Cleanup in aisle 3

At Zellers everything is for sale.

 
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Photos by Galit Rodan

 

Everything must go. That’s the message from Zellers across the country as the iconic stores prepare to leave the Canadian retail world for good. And they mean everything—not just socks and flannel sheet sets. Fixtures, tables, even entire restaurant sets are being sold at bargain-basement prices, some via listings on auction website Kijiji.

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“Shelving units used to be $500, but now they’re $250,” says Linda D., a salesperson at the Zellers in Sudbury’s Southridge Mall. “If it’s not nailed to the wall, it’s for sale.” Years ago, Linda worked at the mall’s Kmart, and when it was replaced with a Zellers, she found a job there—chalking up nearly 27 years combined.

This time around, however, there is no new store accepting resumés. Southridge Mall’s 95,000-zellers03square-foot Zellers has failed to find an interested buyer for its lease, or a new tenant to sublet the space. When it closes on March 30, no one is moving in, as far as the mall’s general manager, Robert Cardy, knows. The mall is hoping to attract a new anchor store to the massive retail space, which it created in 2005 specifically for Zellers.

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More than 60 Zellers locations were left out of the deal their owner, the Hudson’s Bay Co., struck when it agreed to sell 189 Zellers locations to U.S. retailer Target Corp. Since then, many of those unwanted Zellers have found other suitors, such as Giant Tiger, which is moving into a Zellers location in Summerside, P.E.I. But not all locations have been as lucky.

Linda has already bought some of her store’s liquidated items herself. Will she miss the place?

“You know what, I don’t really care one way or another,” she says. “Once you know it’s happening, it’s happening. And you just accept it.”

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