Walmart bought and closed all FW Woolworth properties to facilitate their move here. They kept the stand alone and shuttered the mall locations and anything with insufficient parking.
Woolco was huge, 25 years ago. There were very few Woolworth stores left, but a few still existed. I remember, because Pembroke had a huge two-story downtown Woolworth’s that was closed by Walmart because they didn’t want it. No Walmart in Pembroke then; it took them about 15 years to open a store. Giant Tiger eventually opened in the Woolworth site, but that took a few years, too.
No Woolworths left in Canada. I think there are still some in the US, and I know they have them in Germany, because I shopped there last year.
In terms of Walmart, 1994, versus Target, 2012, as discussed by Francine Kopun, “Zellers employees walk away empty-handed in $1.825-billion deal“; Toronto Star, August 20, 2012, with some bolding:
Walmart did it differently in 1994. When the Arkansas-based chain bought the ailing Woolco stores, it took on all 16,000 employees in 122 locations.
“Even though Woolco had seen better days and was struggling, there was still an enormous amount of talent in that company,” said Andrew Pelletier, vice-president of corporate affairs and sustainability at Walmart Canada.
Mario Pilozzi, a senior vice-president at Woolco at the time of the takeover, went on to become CEO of Walmart Canada.
Woolco sales associates were given extensive retraining. They were given a five per cent raise.
“I think that is one of the reasons Walmart has succeeded in Canada, is because we started with a fantastic team that we re-motivated,” said Pelletier.
Walmart now has more than 300 locations in Canada.
Interestingly, Walmart did not apply the same approach this time around when it picked up 39 former Zellers stores from Target.
“We didn’t automatically hire all of the Zellers employees as we needed to determine the staffing needs for each of these additional stores first, which vary in size and layout. We also needed to determine what merchandise would be carried in each store (food, etc) which varies by store and which affects staffing requirements.
However, we have been reaching out to the Zellers employees all year and have already hired hundreds of the Zellers employees to work in these stores, including pharmacy associates. Since our hiring for these stores is still underway, we expect the number of Zellers hires will continue to grow,” said Pelletier.
Of the 220 Zellers leaseholds originally purchased in 2011, Target kept 189. It transferred 45 of the 189 to other retailers, including 39 to Walmart. In July, HBC announced that it would be closing its remaining 85 stores.
There were 273 Zellers locations in Canada before the deals were made, each location employing between 100 and 150 people. About 15 Zellers stores were unionized.
That means at least 27,300 people across Canada lost their jobs as a result of the transactions.
“The simple fact is that Target did not buy the Zellers business and as such there was no transfer of merchandise, systems or employees,” Target Canada spokesperson Lisa Gibson said.
“Target wants to deliver the best guest service possible. To accomplish that goal, we need the flexibility to interview all interested candidates so we can select the best, guest-service focused team members.
“Target has already hired a number of former Zellers/HBC employees and is guaranteeing an interview to all Zellers employees who apply for a position for the 2013 store opening cycle.”
So I was wrong. Zellers employees were not necessarily ineligible to be hired by Target. They were “guaranteed an interview” and if they could “deliver the best guest service possible”, they would get hired. Still not clear how many were in fact hired. If approximately 27,000 losing jobs at the time of Zellers closure, two years ago, and over 17,000 losing jobs now…