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Canada’s Hudson’s Bay Company (“HBC”) turns 343 years old today. The company was incorporated May 2nd, 1670. It is the oldest commercial corporation in North America. 

The company has a lengthy and significant history. In many ways HBC’s history is Canada’s history. It started as a fur trading business and at one time was the largest landowner in the world. It owned Rupert’s Land, which occupied 15% of North America’s entire landmass. 

When the fur trade declined, the company became a mercantile business for Western Canadian settlers. The first HBC sales store opened in 1857 in Fort Langley, BC. Sales stores subsequently opened in other communities. The first of the original downtown flagship stores was built in Calgary in 1913 with subsequent flagships opening in Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Winnipeg. 

From the 1960’s to the 1990’s, the company absorbed and re-branded several Canadian department stores, not unlike what Macy’s has done across The United States.  These included Morgan’s, Woodward’s and Simpson’s, among others. The company also purchased and opened new store chains such as Zellers and Field’s. 

The company today includes 90 Canadian department store locations under the new name and branding ‘Hudson’s Bay’. It also owns a few remaining Zellers locations, America’s Lord & Taylor department store chain, and Home Outfitters. 

We will be analysing the company’s current modernization strategy. The company is attempting to change what was considered to be a fusty store with uninteresting merchandise and poor customer service. Improvements have been made but the company has far to go. 



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