Richmond’s major retail landscape shifted significantly on the news of two announcements early this week.
One of the city’s longest serving department stores — Sears at Richmond Centre — will be closing by Feb. 2015, while newcomer Target set the opening date of its Lansdowne Centre location for Nov. 13.
The closure of Sears locally will bring to an end an association of the brand that was first part of the Richmond Square location as Simpson-Sears, and later became one of the single largest retailers when an amalgamation of Richmond Square and Richmond Centre took place in the early 1990s.
According to Sears Canada, the store closure is one of five across the chain with the company selling back its leases, worth an estimated $400 million, to the mall operators, Cadillac Fairview and its partners in an effort to improve is fortunes in the increasingly competitive retail market.
Included in the closure is Sears’ flagship location at Toronto's Eaton Centre.
The move is expected to affect 965 employees across the country.
As for speculation on what will fill the soon to be vacant space, Cadillac Fairview’s media representative remained tight-lipped.
“Cadillac Fairview is always looking for opportunities to update the merchandising mix at its shopping centres, to create a premier shopping experience for our customers, and this agreement with Sears is a reflection of that,” said Magda Jarota, Account Supervisor, Consumer Marketing with Toronto-based Maverick. “Cadillac Fairview does not disclose information regarding tenant negotiations or the merchandising and/or leasing strategy of its shopping centres, but the company is very excited about future plans for these Sears locations and will share those plans when appropriate.”
Meanwhile, across town at Lansdowne Centre, officials from Target announced the Richmond location will be among six of its stores across the Lower Mainland that will be open for business on Nov. 13.
The, two-storey, 138,000-square-foot local Target is situated where most recently Zellers, and originally Eaton’s was located.
Target already has 33 stores across Canada, most of them moving into ere-developed spaces last held by Zellers.
“The final store openings for this year mark a major milestone in Target’s history,” said Tony Fisher, president of Target Canada, in a press release. “The goal for our Canadian expansion was to open 124 stores across all 10 provinces in 2013, and we are proud to say that with the help of more than 20,000 Canadian team members nationwide, we have accomplished this unprecedented undertaking.”
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