Zellers He’s back, Canada!
The retail chain, which mostly disappeared from the Canadian scene in 2013, It reopened in select Ontario and Alberta locations Thursday, with more stores to follow in the coming months.
Nostalgic brand counting It takes shape into a series of pop-up stores located within the existing Hudson’s Bay Co. locations. – the parent company of Zellers. There is also an extensive online store that sells everything from household items and clothing to pet gear and toys.
We attended the opening day Zellers 2.0 at the Sunridge Mall location in Calgary to check out the deals and see if the store’s offerings live up to the hype.
Is lowest price still the law at Zellers? Do the new stores offer anything that sets them apart from other chains? This is what we learned.
We got to Zeller’s pop up a few minutes after they opened at 10am and it was already crowded. Crowds of people were swarming the aisles of the 10,000-square-foot, second-floor store, and the first excited shoppers had already hung all the distinctive red wraps through the doors.
Despite only claiming part of the second floor of The Bay, there’s plenty of inventory and selection and it really feels like a full store – albeit a lot smaller than the Zellers we grew up with. We spied clothes for the whole family, lots of gear for pets, kids crafts and games, cookware, appliances, bedding and towels, and some very cute and functional home décor and furniture items.
The majority of Zellers merchandise is from a new, named in-house brand ANKO, clearly benefiting from a very specific design aesthetic. The home decor items feature lots of pastels, neutral colors, light woods, and natural materials. Many children’s toys are open-ended wooden toys intended for imaginative play. Even the pet items seem designed for the most pampered and stylish animal.
Canadians left out by the sudden departure of Target stores will be excited by Zellers—it sure gives off a Target-meet-Ikea vibe. Plenty of choices go with the boho-meets-mid-century look made popular by aspirational lifestyle accounts on social media.
What are the prices?
When looking online and in store, the prices at Zellers seem on par with the brand. Each item features what’s called round pricing, which means you won’t see a price tag of $4.99 or $75.25—everything is rounded up to the nearest dollar.
When talking to shoppers about the prices, there were mixed reactions.
“The Dollar Store has a lot of similar items for cheaper, but maybe the quality is better (at Zellers)?” We’ll have to see, shopper Anna Kirk, who was armed with a basket full of storage solutions for her pantry, told Global News.
“Maybe the prices look a little higher than Walmart, they feel more like what I pay in Winners. But a lot of it looks nicer than Walmart, so I’m willing to pay more for it,” Sam Mirza said.
There were no door crash specials on opening day but that doesn’t mean there aren’t bargains to be found. The bathroom and kitchen items, in particular, seem to be good value for tight budgets. The furniture section is quite small and contains mostly storage and shelving solutions, but nothing outrageously priced. If fact, most items are under $150.
Do you offer anything different?
The new Zellers are certainly not the Zeller most Canadians will remember. A lot of thought has gone into the brand’s interior aesthetic, and the furniture, home and living items are sure to look more curated and modern.
And while there is plenty to choose from in most departments, the menswear and womenswear departments are quite small and contain only the most basic of clothes—shirts, pants, sweaters, socks, and underwear.
The range of children’s clothing is a bit larger, with lots of printed pajamas and casual wear, but the children’s collection is the best in terms of selection, with lots of adorable clothes, toys and nursery essentials.
Website vs. in-store
When comparing Zellers’ E-commerce offers To choose it in the store, customers will notice a lot of overlap. However, the online store does offer some items that you won’t find on the physical sites, including Zellers’ “Value Packs.”
Signage around the store encourages customers to do so Go online to find more items, so chances are that if you can’t find something in the store, they’ll get it online. Although we didn’t buy anything online, the experience is smooth and easy to use.
Zellers also offers free shipping on orders over $69 ($39 with a Hudson’s Bay Mastercard), depending on location, same-day or next-day delivery.
What about food?
Some of the biggest buzz about Zellers’ return has been around the food. The new Zellers footprint doesn’t quite accommodate returning nostalgic diners, but several locations feature a food truck serving some of their old diner menu items.
The menu is simple and includes five items – a large “Z” burger, hot chicken sandwich, grilled cheese, chicken fingers and french fries with gravy.
Unfortunately, despite Calgary’s mild springtime temperatures, we didn’t have the patience to stand among the approximately 150 people lining up for the food truck on opening day. However, Tim Kowalchuk, one of the first customers in line, assured us that the hot chicken sandwich “tastes exactly as I remember.”
Shop it or skip it?
Whether or not Zellers has what it takes for a successful comeback remains to be seen It has not been seen yet. Many Canadians feel pinch of inflationand look for ways to increase their money, and Discount stores are becoming increasingly popular In the last years.
Overall, Zellers offers affordable items that don’t sacrifice style and will surely appeal to residents who are increasingly influenced by the curated and ambitious spaces that come across their social media feeds.
Zellers doesn’t offer anything revolutionary in terms of product, quality, or price, but many Canadians are sure to appreciate an additional one-stop option for affordable, contemporary home items.
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