Zellers to Open 21 Pop-ups in Hudson’s Bay Stores in Canada, Aiming to Shape Future Retail Strategy


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Zellers is opening 21 pop-ups within Hudson’s Bay stores by August 11, spanning five provinces and almost all in new markets.

As well, the brand will open its next full store experience within a Bay store in the Bramalea City Centre in September.

Currently, the retailer has one pop-up operating at the Queen Street location in Toronto and 25 store-in-store locations operating in Canada.

Sophia Hwang-Judiesch

“Pop-ups are a key ingredient in our expansion strategy, allowing us to explore and test in new markets, gather valuable customer insights, and fine-tune our offering before establishing larger format store locations,” said  Sophia Hwang-Judiesch, President of Hudson’s Bay in a statement.

“Our customers are very much part of our growth process, and together we will shape the future of Zellers, building a shopping experience that truly connects with communities across Canada.”

Zellers at St Laurent Shopping Centre in Ottawa (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

The company said pop-up footprints will vary from store to store, ranging from 1,000 to 2,800 square feet (with the exception of Queen Street in Toronto) depending on location. Zellers stores within Hudson’s Bay range from 8,000 to 10,000 square feet. The Bramalea store will be just under 10,000 square feet.

The company said the pop-ups serve as strategic market tests to determine future Zellers store locations.

George Minakakis, CEO, Inception Retail Group, and author of The New Bricks & Mortar: Future Proofing Retail, said he remains skeptical of Zellers as a strategy. 

George Minakakis

“This was, after all, a forgotten failed brand. It’s not like Overstock buying Bed Bath and Beyond at a fire sale while there is still brand recognition. If you want to revitalize Hudson Bay as Canada’s department store, this is not the approach I would have taken,” he said.

“Hudson Bay and Zellers may have a historical connection but never reflected the same customer base.  Nostalgia is not a long-term strategy.  On the other hand, if Hudson Bay is going to change its whole value proposition, then it may fit.  This would then acknowledge that Hudson Bay, as we know it, is no longer viable and must change. 

“Of course, the pop-up strategy is not now new. It means temporary to me.  We’ve seen other department stores with shop-in-shops and they switch brands frequently.  From a branding perspective, I would never have called it “Zellers.” It simply tells me you want to compete against Walmart. Unless there is an outside chance you were going to rebrand some of these Bay locations to Zellers completely, I might be sold on this tactic. But I don’t see how damaging Hudson Bay’s image makes sense. And there is still a Trade Mark case pending over the Zellers brand.”  

Zellers at Hudson’s Bay Ottawa Rideau (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Showcasing a curated assortment of quality, value and design-led Zellers merchandise, the pop-ups deliver a delightful bite-sized taste of Zellers. Moreover, the pop-up model provides a unique opportunity for Canadians to actively demonstrate where they would like to see the next Zellers store open, it said. 

Liza Amlani

“I am really happy to hear that Zellers is leveraging customer insights to learn what the customer wants from a product assortment perspective. The pop-ups are meant for exactly this. My only challenge with the Zellers rollout is the sub-par customer experience that is tied to The Bay,” said Liza Amlani, Principal and Founder of the Retail Strategy Group and The Merchant Life. 

“The Bay stores have their own challenges – from the lack of sales associates to archaic fixtures and signage. The entire store needs an update. Having Zellers pop-ups in The Bay stores makes it seem like HBC is grasping at straws to increase footfall with something new and shiny. Investment needs to be made to the in store experience in order to keep customers coming back.”

Doug Stephens, Founder of the Retail Prophet, said that regrettably he didn’t have much in the way of a positive take on Zellers.

Doug Stephens

“In fact, having visited one of the Zeller’s locations in St Catharines earlier this year, I honestly felt that in over 30 years of retail, I’ve never seen such an embarrassing retail launch,” he said. 

“The concept was dropped into the entrance area of a dilapidated store, with broken fixtures, stained carpets, terrible lighting, stock-outs and holes in their inventory and nothing in the way of storytelling or customer experience.  It was cringe-worthy to say the least. I can’t speak for all locations (existing or planned) but if they’re anything like the one I visited, they need to rethink the idea entirely.  If the Zellers brand wasn’t already dead, HBC seems intent on doing their best to kill it.”

Zellers at Hudson’s Bay CF Toronto Eaton Centre (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Zellers at Hudson’s Bay CF Toronto Eaton Centre (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Zellers is popping up at Hudson’s Bay stores in:

British Columbia

  • Langley Willowbrook Mall
  • Nanaimo Woodgrove Centre
  • Penticton Cherry Lane Shopping Centre
  • Prince George Parkwood Place
  • Victoria Bay Centre


  • Lethbridge Centre Mall
  • Red Deer Bower Place
  • St. Albert Centre


  • Regina Cornwall Centre


  • Windsor Devonshire Mall
  • Kitchener Fairview Park
  • Barrie Georgian Mall
  • Burlington Mapleview Centre
  • Oshawa Centre
  • Pickering Town Centre
  • Place D’Orléans
  • Newmarket Upper Canada Mall


  • Brossard Champlain Mall
  • La Salle Carrefour Angrignon
  • Rockland Centre
  • St- Bruno Les Promenades
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.


  1. Zellers is skipping the following 30+ locations:

    Lougheed Town Centre (Burnaby)
    Metropolis at Metrotown (Burnaby)
    Coquitlam Centre
    Orchard Park S.C. (Kelowna)
    Richmond Centre
    Park Royal Centre (West Vancouver)
    Oakridge Centre (Vancouver) – temporarily closed
    Villiage Green Centre (Vernon)
    Mayfair S.C. (Victoria)

    Banff – closing soon
    Calgary Downtown
    Chinook Centre (Calgary)
    Market Mall (Calgary)
    Southcentre Mall (Calgary)
    Londonderry (Edmonton) – closing soon
    Southgate Centre (Edmonton)
    West Edmonton Mall

    Polo Park (Winnipeg)

    Woodbine Centre (Etobicoke)
    Lime Ridge Mall (Hamilton)
    Maisonville Place (London)
    Markville S.C. (Markham)
    Square One (Mississauga)
    Oakville Place
    Bayshore Centre (Ottawa)
    Hillcrest Mall (Richmond Hill)
    Centerpoint Mall (Toronto)
    Fairview Mall (Toronto)
    Eglington Square Centre (Toronto)
    Sherway Gardens (Toronto)
    Yorkdale (Toronto)
    Conestoga Mall (Waterloo)

    Carrefour Laval
    Centre Laval
    Fairview Pointe-Claire
    Rosemère Place

  2. I suspect all along that these pop-ups are just a presursor to full line stores. Just clean up your full line stores and make them presentable. I know what they should look like and lately they resemble a clearance outlet with no seasonal presence at all. Hey get it together, I believe you can do it. You truly are running out of time.


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