Over the past few years, Canada has seen many well-known retailers experience financial troubles. Especially now more than ever, with the ongoing pandemic, these companies have had to endure store closures or even shut down business permanently in 2021. Although, some storefront closings may be due to changing business models and customer demands, others have been because of the lack of business revenue.
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.
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 a location this month. The storefront at 1022 Alberni Street in Vancouver, which has been there for almost a decade, has fallen victim to the close.
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.
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