accessories and clothing, and Zellers will also launch products under a private-label brand.
      https://www.theglobeandmail.com/busines ... ay-stores/

      Based on IC trademarks DB, Hudson Bay wants to register "Zellers Marketplace" TM for its online platform
      Index headings
      ZELLERS MARKETPLACE
      MARKET PLACE

      Services (Nice class & Statement)
      35(1) Providing a web site whereby buyers of goods or services locate and receive quotations from multiple competitive sources and sellers of goods or services identify and bid on multiple new sales opportunities; on-line trading services to facilitate the sale of goods and services by others via a computer network; providing an online commercial information directory for sellers, producers and buyers; business services, namely, providing searchable computer databases regarding the purchase and sale of a wide variety of products and services of others, as well as the producers and sellers of those products; providing information about the goods and services of others via the global computer network; advertising and advertisement services
      Recordals (known also as Footnotes)
      CHANGE IN TITLE / CHANGEMENT EN TITRE:
      TYPE OF CHANGE / GENRE DE CHANGEMENT: Transfer / Transfert
      DATE REGISTERED / DATE DE L'ENREGISTREMENT: 2022-06-14
      DATE OF CHANGE / DATE DE CHANGEMENT: 2021-10-31
      COMMENTS / COMMENTAIRES: FROM: Hudson's Bay Company ULC
      TO: The Bay Limited Partnership
      However pre-assessment seems to indicate name may not go through? "Goods or Services Not Acceptable"

      https://www.ic.gc.ca/app/opic-cipo/trdm ... order=desc

      Also Real Estate services under Zellers Plaza?

      https://www.ic.gc.ca/app/opic-cipo/trdm ... order=desc
    • Report Post
    • Let's bring back BiWay, Bargain Harolds, Towers, Consumers Distribution, Knob Hill Farms and Honest Eds. We can relive the 80s.
    • Report Post
    • B4DDAEA2-36A8-478D-9B55-76C221006AF9.jpeg
      Hope they bring the Zeddy ride back!
    • Report Post
    • I wouldn't be surprised to see that if HBC can successfully ressurect the Zellers brand, that eventually it will move The Bay brand online only and/or create a small footprint for the The Bay to operate within the new Zellers for pickups, services, etc. since consumers are getting very price conscious.
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    • It's interesting to see what kind of things Zellers will sell. It's hard to think there is a Walmart inside Whole Food
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    • They should not have killed Zellers in the first place - GiantTiger took their place now in ON

      and my further guess....FutureShop will be next
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    • In other words, they're trying to compete with Walmart and Superstore.

      HBC location and rent selling discount merchandise. How could this fail?
      In order to compete with Walmart and Superstore, they may need a decent selection of groceries as well.
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    • Well they say they are going to make a big online push & they are going to be design-forward, so that's emulating Target.
    • Report Post
    • https://retail-insider.com/retail-insid ... exclusive/
      A “unique and exciting product assortment for families at everyday value” will be part of the mix, indicating that pricing for the Zellers stores will be at the lower-end similar to the previous Zellers stores that Canadians know from years ago.

      With that, a value-driven private-label brand will be launched at Zellers that will be “design-led” according to the Hudson’s Bay Company. The new Zellers will sell housewares and home décor, furniture, small appliances, toys, and pet accessories. Apparel will also be introduced along with other categories as time goes on with an assortment of products added to stores as they are developed.
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    • Desperate move to house other brands in-store, but given the performance of HBC retail, they have no other choice.
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    • I believe Hudson has to protect the brand since someone in Quebec is using it.
    • Report Post
    • So, I don't get it... they will make a corner on a Hudson's Bay store depressing, with dusty shelves and dirty floors, and hire crusty employees just for the section, so it feels like we got Zellers back?
    • Report Post
    • They've already tried shoehorning Zellers into The Bay and it failed. It will fail again because they will still have the same issues.

      I understand The Bay is desperate to offset some of their lease costs but this seems like throwing good money after a bad idea.
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