It’s the survival of the fittest for retailers in Canada and over the past few years, we’ve seen the demise of many international and Canadian retailers. While big box department stores like Nordstrom and Saks are making the mood across the border, other retailers are pulling out due to poor sales, high rent and a struggle to keep up with fast-fashion retailers such as Forever 21, H&M and Zara. The Canadian dollar is on the decline and many Canadian retailers are struggling to keep customers happy. In no particular order, here is a list of retailers who have closed locations in Canada:
Hudson’s Bay Outlet Stores
The iconic Canadian department store opened its first outlet location in 2013 at the Toronto premium outlets. The outlet store instantly became a success and a second location in Montreal opened later the next year. After two years of business, Hudson’s Bay announced that both stores would close and be replaced with Saks Fifth Avenue’s outlet, OFF 5th. Read more here.
The UK-based retailer, best known for their ‘fcuk’ emblazoned sweaters, has been quietly closing stores since 2013. The retailer currently only has two locations left in Canada: one in Toronto and one in Montreal. Read more here.
After a search for a buyer, Danier announced the closure of all 90 retail and outlet locations in the Spring of 2016. The announcement came after years of speculation that the Canadian-based leather company was in trouble. Read more here.
At the beginning of 2016, American skincare brand H2O Plus announced closed their last standing Canadian store. The company decided to pull out of the Canadian market completely, halting online orders and shipments to Canada. Read more here.
The New York-based mall staple, Aeropostale, tossed in their towel in the Spring of 2016. The once favoured tween brand announced they would close 113 stores including all 41 of their Canadian locations. Read more here.
In August 2016, Ben Moss Jewellers announced they would shutter all 54 locations, citing a weak Canadian dollar and soft western economy as the reason for closure. Prior to the announcement, the Canadian jeweller had been operating for 100+ years. Unfortunately, the store will no longer honor any warranties previously purchased.
Last year, the Los Angeles-based retailer closed 50 of their 488 North American Guess stores. The year prior, the retailer closed 19 locations. The closures came after struggling sales and as an attempt to create a true omnichannel shopping experience and adapt to the new normal of retail. Read more here.
At the end of 2014, Reitmans Canada Limited announced they would be shutting down all 107 Smart Set locations. 76 of those locations will be converted into other Reitmans Canada Limited operated stores – Penningtons, Addition-Elle, Thyme Maternity, RW & Co or Hyba. Read more here.
In the past couple of years, Chapters/Indigo have closed multiple locations across Canada. They closed their Toronto Runnymede location in February 2014, the World’s Biggest Bookstore in March 2014 and their downtown Toronto Richmond & John location in April 2015. They also closed their Montreal flagship and their Vancouver flagship but it’s all for the better. Since the closures, the company has been in steady growth mode. In May 2016, Indigo opened a 30,000 sq. foot location at CF Sherway Gardens. They are currently seeking out real estate for new store locations and are renovating current stores, coast-to-coast.
Trouble for Sears began in 2013 when they announced they would be laying off a large portion of their employees and selling the leases to 8 of their locations across Canada. They’ve since sold 27 store leases in Quebec and sales continue to slip.
The Montreal-based retailer declared bankruptcy the summer of 2014. After getting a second chance to obtain financing, restructure and redeem themselves, the womenswear retailer announced their official closure in the fall of 2014. Read more here.
There was tons of excitement around the launch of Target Canada in 2013 however, Canadian shoppers were quickly disappointed. Complaints about the lack of products in-store, poor customer service, and high prices led Target to their demise in early 2015. They are set to close all Canadian locations by the end of spring 2015. Read more here.
Grand and Toy
Grand and Toy announced they would be closing all 19 of their retail stores late spring 2014. The decision to their brick-and-mortar, after 132 years of business, was due to a huge growth in online sales – only about 3% of sales came from in-store walk-ins. Read more here.
In the spring of 2014, Staples announced they would close 225 North American locations. The office-supply store closed 140 North American stores by the end of 2014. In similar fashion to Grand & Toy, closures of the Massachusetts-based retailer came after a surge in online sales – more than 50% of Staples’ sales are generated online. Read more here.
The Japanese-based electronics retailer announced they would be closing all 14 of their Canadian locations at the beginning of 2015. The closures came after poor television and mobile sales. Sony will continue to sell electronics online and through their Canadian retail partners. Read more here.
The Dutch retailer declared bankruptcy at the end of 2015. Issues with steep promotional pricing in Canada was cited as one of the reasons for Mexx’s demise. They will be closing 315 stores worldwide – 95 of them in Canada. Read more here.
The Canadian womenswear retailer opened their first store in 1995 and closed all of their locations in the summer of 2014. The retailer made no official announcement as to why they were closing but hosted a storewide closing sale in May 2014. Read more here.
With retailers like Saks and Nordstrom headed into Canada, Holt Renfrew is getting ready to tackle the competition. The Canadian luxury retailer shut down stores in Ottawa and Quebec City in 2015 as part of a strategy to focus and expand their larger flagship locations. They are also planning on launching an e-commerce store. Read more here.
Future Shop abruptly shut down all of their locations in the Spring of 2015. There were 131 locations in total: 66 of them were closed permanently and 65 of them were converted into Best Buy locations. Read more here.
Cleo, Ricki’s & Bootlegger
In the Spring of 2015, Comark Inc. was granted an initial order for creditor protection. The Mississauga-based company owns Cleo, Ricki’s and Bootlegger and have been open since 1976. They closed a number of underperforming stores but have since been acquired by Pacific West Commercial Corporation. Read more here.
In June 2015, Telus announced they would be closing down all 59 Blacks Photography locations. The photography and photo supply store was unable to keep up with the digital age. All stores closed in August 2015. Read more here.
The once-popular retailer Gap is struggling to keep up with fast-fashion retailers and the decline of mid-priced brands. Gap Inc. announced they would be closing 175 North American locations by the end of 2016. Read more here.