BRETTON’S: A REQUEST TO READERS

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Do you remember Bretton’s, the upscale Canadian department store? It was started in 1985 and became an upscale national retailer with 11 locations. The chain unfortunately closed in 1996.

We want your pictures and stories of Bretton’s for a retrospective we’re doing on the store, since it was one of our favourite stores when it was open. 

Bretton’s was, at the time, Canada’s answer to Nordstrom. Customer service was excellent and the merchandise was relatively upscale. Bretton’s lacked Nordstrom’s shoe selection, however, and store sizes were generally between 30,000 and 60,000 square feet (the largest being the Toronto flagship store at the Manulife Centre, now Indigo Books).

Polo Park Shopping Centre, Winnipeg, 1986. Image: Winnipeg Skyscraper Forum, trebor204

Bretton’s first store was in Ottawa and it was expected to open as many as 50 Canadian stores. According to its Wikipedia page, existing mall anchors blocked many potential Bretton’s stores via restrictive clauses.

According to Wikipedia, the 11 Canadian Bretton’s locations included:

We have fond memories of purchasing merchandise at the West Edmonton Mall Bretton’s store. Sales staff were exceptionally friendly and helpful. This was in contrast to Eaton’sSears and The Bay (Now called ‘Hudson’s Bay’), all of which had minimal customer service at the time. We were disappointed when Bretton’s closed and we look forward to Nordstrom’s Canadian stores and their remarkable customer service.

If you have information and/or photos of Bretton’s, please email us at: insider@retail-insider.com. We’ll reference you if you like, and we’d be grateful for your contribution.

Bretton’s Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bretton’s

7 COMMENTS

  1. I loved Bretton’s. I use to to go the one at the Manulife Centre. I always bought the Molton Brown Shampoo from England there. I miss it…

  2. I worked at Breton’s Sherway in the Ladies Weekend Wear department. I started on opening day and worked there for a little more than a year before I went away to University. They paid above minimum wage, plus commission.

    I remember having to ask each customer for their address so we could write them personalized thank-you notes and send follow-up notes to see how they were enjoying their purchases and let them know of upcoming events or new products. I bought my high school grad formal dress at Breton’s. I still have the garment bag it came in.

  3. I don’t understand why there’s no record on line referring to Bretton’s Bankruptcy in the 90’s. Chinnok location in Calgary, Alberta. I worked there and remember management rushing us out the door, the day of!

    • Edward Tan and Alfred Chang, which purchased the stores, were overly optimistic and over spent at the time of the recession. I worked at Sherway from 1989-91. Later 1 year at H.O. and back at the store until terminated in 94.
      I was mass terminated and filed for my earnings plus vacation owed.

  4. My husband and I were the Canadian distributors of Molton Brown skin care and cosmetics developed in Britain of natural products without testing on animals. When Bretton’s decided to pull out of Canada, Molton Brown Products ceased to be available in Canada. However these products are available in the U.S., specifically in Barney’s in New York.

  5. I worked at Brettons at Sherway gardens LOVED IT. I remember the 3 part interview to get in because they paid more than min plus commission I had a rich lady at Christmas time purchased over 5000 bucks wow great day that was PLUS i still have my overcoat from there the quality you cant beat i still wear it from 1985 lol shoulder pads too

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