Zellers: Night of the Living Dead Brand

zellers queensway

via your classmate Vito:

One of the best known Canadian brands has come back from the dead to feast on the clearance merchandise of Hudsons Bay and Home Outfitters! Many people don’t know this, but there are two Zellers locations still chugging along in Canada. One in Nepean, ON – a suburb just south of Ottawa and one right in our backyard on the Queensway in Etobicoke, ON. They’ve been open since 2013, but you won’t find much advertising for these two stores. In fact, the stores aren’t listed on the HBC store locator and you won’t find any mention of them on the HBC corporate website. It’s almost as if they are run by some supernatural retail force.


What treasures are kept in these stores you might ask? Well, in the article linked below, Christina Avila bravely ventures to the Queensway location and admits she was surprised at what she found. Unlike the original Zellers stores of yesteryear, these stores sell a variety of clearance merchandise from large brands including Nine West, Ralph Lauren, Ivanka Trump (everyone’s favorite), Dooney & Bourke, Kensie, and BCBG MAXAZRIA.


Apparently these stores were quietly re-opened after HBC sold all locations to Target, which begs the question, why continue using the Zellers brand name? They could have reopened as ‘Designers4Less’, ‘Brand Clearance Warehouse’ or something along those lines and allowed the well-known name associated with Zeddy the bear and 3D club sandwiches to rest in peace.

I’d argue that the mass familiarity with the Zellers brand among Canadians, whether the connotation is positive or tainted, is what accounts for much of the patronage that these stores get. Why ditch a brand that is well known and try to build a new one from scratch? Maybe the negativity surrounding Zellers (if there is any) doesn’t outweigh the familiarity when it comes to getting feet in the door.

What do you think?


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