A Zellers store with a "store closing" sign prior to becoming a Target

Hudson’s Bay Co. to close most of its remaining 64 Zellers stores

The Hudson’s Bay Co. says it will close most of its 64 remaining Zellers Inc. stores in Canada that aren’t being converted to Target stores, affecting up to 6,400 jobs.

A spokeswoman for Hudson’s Bay Co. said Thursday the Zellers parent company has been contemplating what to do with the brand since last year, when it sold the majority of the leases for the discount stores to Target Corp.

“After a lengthy review and numerous discussions with various parties it became apparent that continuing to operate the Zellers banner in its current form was not viable, particularly given the geographic footprint of the remaining locations,” said spokeswoman Tiffany Bourre.

Most of the remaining stores will be closed by March 2013, the company said.

But Bourre said the company hasn’t ruled out the possibility of maintaining some of the store locations and opening them under another retail banner.

Bourre said that Zellers is “considering options” for certain locations, including “rebranding some stores” – a determination that has yet to be made.

It did not provide any indications as to which stores, or how many, would remain open.

The company said it operates 64 stores that were not acquired by Target, or were already slated for closure. An average Zellers has about 100 employees.

A spokeswoman for Walmart Canada wouldn’t comment on whether Canada’s largest retailer is interested in acquiring any of the locations. Target Corp. could not immediately be reached for comment.

Target plans to open 125 to 135 stores in Canada. It has purchased the leasehold interests of 189 sites currently operated by Zellers Inc. and it says about $10 million to $11 million will be invested to remodel each facility.

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