Posts Tagged "retailer"

Ontario retailer Green Earth says it is going out of business and closing down all of its 29 locations across the province.

The chain, founded in 1990 and based in London, sells collectibles, toys, candles, jewelry and other unique items, primarily in malls in mid-sized urban centres.

As the case for many mall-dependent retailers, the chain has been hit hard by the growth of online shopping, where customers can order similar types of eclectic products, and have them delivered to their door.

“After considering a number of restructuring options we have determined that this is the best course based on an array of business challenges,” Matthew McBride of Green Earth said in a press release this week.

The chain filed a notice of intent under Canada’s Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act earlier this month, as a first step in liquidating itself, including selling off $16 million worth of its inventory at deeply discounted prices.

Furniture, equipment and fixtures are also up for sale.

The chain has the following locations, all in Ontario:

  • Barrie, Georgian Mall
  • Belleville, Quinte Mall
  • Brampton, Bramalea City Centre
  • Brantford, Lynden Park Mall
  • Burlington, Burlington Mall
  • Cambridge, Cambridge Centre
  • Georgetown, Georgetown Marketplace
  • Guelph, Stone Road Mall
  • Hamilton, Lime Ridge Mall
  • Kingston, Cataraqui Centre
  • Kitchener, Fairview Park Mall
  • Lindsay, Lindsay Square
  • London, Masonville Place
  • London, White Oaks Mall
  • Mississauga, Erin Mills Town Centre
  • Newmarket, Upper Canada Mall
  • North Bay, Northgate Shopping Centre
  • Orangeville, Orangeville Mall
  • Orleans, Place d’Orleans
  • Oshawa, Oshawa Centre
  • Ottawa, St. Laurent Centre
  • Peterborough, Lansdowne Place
  • Sarnia, Lambton Mall
  • St. Catharines, Pen Centre Mall
  • Stratford, Festival Marketplace
  • Sudbury, New Sudbury Centre
  • Thunder Bay, Intercity
  • Waterloo, Conestoga Mall
  • Windsor, Devonshire Mall

“Our stores are really well known in the local markets where we have served our communities for years. The sale provides an opportunity for our loyal customers to buy products at compelling discounts,” McBride said. “A sale like this is unprecedented in Green Earth’s history. We encourage customers to take advantage while selection is best.”


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Cannabis company Canopy Growth Corp. says it’s teaming up with Quebec retail giant Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. to support a privately run pot shop in London, Ont.

In a news release Thursday, Canopy says the two companies plan to form a multi-year strategic partnership involving a new cannabis outlet set to open in the city in April.

Currently, the only place to buy legal recreational weed in Ontario is through a government-run online outlet, the Ontario Cannabis Store, but private brick-and-mortar shops are set to open April 1.

The provincial agency responsible for regulating those stores, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, held a lottery last month to choose the entities that could apply for the initial 25 retail licences.

Canopy and Couche-Tard say they have entered into a trademark licence agreement with one of the winners of that lottery to open a store under Canopy’s Tweed brand.

The companies say the lottery winner will continue to have “full ownership and control over the London store.”


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Canadian efforts to reduce single-use plastic will get a boost this year when a major retailer is slated to launch a test of reusable packaging in the most populated part of the country.

The chain’s identity is expected to be unveiled this spring, with online operations starting by year end, says the founder of recycler TerraCycle’s Loop.

“I say this as a Canadian, I’m super excited about getting Loop to Canada. I think it will resonate really well with the public there,” says Tom Szaky, who grew up in Toronto.

Residents within a 200- to 300-kilometre radius of Canada’s largest city will be able to purchase hundreds of products in reusable packaging made by some of the world’s leading brands, including Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Nestle.

Goods ranging from Haagen-Dazs ice cream to shampoo, toothbrushes and laundry detergent packaged in specially designed reusable containers will be ordered online from the retailer’s e-commerce site and delivered along with other store purchases. In-store purchases are expected to follow about six months later.

Cold-pressed juice startup Greenhouse Juice Co. will also participate in the project, demonstrating it’s not just suitable for “big behemoths,” he said.

The system is akin to the old milkman delivery service that was ubiquitous in the 1950s and 1960s.

“Loop is very much a reboot of an old idea but done in a very modern setting,” said Szaky.

A deposit will be charged for the container and it will be refunded when the unwashed vessel is returned at the next delivery or at the store.

The recycling effort is being launched as corporations — including large retailers, airlines and fast-food chains — have joined a global bandwagon aimed at reducing single-use plastics. The material has attracted negative attention from images of a floating garbage island in the Pacific Ocean and tangled ocean wildlife.

