With years like last, it’s hard to deny that a retail apocalypse is happening. 2018 was not the greatest time for some of our once-favourite stores.
The year saw many major names in retailers file for bankruptcy or close down locations, leaving many Canadian shoppers in shock.
From long-standing retailers with deep rooted history in Canada, to American imports that Canadian shoppers once got excited about, below you’ll find the retailers who closed locations and went out of business in 2018.
Retailers That Went Out Of Business
DSW announced it would be shuttering Town Shoes stores in the summer of 2018. After 66-years in business, Town Shoes will see its remaining stores close by the end of its fiscal year in January 2019. While DSW, who acquired Town Shoes in 2014, is saying goodbye to the iconic mall retailer, they will continue to operate DSW stores and its sneaker concept store, GRAIL.
The changing retail landscape claimed another victim in the fall of 2018. During the past few years, the memorable Canadian mall retailer saw many ups and downs. Jean Machine sought bankruptcy protection early in 2017 and was acquired later in the year by Pacific West Commercial Corporation. However, the company was unable to bounce back. After 40 years in business, Jean Machine announced that they would officially shut down by January 2019.
As reported, home decor chains Bombay Company and Bowring Brothers filed for creditor protection earlier this year. Bowring, which was founded in St. John’s by clockmaker Benjamin Bowring in 1811, has been trouble for a little while. According to CTV News, back in 2014, the chains were placed under court protection from creditors and given time to develop a new business plan. But over the years, the houseware retailers were unable to pull themselves out of the slump.
Retailers That Closed Locations
Footwear retailers couldn’t catch a break in 2018. Rockport filed for bankruptcy protection the the late spring of 2018. All of the brand’s namesake stores closed in July 2018. However, according to the Rockport website, there are still a number of retailers across North America that stock the brand, including Moores and Hudson’s Bay. At this point, the future of the company is uncertain, but they have hired a new President and plan on improving products and marketing efforts for 2019.
Gap Inc. as a whole may not be struggling, but signs show that its namesake brand is. Near the end of 2018, the brand told analysts that it would be closing hundreds of stores across the globe. And this isn’t the first time the brand has done massive closures — back in 2015, Gap closed 175 stores across North America. But while Gap struggles to find brand loyalty and a captivated audience, Old Navy, also owned by Gap Inc., continues to flourish.
The fall seemed to be a rough time for a lot of retailers, including home improvement chain Lowe’s. In 2018, the retailer announced that it would be closing 31 stores in Canada and 20 in the United States. The closures, which are scheduled to be completed by February 2019, affect underperforming stores across North America. Lowe’s hopes to improve the help of its portfolio by focusing on its more profitable stores.
Another struggling mid-luxury retailer is J.Crew. The American retailer launched in Canada back in 2011 with much anticipation, however, it seems like the excitement for the brand is over. J.Crew has been slowly closing Canadian stores — such as CF Chinook Centre, CF Markville, and CF Fairview — and it’s not a good sign for the brand. According to analysts, J.Crew has been on a decline since the departure of Mickey Drexler, the company’s former CEO, and could be on its way out.
After scraping by for that past few years, the 35-year-old footwear and handbag retailer called it quits in April of 2018. Analysts attributed the company’s downfall to rising online competition, as well as the increased competition of mid-priced footwear retailers. The good news for Nine West fans, however, is that there’s still a chance you might see the brand around. While stores are closed, Authentic Brands Group acquired Nine West and Bandolino and will be expanding offerings into sportswear, outerwear, swimwear, intimates, fragrance, sleepwear, and home.
The Canadian operations for the Crabtree & Evelyn filed for creditor protection in November. The retailer has quietly been exiting malls for years. According to The Straits Times, the bath and body retailer is moving its business fully online aside from a location in London, England.
Featured image: Instagram/@artinthefind