Over the past few years, Canada has seen many well-known retailers experience financial troubles resulting in store closures and bankruptcies. Especially now, with the ongoing global pandemic, the rate of business closures has been accelerated. However, some storefront shutterings are not due to financial issues but attributed to changing business models and shifting practices to appeal to customer demands.
Note: This article will be updated as more stores and brands announce filings and closures.
Here is the running list of retail store closures and bankruptcies in 2021 so far.
The quirky and popular, SEE Eyewear, has shut its only Canadian storefront for good. It was located at 153 Cumberland Street in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood. The boutique first opened in November 2017 with plans to grow across Canada. Unfortunately, due to the current volatile state of the retail industry, all expansion plans are cancelled.
Starbucks has now released that it will in fact close up around 300 store locations in Canada by the end of March this year. Although this may come as a shock, Starbucks isn’t going anywhere. In fact, this is actually part of its store transformation strategy.The new strategy includes closing stores to restructure and expand services like new drive thru locations, curbside pick-up only, and delivery.
Vancouver’s ‘Luxury Zone’ is losing another store sometime this month for good. Versace, which was located on Thurlow Street, will be closing its storefront after 34 years.
The well-known craft retailer, Michaels is shuttering locations this year. The storefront at 1022 Alberni Street in Vancouver, which has been there for almost a decade, has fallen victim to the close, as well as its Yonge Street location at 5051 Yonge Street, North York.
The Quebec-based accessories brand, Bizou will close around 30% of its retail locations, according to a French language report. The company has 85 stores, in which 24 will be shut down permanently by the end of this month. Bizou originally filed for bankruptcy in the fall of 2020.
The signage is now officially off on all three of the Gap Inc.’s storefronts on Toronto’s prestigious Mink Mile. These shops include the Gap storefront at 60 Bloor Street West, the Gap-owned Intermix at 130 Bloor Street West, and the Banana Republic store at 80 Bloor Street West. This is the first time in more than two decades that the Gap has no storefront locations on Bloor Street.
Godiva has made the difficult decision to close its shops across North America. This means that 128 locations, 11 which are in Canada, will shutter doors by the end of March this year. This may come as a surprise to some, as about two years ago, the chocolate company opened its first cafe and then announced plans to open 2,000 more across the globe by 2025. In-person shopping is something that the company takes priority in, so since in-person experiences are not available with the pandemic restrictions, it’s made the conclusion to close.
Kiehl’s is permanently closing eight of its 24 Canadian stores some time this year. The closures are a result of the company putting a larger focus on its online shop due to new customer behaviours. The Kiehl’s stores that are shuttering are at Toronto Yonge Street, Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket, Masonville Place in London, Quartier Dix 30 in Montreal, Carrefour Laval, West Edmonton Mall, Halifax Shopping Centre, and Coquitlam Centre.
J. Crew has now shut its remaining stores in Canada. The brand first entered the Canadian market back in 2011 and had a handful of store locations across the country. As of September 2020, the location at Yorkdale Shopping Centre was the last full-priced store in Canada, in which that has now permanently closed.
The Austrian luxury accessories brand,FreyWille, has closed its only remaining standalone store in North America. The location was in Vancouver at 511 Howe Street, in which it first opened in September 2010. Known for its colourful jewellery and silk scarves, you can still shop the brand on its online store!
It was just announced that National Sports is closing all of its 18 Canadian storefronts for good. Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd., which is the parent company of National Sports, says that the closure isn’t because of a decline in revenue but rather due to the fact that the company wants to narrow down product focus and National Sports overlaps with its other priority brands. These brands include Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, Mark’s, Atmosphere, Sports Experts, and Pro Hockey Life.
The brand that brought us the infamous pressed highlighter is officially closing its doors. BECCA Cosmetics will be going out of business by September 2021. The company wrote in a caption on Instagram saying, “…At BECCA, an accumulation of challenges, together with the global impact of COVID-19, has sadly been more than our business can withstand…”
Drake’s beloved OVO flagship in downtown Toronto is showing major signs that the location is permanently closed. If you take a walk by the storefront, you’ll see nothing but bare walls, cement flooring, no clothing, and no brass owl insight—seriously, it’s completely empty. The location is no longer listed on the website as well.
The iconic flagship of the Canadian-founded clothing brand, Club Monaco, will be closing its doors this week. The beautiful storefront is located in the Lillian Massey building at 157 Bloor Street West. Club Monaco has occupied the two-floor flagship in Toronto for almost 25 years, and now the spot is up for lease next month.
Toronto’s funnel cake shop has permanently closed its storefront location. Although, its food trucks, event services, and funnel cake kits are still open and available!
Disney announced in March that it plans to close at least 60 stores in North America sometime this year. The Mississauga Square One location will be closed before March 23 after operating in that same spot since 1993.
Walmart has released that it’ll be closing six stores across Canada. Three will close in Ontario, two in Alberta, and one in Newfoundland. The three Ontario locations are Walmart County Fair in Hamilton, Walmart Malton Supercentre in Mississauga, and Walmart at Stanley Park Mall in Kitchener.
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