Hudson’s Bay to Close Store in Burlington ON, will Relocate Zellers Shop-in-Store [Exclusive]

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Hudson’s Bay will be shutting its store at the Burlington Centre in Burlington, Ontario, next year, and its Zellers shop-in-store will relocate to the Hudson’s Bay store at the Bramalea City Centre as a result. Hudson’s Bay says that having two department stores in the relatively small city of Burlington is no longer necessary, and that a Zellers pop-up will also be opening in the Hudson’s Bay store at Burlington’s Mapleview Centre this summer to serve the community as well.

The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) provided information and an exclusive quote for this article, noting that its two Hudson’s Bay stores in Burlington are a short distance apart. Burlington has about 200,000 residents. 

“HBC continually looks at opportunities to optimize its real estate portfolio. Given the proximity of Burlington Centre just 3.5 kms to Mapleview Shopping Centre, Hudson’s Bay has made the decision to close its Burlington Centre location in June 2024.” 

The statement went on to say, “While these decisions are difficult they are the right ones for our business, reflecting market changes and our vision for the future. We are committed to treating every associate with respect and fairness through this process, and transfer opportunities will be explored where feasible.”

Click image for interactive Google Map
Lease plan via RioCan

The Zellers shop-in-store within the Hudson’s Bay location at Burlington Centre will relocate to the Hudson’s Bay store at Bramalea City Centre, according to the retailer. The new Bramalea Zellers location is scheduled to open in September of this year. 

This summer, as well, a Zellers pop-up will open within the Hudson’s Bay store at Burlington’s Mapleview Centre. HBC relaunched the Zellers brand with 25 locations inside of Hudson’s Bay stores in March of this year. Prior to 2012, Zellers was a major discount retailer in Canada with over 200 standalone stores across the country.

Burlington Centre’s Hudson’s Bay store spans about 145,000 square feet over two floors. The store has operated in the mall since 1991 when HBC took over a space vacated by Sears Canada which had operated in the mall for decades. Burlington Centre opened in 1968 with anchors including Simpsons-Sears, Dominion, Robinson’s and Famous Players Theatres. 

Hudson’s Bay Burlington Centre. Photo: Google Images
Hudson’s Bay Burlington Centre. Photo: Vivek Surendran via Google Images

The RioCan owned/operated shopping centre now spans about 720,000 square feet over two levels with about 130 retail tenants. The loss of Hudson’s Bay, contained on a separately leased pad at Burlington Centre, means the loss of the mall’s last large-format department store anchor. Other anchors at Burlington Centre include Goodlife Fitness, Winners, HomeSense, Indigo, Sport Chek, Old Navy and grocer Dinninger’s. In 2018 Retail Insider reported that the enclosed shopping centre would see a $60-million overhaul that included a rebranding of its former name ‘Burlington Mall’.

A retail space formerly occupied by Target was repurposed as part of the overhaul, adding Denninger’s and Indigo as new anchor tenants, as well as a larger relocated space for the mall’s existing Winners store. The Target space had been occupied by Zellers from 1995 until 2012 and prior to that, Robinson’s had operated a department store in that space. 

Only a few minutes away by vehicle, Mapleview Centre is considered to be the premium mall in Burlington with retailers such as Apple, Aritzia, Decathlon, Lululemon, Sporting Life, Victoria’s Secret, Zara and other national and global tenants. The 635,000 square foot enclosed shopping centre, boasting higher sales per square foot than Burlington Centre, is anchored by a 129,000 square foot Hudson’s Bay store which is one of the mall’s original tenants. Mapleview opened in 1990 with another HBC-owned department store, Simpsons, which operated there for a short time before HBC discontinued the Simpsons name in 1991. 

Hudson’s Bay Burlington Centre. Photo: Google Images
Inside Hudson’s Bay Burlington Centre, January 2023. Photo: ‘Darcy’ via Google Images

Hudson’s Bay continues to operate other stores in the area. That includes stores at Oakville Place in Oakville and CF Limeridge in Hamilton. A bit further away, Hudson’s Bay has stores in Mississauga at Square One and Erin Mills Town Centre, as well as at CF Sherway Gardens in Toronto. To the West, Hudson’s Bay operates stores in Cambridge at the Cambridge Centre as well as at CF Fairview in Kitchener and Conestoga Mall in Waterloo — another clustering of stores that could possibly see a real estate repositioning by HBC. 

Since the start of the pandemic, Hudson’s Bay has shut several of its Canadian stores with two more set to shut this summer. During the pandemic, Hudson’s Bay shut its downtown Winnipeg, downtown Edmonton and downtown Toronto (Bloor/Yonge) stores as well as a unit at Les Jardins Dorval in suburban Montreal. Next month, The Hudson’s Bay store on Banff Avenue in Banff, Alberta, will also shutter permanently. 

Inside Hudson’s Bay Burlington Centre, January 2023. Photo: ‘Darcy’ via Google Images
Inside Hudson’s Bay Burlington Centre, January 2023. Photo: ‘Darcy’ via Google Images

At the same time, investments are being made into the Zellers brand that is expected to see more Zellers shop-in-stores within Hudson’s Bay locations in Canada, as well as possibly larger standalone Zellers stores in the future. Last month Zellers opened a pop-up store in the basement of the downtown Toronto Queen Street store to test the market before committing to open a permanent location there. 

Hudson’s Bay at Burlington Centre was the first location for the ‘new’ Zellers concept in 2021 when Retail Insider first reported on it. Since then, Hudson’s Bay has narrowed-in on the concept which includes having secured its core in-house brand, Anko, which was initially developed for Kmart Australia is now wholesaling globally with various retail partnerships. 

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Publisher & CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Advisor at the University of Alberta School Centre for Cities and Communities in Edmonton, former lawyer and a public speaker. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

5 COMMENTS

  1. This is the beginning of the end of Hudson Bay Co…. they should never have relinquised Rupert’s Land and the beaver fur trade.

    quote
    After incorporation by English royal charter in 1670, the company was granted a commercial monopoly over the entire Hudson Bay drainage basin, known as Rupert’s Land. The HBC functioned as the de facto government in Rupert’s Land for nearly 200 years until the HBC relinquished control of the land to Canada in 1869 as part of the Deed of Surrender,[5][6] authorized by the Rupert’s Land Act 1868. At its peak, the company controlled the fur trade throughout much of the English- and later British-controlled North America.
    Unquote

    If I were CEO, I would have kept Rupert’s Land and the fur trade and I would have featured beavers at the entrance to the mall stores. And beaver furs. And history classes. And survival implements for trips to Rupert’s Land, and travel agents for trips to Rupert’s land, beaver hunting and fish hunting trips. There’s a lot that could have been done.

  2. The Bay could be successful, but they fail at every attempt to do so. They keep changing Presidents and CEOs of the company. Each one has one idea. To cut a few stores… and the last to have Zellers Pop-Up stores. They need to sell a couple of department stores and with that money, use it to renovate the other Bay department stores to make it modern and inviting. Right now they are trying to sell high end merchandise in a store that looks run down, smells mouldy, and you can’t find an associate to help you!
    Give people what they want, not what they think they want! Customers say it over and over again that the place looks run down. Almost every Bay Department store, besides the Yorkdale one and possibly Square One, looks out of date and run down… yet, they are selling Levi, Polo, and other high end merchandise. I would rather go to the stand alone store instead.

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