Over the past few years, Canada has seen some many once-beloved stores shutter locations or shut down business for good.
As we’ve done in past years, we are keeping a watchful eye on the retail store closures and bankruptcies that affect the Canadian market.
Below you’ll find a list of all the brands and retailers that have closed stores or filed for bankruptcy in 2019.
Note: This article will be updated as more stores and brands announce filings and closures.
Gymboree filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy for the first time in 2017. And just when the retailer thought it had escaped trouble successfully, in January 2019 the retailer successfully filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy once again. Industry experts blamed the children wear brand’s demise on the fact that Gymboree Group’s own collection of brands were competing against each other. After 40 years in business, Canadians will be saying goodbye to Gymboree for good as they shutter all Canadian locations.
In February 2019, Payless ShoeSource filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy for the second time in two years. But this time around, instead of launching a turnaround plan, the discount shoe retailer announced that it would be closing all North American locations including 248 stores across Canada.
For shoppers, H&M’s announcement of 160 store closures across the globe came as a shock. However for those in the industry, it was a decision that had to be made. The fast fashion retailer fell victim to inventory bloating, forcing H&M to slash prices in order to move product. In 2018, the conglomerate shuttered its Cheap Monday brand. And in February the company announced that it would be shuttering locations over the span of the year. Fortunately for H&M fans, the company will continue to open stores at the same time with a net of 175 new stores — however, it’s rumoured that Torontonians might be saying goodbye to the retailer’s Bloor St. location.
In February 2019, famed Canadian retailer Hudson’s Bay announced that it would be shuttering all Home Outfitters locations — 37 stores across Canada. In the same announcement, HBC announced that it would be analyzing its Saks Off Fifth locations and shuttering a number of its stores in the U.S. While no Saks Off Fifth closures have been announced in Canada, one thing’s certain: the retail landscape is ever-changing and we never know which retailer the apocalypse will claim as its next victim.
After years of struggle and constant markdowns, it came to no surprise when Gap announced massive closures were coming to North American stores. In March 2019, the company shared that it would shutter 230 stores in the U.S. and Canada. The mall staple also announced that it would be separating from sister brand Old Navy in order to better focus on both brands.
Over the years, Victoria’s Secret has seen a decline in popularity, with publishers like Forbes declaring that the company has “lost its sexy.” In March 2019, the Victoria’s Secret announced that it would be closing 53 stores across North America, up from 30 stores closed in 2018. While it has not been announced whether the decision will affect Canadian shoppers, we can confirm that we haven’t seen the end of the brand yet. With two new CEOs, the company plans to turn business around.
In March 2019, Diesel jeans filed for bankruptcy. The company attributes the decision to falling sales, a failed turnaround, and expensive leases, as well as instances of cyber fraud and theft. But unlike other retailers and brands in similar positions, Diesel will not be shuttering stores. Instead the brand has a three year turnaround plan which includes reimagining current stores to lower operational costs and better marketing.
In March, Ontario-based Green Earth announced that it would be liquidating all 29 of its locations, offering discounts of 40-80% on all merchandise which includes candles, jewelry, and many more giftables. The company, which has been operating since 1990, felt pressure from problems similar to many stores facing problems: reduced mall traffic and growing competition. Green Earth filed a notice of intention to make a proposal under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act on March 4, 2019.
Though it launched in Canada with great success, the American retailer has been quietly closing stores across the country over the past few years. The most recent store closures include a number of Toronto-area locations, as well as CF Chinook Centre in Calgary. Retail Dive reports that executives at J.Crew will “continue to rationalize its footprint” and plan to close 20 J.Crew and factory stores by the end of 2019. With stores in Canada slowly disappearing, it will be interesting to see what’s ahead for the brand.
In March of 2019, premium denim brand Diesel filed for bankruptcy. The retailer attributed its decision to file to falling sales, a failed turnaround, and expensive leases, as well as instances of cyber fraud and theft. While Diesel noted that it didn’t plan on a massive shuttering of stores, in July 2019, the retailer closed one of two of its only full-price stores in Canada. Luckily for fans of Diesel, the brand is still carried in a number of department stores and also has a three-year plan to turn the business around.
Earlier in 2019, Forever 21 closed its Yonge and Dundas flagship store, which didn’t seem like a big deal considering the brand already had another location inside CF Toronto Eaton Centre. But at the end of summer, word that the Los Angeles-based fast fashion retailer was struggling started spreading. At the end of September, the retailer announced that it would be closing all 44 of its Canadian locations and exiting the country altogether.
Bookmark this page for updates on the brands and retailers that have closed stores or filed for bankruptcy in 2019.
Featured image: Instagram/@kat_mcewen
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