A Target on Zellers

I loved Zellers when I lived in the GTA.  The stores have been renovated, they’re bright and look like they mean business.  They were great for buying cleaning products and other doodads and whatnots. And as a longtime HBC Rewards points collector, I enjoy my Zellers/Bay/Home Outfitters combo for accumulating points.

But I also love Target, pronounced jokingly and lovingly by those who have strolled its aisles – tar-jay!  I have footwear from Targets in California and Detroit that I’ve worn for years.  There’s a product Target stocks called Downy Wrinkle Releaser that is wonderful unless ironing clothes is your idea of a really good time.  Target has taken on an almost mythological status among Canadians who have rounded aisle after aisle and found something cool and inexpensive that we can’t get here at home.

You’ve likely heard by now that Target is taking over Zellers by 2014.  They will open 100-150 stores in Canada and what happens to the rest of the 220 Zellers locations remains unclear.  Somehow, Zellers has remained profitable but in a market like London, for example, I don’t see how that’s possible.  The Zellers at Westmount is still the old style store, it opens two hours later than Wal-Mart on Saturdays and I believe The Wal (as I call it) is kicking their retail butt.

I would much rather shop Canadian (and locally) but does it really matter anymore?  It’s our neighbours who work at these stores, no matter who owns them. Isn’t this all part of living in a capitalist society?  Does it matter whether the ownership is north or south of the 49th parallel? We vacation in the US, we buy products  made there.  If the shopping experience will be made better by a new, American owner taking over, isn’t that what matters to you and me?  I drive a Nissan vehicle and a Honda motorcycle because I shopped around and decided that these imports served my needs best.   Isn’t choice what it’s all about?  It seems to me that resistence is not only futile, it’s a couple of decades too late.

3 thoughts on “A Target on Zellers”

  1. I’m not sure about the accuracy of your statement that Zellers is profitable. It wasn’t profitable leading up to HSBC being purchased and taken private several years ago. Its rumors about being sold off has been around for years and the recent make overs are likely all part of that effort, you always spruce up your home before selling it.

    As to the Zellers stores, HSBC is planning to retain several stores which will continue to operate under the Zellers name, Target is purchasing about 200 stores of which they will open about 150 under their brand name. I say that since someone else already owns the name Target Apparels in Canada and a suit is under way, and the remainder of the stores Target plans to sell off to another retailer, possibly Wall mart who has been considering smaller store locations.

    Your correct though, who owns the stores, does it really matter? The physical store is located in Canada, employs Canadians, now owned by an American company with all the products or at least the majority made off shore and likely in China. So, what has really changed, the name.

    1. Current HBC owner Richard Baker said that four years after going through a hardship the Zellers chain is now “cash flow positive” and “profitable.” (BTW Baker’s home base is New York City so it’s not as if Zellers is being clutched from Canadian hands!)

      Also, regarding the Target brand name, has anyone ever heard of them prior to the sale? I noticed with some amusement that they’ve suddenly started running full-page ads in the big newspapers, since they launched a lawsuit over the name and will have to prove that they’ve been using it.

  2. We may not have heard of Target Apparels, but the company who owns that name also owns Fair Weathers and that name is well known and established. I also understand that there are a couple of small Target Apparel stores which have more recently opened in Ontario.

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