Home decor chain Pier 1, Carlton Cards and Forever 21 are simply the latest in a growing list of retailers closing their doors in Canada or filing for bankruptcy.
And several analysts told CTVNews.ca the underlying issue is that these chains haven’t kept up with changes in shoppers who have shifted online shopping.
Doug Stephens, founder of consulting agency Retail Prophet, said people are looking for an experience when they go to any type of business – bricks and mortar ones or otherwise.
“You have to be able to promise consumers one of two things: you’re either going to promise them time well-saved or time well-spent,” he told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview.
Stephens argued shoppers can save time in online stores such as Amazon, while more innovative successful stores, such as Nordstrom, go the other route and give shoppers an experience. But stores that are closing are offering neither of those things, he said.
“Often times what we find is that these are not brands that have necessarily carved a distinct … piece of the market,” he said. “They’ve been sort of left to languish in the middle of the market.”
Here is a list of some of the major chains in Canada closing all their doors, shuttering their locations or that have been hit by bankruptcy in the past two years:
On Feb. 17, the home decor chain Pier 1 announced it was closing all of its stores in Canada, as the retailer began bankruptcy proceedings in the United States.
In January, the company announced it was closing up to 450 of its 942 stores in Canada and the U.S. At the time, they said this was “in order to better align its business with the current operating environment.”
PAPYRUS AND CARLTON CARDS
On Jan. 22, the owner of greeting card retailers including Carlton Cards and Papyrus announced it was closing all of its stores in North America, including 76 Canadian locations. The Carlton Cards and Papyrus online stores will remain open.
On the same day, the owner of apparel store Bench’s Canadian operations confirmed to BNN that all 24 locations would be closed. The company was founded in the U.K. in 1989 and it has changed hands multiple times before it was acquired by U.S. restructurer Gordon Brothers.
TEN THOUSAND VILLAGES CANADA
On Jan. 21, fair-trade retailer Ten Thousand Villages announced its plans to shutter many of its stores. The closures include all Ontario stores except for one each in the Ontario towns of Port Colborne and Cobourg.
U.S.-based audio equipment retailer Bose will reportedly shutter all of its remaining Canadian stores, as part of the chain’s closure of 119 locations around the world, according to online publication Retail Insider reported in early January. This follows a handful of Bose’s other standalone store closures in Canada.
On January 14, the head of Kitchener, Ont.-based retailer Things Engraved announced plans to shut all of its 73 stores after terminating its entire workforce. CEO Shawn Black told CTVNews.ca the company had been unprofitable for several years and couldn’t compete with online retailers such as Amazon.
LINKS OF LONDON
In January 2020, Retail Insider also reported the once-popular jeweller Links Of London was planning on closing all five of its Canadian stores in the coming year. This followed earlier news in October that the chain was liquidating its American and U.K. locations.
The Montreal-based luggage and bag retailer is reportedly shuttering 88 stores in Canada and cut 422 jobs, several outlets reported in December 2019. The company currently has 251 stores in Canada and the closures of the chain’s less-profitable luggage stores were first announced in November 2019, BNNBloomberg reported.
In November 2019, the home renovations retailer Lowe’s announced it would close 34 “underperforming” stores across six provinces, CTV News reported. The closures add to the shuttering of 31 Canadian Lowe’s and Rona locations, including 27 stores and four other facilities, announced in November 2018.
And also in November, the Montreal-based home décor retailer Bouclair filed notices to make a proposal under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. Across Canada, 29 of the chain’s 60 locations will close.
At the end of last summer, Los Angeles-based clothing retailer Forever 21 announced it would be closing all 44 of the Canadian locations and leaving the country altogether, CTV News reported.
Once a giant in the Canadian retail landscape, Zellers said its last two remaining locations in Toronto and Ottawa are slated to close early in 2020, CTV News Ottawa reported in September. At its peak, it had 350 stores across Canada with half a billion dollars in sales annually.
In the fall of 2019, maternity retailer Destination Maternity, which owns Motherhood Maternity, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. And after it was acquired by Marquee Brands LLC., it was announced that all stores across North America, including 29 Motherhood Maternity stores in Canada would close.
Back in March, the San Francisco-based fashion retailer announced it was shuttering almost half of its brand locations across the world over the next two years. This follows waves of other store closures in the past three years.
Gap didn’t disclose how many of its 230 upcoming North America store closures would be in Canada, The Canadian Press reported.
In Feb. 2019, Canadian retailer Hudson’s Bay announced it would be closing all Home Outfitters locations — including 37 stores across Canada.
Children’s retailer Gymboree filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the second time in January 2019, with the company announcing that it would be shuttering all its locations in Canada and the U,S.
With files from CTVNews.ca writers Ryan Flanagan, Graham Slaughter, Solarina Ho and The Canadian Press
Stable weather allows fire crews to focus on containment of B.C. wildfires
Crews battling the wildfire that has forced the evacuation of more than 500 properties in British Columbia’s southern Okanagan are taking advantage of calm winds and stable conditions to bolster fire lines.
The BC Wildfire Service says the the wildfire covers 68 square kilometres southwest of Penticton, with most of the recent growth due to planned ignitions needed to create the control lines.
An update from the wildfire service says newly created control lines are “holding well.”
It says a key objective is to continue mop-up work along Highway 3A in an effort to reopen the route connecting Keremeos and the evacuated community of Olalla with towns further north.
