Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Zellers: A bit of Canadian history fades from London
This is the new, soon to open, Target store in Westmount Mall in London, Ontario. Just a short time ago this store was a Zellers outlet. The Zellers chain had a long, rich history in London.
Walter Zeller retired in 1955 at 65. He died just two years later. He was buried in Montreal where he had lived for some time. This is why the Zellers head office was located in Montreal. The years after the death of Walter Zeller were tumultuous ones with control of the chain almost falling into the hands of the American Fields Stores. In the end, Zellers made Fields into its own subsidiary. Then in 1978 Hudson's Bay Company became the sole owner of Zellers.
HBC struggled for years under different owners until in 2008 the U.S. based investment firm, NRDC Equity Partners, bought Hudson’s Bay Co. for $1.1 billion. The Yanks peeled Zellers free of HBC, selling the rights to approximately 200 Zellers’ leaseholds for $1.825 billion to the American Target. All but three of the remaining Zellers stores are slated for closure by March 2013.
By late spring, three Zellers stores, one in Toronto, another in Montreal and a last one in Vancouver, will be the only stores remaining open from the once oh-so-successful Canadian chain.