Over the past few years, Canada has seen some many once-beloved stores shutter locations or shut down business for good.
Just last year, we said goodbye to household names like Forever 21, Home Outfitters, and Payless to name a few. And the retail apocalypse has already claimed many victims in 2020.
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 filed for bankruptcy or announced store closures in Canada in 2020.
Note: This article will be updated as more stores and brands announce filings and closures.
At the end of November 2019, home improvement chain Lowe’s Canada announced that it would be shuttering stores across Canada in order to improve overall performance. The closures will affect 34 underperforming Lowe’s and Rona stores, with all listed stores expected to close by the end of February 2020.
In January 2020, Bose announced that it would be shuttering all 119 locations across North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia. The electronics brand attributed the closures to a “dramatic shift to online shopping in specific markets.”
At the beginning of the year, a third-quarter fiscal report for Pier 1 Imports revealed that overall sales were down at the home retailer. The retailer announced that it would “reduce its store footprint by up to 450 locations” in North America in order to lower its expenses and to “better align its business with the current operating environment.” And just a month after the original statement, the retailer announced that all 67 Canadian Pier 1 stores will be closing.
Back in October 2019, once-popular jeweller Links Of London began liquidating its American and U.K. stores, which later foreshadowed what would happen in Canada. In January 2020, the retailer announced that it planned on closing all five of its Canadian locations.
January saw many store closures in 2020. Carlton Cards & Papyrus will be closing all North American locations, totalling 78 Canadian locations and 178 locations in the U.S. With that being said, the closures aren’t all bad news — Carlton Cards and Papyrus will still be available at retail locations like Indigo, Sobey’s, and more.
After 74 years in business, fair trade retailer Ten Thousand Villages announced that it would be shuttering its Canadian operations, including its web store and the majority of its physical retail locations. There will 10 stores across Canada in total, and Canadians can expect retail operations to cease at the end of May 2020.
At the end of January 2020, Freemark Apparel Brands, the company that has the rights to sell Bench merchandise in Canada, announced that it would be closing all of its Bench stores to focus on e-commerce and wholesale clients. The closures are expected to affect all Canadian Bench locations, but the iconic U.K.-based brand will still be available in retailers like Hudson’s Bay, WINNERS, and more.
Victoria’s Secret has been on the decline for years. With a shift in the market towards body positivity, controversial comments, and increasing competition in the lingerie space, the brand has struggled to appeal to its once-loyal customer base. Since stores have been temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, L Brands noted that its first-quarter sales fell 37% to $1.65 billion from $2.63 billion a year ago. And while L Brands saw a bit of a boost in Victoria’s Secret’s e-commerce sales, it’s not enough to justify keeping stores open. L Brands will be closing 250 Victoria’s Secret stores across North America.
The retail biz is getting tougher and tougher with competition heating up and the current COVID-19 pandemic that forced stores to close. Quebec-based sporting goods retailer SAIL Outdoors Inc., which operates SAIL and Sportium has just filed for bankruptcy protection. The company filed for protection under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and said that this will allow it to obtain support while it implements a restructuring plan. As of yet, no store closures have been announced.
In May 2020, Reitmans filed for creditor protection. Filing for protection under the CCAA is truly the hardest decision we have had to make as an organization in our almost 100 years of history, but this pandemic has left us no choice,” Chief Executive Officer Stephen Reitman said. “We believe that this is the only course of action to ensure we remain successful in the future.”
Montreal-based ALDO, the parent company of GLOBO, Aldo Shoes, and Call It Spring, obtained creditor protection in May 2020. In a press release, David Bensadoun, Chief Executive Officer of the company, said, “It is no secret that the retail industry has experienced rapid and significant change over the last several years. We were making strong progress with the transformation of our business to tackle these challenges; however, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has put too much pressure on our business and our cash flows.” The brand’s filings revealed that not all of its 850 North American stores would reopen after the temporary closures and some will stay closed for good.
In June, Addition Elle and Thyme Maternity announced that stores will permanently close in Canada. This news means that 77 Addition Elle and 54 Thyme Maternity locations will close as part of Reitmans’ restructuring plan since it filed for creditor protection. According to Retail-Insider, the main goal is to liquidate all inventory in anticipation of these permanent closures which are planned for July 18 for Thyme Maternity and August 15 for Addition Elle.
J.Crew filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in May 2020, marking one of the first major retailers to do so since the coronavirus outbreak. While J.Crew has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, its online operations will remain open throughout the restructuring. The company also said that it anticipates that stores will reopen when it’s safe to do so, however, Canadian stores had already been dwindling prior to the government-mandated closures of non-essential businesses.
Henry’s, otherwise known as “Canada’s greatest camera store,” filed a Notice of Intention to Make a Proposal (NOI) pursuant to Section 50.4(1) of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act in May 2020. According to Insolvency Insider, Cranbrook Glen Enterprises Ltd., the company that operates camera and accessories retailer Henry’s, intends to shutter close to a third of its stores. With the temporary closure of all 30 Henry’s stores due to COVID-19, the retailer has seen a large impact on its sales. The company has not confirmed which locations will be closing.
The popular tea store announced that it’s planning to close 166 of its locations across Canada and 42 locations across the U.S. However, tea lovers will still be able to shop at 18 Canadian locations in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick, as well as online.
The popular coffee chain plans to close 200 stores across Canada over the span of the next two years. However, Starbucks is also testing new pickup-only locations that you may see pop-up around your neighbourhood.
Popular retail brand Gap has announced that they plan to close a number of stores across Canada to focus on its e-commerce store, as well as elevating the stores that remain open. The brand has not announced how many of the stores are going to be closed yet. During the pandemic, Gap announced that many of its stores would not reopen as temporary store closures lift.
Jewelry store Thomas Sabo is known for its cute charm bracelets. However, the brand has decided that it will sadly be closing all of its stores in Canada. With that being said, you can still shop the brand through its online store.
The technology giant has decided to close all seven of its stores in Canada, as well as most of its physical stores across the world. While four locations across the world will stay open as they are reimagined, the tech company will be primarily operating online.
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