The Bay might be resurrecting Zellers as a way to fill unused store space: Retail analyst
Many Canadians are taking to social media with memories of Zellers after department store owner Hudson’s Bay Co. (HBC) announced it will bring back the brand in early 2023.
In a press release Wednesday, HBC said it would launch a new Zellers e-commerce website and expand the brand's physical presence within select Hudson’s Bay locations.
TAPPING INTO NOSTALGIA
Some users shared nostalgic memories about Zellers’ in-store restaurant over Twitter.
“The Zellers restaurant fries with gravy has the power to transport a soul to 1985 Fridays after-school,” Twitter user Darcia Anne said in a post on Wednesday.
Other users questioned whether Zellers’ return will include its teddy bear mascot “Zeddy” and shared stories about their personal collection.
“I had about 10 Zeddys as a kid. Still have them somewhere. Parents got me one every birthday till I was about 10 I'd say. Glad to see the bear is making a return!” Chris McDavid shared over Twitter.
In another post, Twitter user Avery Legare said: “Hearing Zellers is making a return. If I can’t fist bump Zeddy on the way into the restaurant for a $3.99 breakfast is it even worth coming back?”
Is Zeddy Bear coming back..Zellers pic.twitter.com/Jz5CZgefb4— Clarence Lindblom (@LindClarence) August 17, 2022
But many individuals stressed they would want a similar Zellers experience as they did when the store was previously open.
Twitter user Pat Dubois said, “I just don't see the point” if Zellers doesn’t include the mascot, teddy bear-themed ride and restaurant.
Possible unpopular opinion but if the recently announced Zellers section of The Bay doesn't include everything below I just don't see the point pic.twitter.com/hjZ2QOmkdh— Pat Dubois 🇺🇦 (@patdubois) August 18, 2022
“If you're Zellers, you should be reading these posts and thinking, ‘Maybe we should add the restaurant in the Bay, it has a lot of equity,’” said Bruce Winder, president of Bruce Winder Retail, over the phone on Friday.
But, he said HBC has already indicated it will be a digital-first approach and he thinks many people may be disappointed “if they're expecting the full-service store we saw before.”
For two years, Winder worked on the Zellers team as the general merchandise manager for seasonal goods.
He said that a lot of the core challenges Zellers faced the first time around, including aggressive pricing from competitors, could still be a big problem.
“There’s a lot of reasons why Zellers left us in the first place and it was because their existing business model wasn’t working,” Winder said.
He added the Zellers rollout shouldn’t be a significant cost for HBC, as it already has the retail space and e-commerce warehouses to shelve products.
“It’s taking existing assets and trying to do something, but the net effect isn’t going to make a material difference to retail operations,” Winder said.