Other retail solutions

Retailers including Ikea, Walmart, KFC, A&W, Starbucks and Subway have promised to eliminate plastic straws and are looking for plastic alternatives for lids and cutlery. Air Canada says it will replace millions of plastic stir sticks with wood on all flights starting this summer. Tim Hortons’ parent company says it will unveil efforts to tackle the issue in the coming months, begin testing a new strawless lid this year and increase the amount of recycled content in packaging.

Loop would do away with disposable containers for some name-brand products, such as Clorox wipes, above, some shampoos and laundry detergents. Instead, those products would be delivered in sleek, reusable containers that will be picked up at your door, washed and refilled. (Dara Rackley/TerraCycle via AP)

Retailers, suppliers, consumer goods companies and governments are taking action after research has disclosed the size of the challenge, says Kathleen McLaughlin, chief sustainability officer at Walmart Inc.

The world’s largest retailer has promised in Canada to further reduce checkout plastic bags, replace plastic straws with paper and eliminate “hard-to-recycle” PVC, expanded polystyrene and unnecessary plastic packaging in all its own private brand products.

McLaughlin denies Walmart is merely engaging in a public-relations exercise.

“No, this is real action,” she said in an interview. “We are trying to change the way that people produce and consume products.”

Loblaw Cos. Ltd. says it is looking for solutions both to plastic and food waste, and has taken action to reduce plastic checkout bags, increase recyclable packaging and eliminate synthetic microbeads in its private-label products.

“The challenge of plastics won’t be solved by one-off actions. It requires the work of industry, government and consumers — and a system built to address the environmental, social and business opportunities and risks associated with waste,” spokesperson Kevin Groh wrote in an email.

Metro Inc. expects to unveil its approach to reducing waste, including plastic by mid-year. Sobey’s says it agrees with customers who complain there is too much plastic packaging. It said it is working with suppliers and industry partners to reduce the amount of plastic used in packaging and other products.

‘Whole lifecycle’ costs?

While agreeing plastic waste is unacceptable, the Canadian plastics industry pushes back against attacks on a lightweight, cost-efficient product that extends the life of produce and supports food safety.

“I don’t think these companies are fully looking at the science,” said Joe Hruska, vice-president of sustainability at the Canadian Plastics Industry Association. “They are like any company, reacting to consumer pressure and the consumers just don’t know the facts.”

He points to a 2016 study by Trucost, an environmental data and risk analysis firm, that concludes replacing plastics with alternative materials would almost quadruple environmental costs because less plastic material is used “throughout the whole lifecycle” of the products.

Lesieur’s stainless steel vegetable oils and mayonnaise containers are designed for use with Loop. A major retailer is slated to launch a Canadian test of the reusable packaging system in the Toronto area this year. (Team Créatif/Lesieur/TerraCycle via AP)

Canadians generate about 3.25 million tonnes of plastic waste, or about 140,000 garbage trucks’ worth, each year, according to Greenpeace Canada.

Sarah King, head of an oceans and plastics campaign for the environmental group, says there’s too much reliance on improving the recyclability or increasing recycled content even though just 10 to 12 per cent of goods are recycled in Canada.

For too long, the onus has been unfairly placed on consumers to recycle better and dispose of things properly instead of requiring major corporations that produce the packaging to find alternatives, said King.

“We want to go back to a model that is more holistic and is more not so disposal-centric.”

Paris, New York debut 

Szaky said Loop puts the ownership of the containers back to manufacturers who will then be motivated to make packaging durable.

The system will launch in New York and Paris this spring.

Additional Canadian cities, likely starting in western provinces, will be added as a distribution network is built.

Loop is just one of many strategies that have to be implemented to tackle the problem, says Tony Walker, assistant professor at the School for Resource and Environmental Studies at Dalhousie University.

“There’s no one answer to this problem. It’s a very complex environmental challenge so there’s no one silver bullet. We just have to hit it with many solutions.”




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Gymboree has filed for bankruptcy protection for a second time in as many years, but this time the children’s clothing retailer will begin winding down operations for good.

The San Francisco company said late Wednesday that it will close all of its Gymboree and Crazy 8 stores and attempt to sell its Janie and Jack business, intellectual property and online business.

“The company has worked diligently in recent months to explore options for Gymboree Group and its brands, and we are saddened and highly disappointed that we must move ahead with a wind-down of the Gymboree and Crazy 8 businesses,” CEO Shaz Kahng said in a statement.

