After announcing in December the closure of 26 Ontario Fields stores, The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) will now shut down its remaining 141 locations across the country in phases by fall 2012 – a strategic decision made to focus on growing its other banners: The Bay, Lord & Taylor and Home Outfitters, according to Tiffany Bourre, HBC external communications manager.
“We currently don’t have any plans to open another HBC banner (in Trail) and we don’t know what the landlord’s plans are for that store location,” said Bourre, who would not disclose specifics on the number of people the Trail location employs.
While the empty former Liquidation World across the street from Fields may paint a different picture of business in Trail, Greater Trail’s economic development office said there is more happening than meets the eye.
“We all recognize that there are a number of empty buildings in the downtown core but having said that, I think given the announcements that have been made in terms of the expansion up at Cominco and a lot of the other positive economic indicators that are out there, we feel quite confident that we will be successful in filling up the gaps in the months and years to come,” said Sandy Santori, executive director of the Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation (LCIC).
The local economic office is currently in pursuit of a campaign to target particular businesses and chains and sell them on the opportunities that exist in this region.
Trail’s Downtown Opportunities and Action Committee is looking into creating an anchor downtown that will create a buzz not only for customers but potential new business.
“We need to create that interest and make the downtown core a place that you want to go, as opposed to a place that you need to go,” said Santori.
Fields is a value-priced merchandise store that sells apparel, home, grocery, health and beauty.
The first of its kind opened in Vancouver in 1950, derived from a company created by Second World War veteran Joseph Segal in 1948. It became a public company in 1968 when there were eight franchise locations and one year later, Fields purchased three small HBC stores in British Columbia – Kimberley, Nelson and Powell – with HBC staff being retained. This led to Fields expanding in the early ‘70s and by 1988, the store officially became a division of HBC.
Trail employees did not provide comment upon request Monday.