There’s no denying that 2015 was a rough year for Canadian retail. The loonie hit an all time low and many retailers (Canadian and International) filed for bankruptcy protection or pulled out of the market all together. While some retailers made major headlines, others have managed to slip out of the market unnoticed, including Hudson’s Bay.

The Canadian department store opened their first outlet location in August of 2013 at the Toronto Premium Outlets, stocking clearance items from their full-price locations. In August 2014, Hudson’s Bay announced the expansion of their outlet concept with a second location to open in Montreal the following October. A full year after their second location opened, Hudson’s Bay made another announcement. This time, announcing the closure of both Hudson’s Bay Outlet locations.

The news came as a surprise to customers. The outlet was a favourite among many – one yelp reviewer stated that it was ‘the only store worth going to at the Toronto Premium Outlets,’ another called the destination ‘the highlight’ of their trip. With all the success, many are asking why Hudson’s Bay would close their outlets. The answer? To execute an even larger off-price strategy.

Hudson’s Bay, which acquired Saks Fifth Avenue back in 2013, will be opening Saks Off 5th, the American department store’s discount store, in Hudson’s Bay outlet locations. Off 5th will open at Toronto Premium Outlets as well as the Tanger Outlets (Ottawa), Vaughan Mills (Toronto) and Outlet Collection (Niagara) in the spring of 2016. By the end of 2018, Hudson’s Bay plans to have up to 25 OFF 5th locations across Canada.

Hudson’s Bay‘s off-price strategy also includes their acquisition of Gilt Groupe, the online discount-luxury retailer. While the deal does not close until February 1, 2016, Hudson’s Bay plans on merging the two off-price retailers, producing an even greater inventory selection and discount-luxury super store. Gilt concept shops will open within OFF 5th stores and customers will be able to do Gilt online purchase returns in stores.

Hudson’s Bay Outlets may be gone, but it looks like discount luxury shopping is only about to get better!

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  • I’m kind of unsure about the whole Gilt-at-Off5th thing. Gilt is supposed to be e-commerce only. That was the whole idea. How would it be different from any other outlet/factory store if it’s at Off5th? They sell pretty much the same brands, after all. And it would be A LOT of work for staff to clear and stock a section of the store every, say, two or three days.

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