Crews are keeping a close eye on weather conditions as a storm approaches from Washington state, bringing showers later this week and possible lightning strikes on Wednesday.
The wildfire service has recorded 564 blazes since the season began, 58 of them in the last seven days, and lists the fire danger rating as high to extreme on Vancouver Island, the entire B.C. coast and across the southern quarter of the province.
Of the eight wildfires of note currently burning in the Kamloops and Southeast fire centres, only the blaze near Penticton continues to keep residents out of their homes.
None of the other seven have grown significantly in recent days and the wildfire service website says the roughly three-square-kilometre fire in grasslands northwest of Kamloops is now listed as “being held,” allowing crews to finish building control lines.
Wildfires of note are either highly visible or pose a threat to people or properties.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 9, 2022.
The Canadian Press
Warrant issued for man in Amber Alert, Saskatchewan children believed to be in U.S.
REGINA — Saskatchewan RCMP say an arrest warrant has been issued for a convicted sex offender at the centre of an Amber Alert for two children.
Police say seven-year-old Luna Potts and eight-year-old Hunter Potts, along with their mother, are believed to be in South Dakota with 50-year-old Benjamin Martin Moore.
“We are very concerned about the well-being of those children,” RCMP Chief Supt. Tyler Bates said Tuesday.
“We feel they are in danger.”
Bates said Moore has a history of sexual offences against children and was previously convicted of sexual interference with a minor.
Moore now faces a charge of failing to report information within seven days of changing his address, which is required for convicted sex offenders.
RCMP said Moore was being investigated by social services when he left with the children and their mother.
Officers went last week to their home in Eastend, southwest of Regina, to question Moore but found it abandoned.
Police issued the Amber Alert on Monday evening for the girl and boy. Bates said RCMP enacted the alert after social services received an apprehension order for the children.
Bates did not say why police believe Moore crossed the border into the United States, but said RCMP were looking to extend the Amber Alert into South Dakota.
Moore is described as being five feet 10 inches tall and weighing 200 pounds with black hair.
Police also said Moore, the children and their mother may be travelling in a 2015 dark blue Chevrolet Equinox with the Alberta licence plate CGC 2492.
Police have received a slew of tips in the case.
Bates said officers have also been contacted by a person who is believed to be a victim and encouraged any others to come forward.
Court records show Moore was convicted in 2009 for sexual interference of a minor. He was sentenced in Regina provincial court to two years and two months in prison.
Records also say he served another three months in jail in 2011 after he was convicted of breaching a recognizance order.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 9, 2022.
Mickey Djuric, The Canadian Press
Senegalese diplomat arrested by Quebec police owed former landlord more than $45,000
MONTREAL — The detention and alleged beating of a Senegalese diplomat by Quebec police last week occurred while a bailiff was attempting to seize property at her residence in connection with a court judgment against her.
Quebec’s rental board in June ordered Oumou Kalsoum Sall to pay a former landlord more than $45,000 for damage to a furnished home she occupied from Nov. 1, 2018, to Oct. 31, 2020. The tribunal found that she caused flooding that led to structural damage and that her use of the property forced its owner, Michel Lemay, to replace most of his furniture.
“The pictures speak for themselves,” Anne A. Laverdure, an administrative judge, wrote in her ruling. “The furniture is full of cockroaches. Pieces of furniture are scratched and scuffed. Some are missing. Everything is dirty.”
Laverdure awarded Lemay almost $13,500 for structural damage to the home and $23,000 to replace furniture. The administrative judge awarded Lemay another several thousand dollars for other damages.
Court records show that the debt was not paid and that a bailiff went to Kalsoum Sall’s residence in Gatineau, Que., across the river from Ottawa, on Aug. 2 to seize property in connection with the debt.
Kalsoum Sall is a first counsellor at the embassy of the Republic of Senegal in Ottawa, according to a federal government database of foreign delegations. The Senegalese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has claimed that the diplomat had to be hospitalized after being handcuffed and beaten by police.
Quebec’s independent police watchdog said Monday it opened an investigation into the incident. Gatineau police have said that they were called to the residence to assist a bailiff and that they arrested a woman with diplomatic status after she allegedly hit a police officer in the face, adding that she was tackled to the ground after allegedly biting another officer.
Global Affairs Canada has described the incident as “unacceptable,” adding that the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations — which Canada has signed — gives diplomats immunity from any form of detention or arrest.
Gilles Rivard, a former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations and to Haiti, said that while he doesn’t know exactly what happened during the Aug. 2 incident, some diplomats can be aggressive because they believe there will be no consequences for their actions.
“They can be aggressive because they know that they have immunity, so they believe that they can do whatever they want,” he said in an interview Tuesday.
While police are not officially supposed to arrest a diplomat, Rivard said, it’s possible a police officer might handcuff an individual while they wait to confirm the person’s diplomatic status.
“But if after that, that person shows that she is a diplomat, or he is a diplomat, normally they have to be released,” he said.
In 2001, a Russian diplomat struck and killed a woman while driving in Ottawa. The Canadian government asked Russia to waive the diplomat’s immunity so he could be charged in Canada, but Russia refused, Rivard said, adding that Canada’s only option in that case was to expel the diplomat.
Rivard said he doesn’t think the Aug. 2 incident is serious enough to damage Canada’s very good relationship with Senegal.
The Senegalese Embassy in Ottawa did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment Tuesday afternoon. A call to the embassy was not answered.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 9, 2022.
Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press
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