Over and out at Zellers? Alas, not yet
By: Tim Cusack
| Posted: Saturday, Jul 07, 2012 06:00 am
Zellers closing-out sale is truly missing the Target!
Sales, deals and bargains are intriguing. Who doesn’t want to save money on a purchase? For many of us savvy shoppers, poring over the newspaper flyers and scanning for loss leaders, BOGO, or other savings is a pre-shopping ritual. In fact, it is the prudent purchaser who coupons his or her way to consumer bliss. The truth is, everyone loves a great deal. There are many to find but a full-out, store-closing liquidation ranks extremely high on the “have to go check it out” index. St. Albert’s Zellers is a great example. Or is it?
In case you have not heard, the American based Target Corp. purchased the lease agreements to 220 Zellers stores in 2011. Zellers Inc., a long-time subsidiary of Canada’s coveted Hudson’s Bay Co., will be closing its doors in approximately 189 locations, our St. Albert store being one of them. For fans of national nostalgia, the loss of ‘this little piece of Canadian history’ may appear as another great sell-out to American interests. I lived in a smaller city when the first Wal-Mart appeared and that generated significant buzz. But is losing Zellers really a big deal? No. The bigger question is: When is this marathon closing-out sale going to end?
You have observed the blowout savings and everything-must-go signs. You have been distracted by the street-side human billboard dancers as you drive along the St. Albert Trail. Perhaps lured by the appeal of promising savings, you have, like me, gone into the store to see what all the hype is about. Like me, you have probably come to the same quick realization that it is easy to have clearance items marked at 30- to 50-per-cent off when they have been marked up previously. Who are we trying to kid here? Most items, when compared to other comparable retailers, are still more expensive. How is that in any way, shape or form a blowout? Are there some deals? Yes. But I am going to say that consumers are best served by heading to the bigger boxes.
I am certain that over the sound of the hype and the excitement of swaying sales banners and everything-must-go signs that you will hear Zeddy the Zellers mascot bear choking back the tears of shame. Remember the sales slogan from the 1990s: Zellers, where the lowest price is the law every day? I think Zeddy is even sadder now that he is a lawbreaker. Take him away in cuffs, I say! Besides, everyone knows Snuggles the fabric softening bear is savouring every moment of Zeddy’s demise.
If you are selling off your merchandise, you do want to minimize losses. I get that. We all do. But if you are truly striving to clear your inventory, don’t insult our consumer intelligence with faux deals. This whole Zellers closing misses the target when it comes to offering true savings. It appears, however, that the Target didn’t miss Zellers. Let’s just hope the change of ownership has minimal impact on employees and those who do their best to serve the paying customer.
I will miss Zellers. It, like Canadian Tire, Tim Hortons, The Bay, and a few other chains, remind us of our Canadian heritage. No one wants to see these become Americanized. Supporting our local merchants is important. Buyer beware, however, is even more important!
Tim Cusack is holding out for Zeddy Cola to hit 7-per-cent off before buying.