Gymboree, which began offering classes for mothers and their children in 1976, runs 380 Gymboree stores in North America, of which 49 are in Canada. When it first sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2017, it had more than three times that many stores.

If officials approve the process, all remaining stores will be closed.

The company has suffered in the post-recession years like most mall-based retail stores. Steep declines in mall traffic and the shift online have devastated many traditional retailers. This week, 132-year-old department-store chain Sears averted liquidation when billionaire Eddie Lampert won tentative approval for a $5-billion plan to keep it in business.

The holidays, the most important time of the year in retail, was not nearly as robust as most had expected it to be. Macy’s suffered its worst-ever day of trading after putting up lacklustre holiday numbers, and Kohl’s reported a dramatic slowdown from a year ago. Macy’s is considered a barometer of spending in malls.

Before the opening bell Thursday, retailers were among the worst performers on the S&P 500.

Gymboree was bought by the private equity firm Bain Capital for $1.8 billion in 2010 and taken private.


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Beauty and home products retailer Crabtree & Evelyn Canada Inc. is closing its stores and has filed for bankruptcy protection.

In Quebec court filings under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, the company says it plans to begin liquidating inventory, so it can distribute the proceeds to creditors.

The company employs 123 full- and part-time employees in Canada and operates 19 stores, including 11 in Ontario, six in B.C. and one each in Alberta and Quebec.

The company says it has experienced “significant losses,” which it attributed to changing consumer demand, the rise of e-commerce and long-term declines in traditional retail traffic.

The filings also show the company’s assets consist primarily of $1.3 million in inventory and $300,000 in its wholesale accounts receivable.

The company says it has accrued $15.2 million in unpaid obligations, including $14.8 million in inventory-related costs and about $24,000 in employee vacations.


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After 11 years at the top of the mountain, MEC’s leader is ready to climb down.

David Labistour announced Tuesday he would resign as CEO of Mountain Equipment Co-op, the Vancouver-based outdoor equipment retail chain.

He said the company is completing “a significant cycle of development” involving new technology, new product offerings and a general re-investment in the brand.

“I believe the end of this cycle is the right time for me to hand the baton over to someone else,” Labistour said. “It’s sort of a bittersweet thing to step away and hand it over to someone else.”

The departure will not take effect until June 2019, he said, in order for the board to hire his replacement.

In a statement, MEC said during Labistour’s time as CEO, the co-op had grown from 2.7 million to 5.1 million members, seen 11 new stores open and developed events programming focused on physical outdoor activity.

This year, Labistour and MEC faced a tough decision about stocking products connected to a U.S. company that sells guns and ammunition. MEC ultimately decided to stop selling the items.

Labistour was in the media last month criticizing the “very white” outdoor retail sector for not being diverse enough in its workforce or its marketing, after MEC was itself called out online by a Vancouver customer.

Since then, MEC has partnered with a more diverse array of “ambassador” athletes for the brand and Labistour committed to hiring more diverse employees.

“Diversity and making sure we’re relevant to the demographic communities we’re in is part of this way forward, and we’re committed to it,” he said.

Labistour said he wouldn’t speculate on what’s next but added: “Certainly, I have another career in me.”


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An American marijuana company whose shares will soon trade in Canada has raised $85 million in a private placement, funds the company plans to use to ramp up retail operations around the world.

Green Growth Brands announced on Tuesday that it had originally hoped to raise $55 million in a recent offering, but ended up raising more than expected due to investor interest.

Unlike many companies in the cannabis space that started with producing medical marijuana and are now training their focus on how to distribute it to recreational customers once it becomes legal in Canada next month, GGB opted to focus in on the retail side of things from day one.

That’s partly because of the professional background of the CEO. Peter Horvath has significant experience in retail, with numerous executive positions at companies like Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, American Eagle and others before coming to head up GGB earlier this year.

Horvath says GGB has had discussions with Canadian and other suppliers about possible partnerships down the line, but is concentrating on expanding in U.S. jurisdictions where the drug is already legal for now.

“Nothing is out of the question but our focus is on U.S. recreational retail at first,” Horvath said in an interview Tuesday.

That leaves the door open to Canada, where the company’s shares will soon trade after a reverse takeover of Xanthic Biopharma, which is listed on the Canadian Stock Exchange. That transaction, announced earlier this summer, is expected to close by the end of the year.

Horvath says many U.S. states and companies messed up a golden opportunity by rushing things following legalization, which has led to wide price variations across states and operators that aren’t as well run as they could be.

So he says the cautious approach that many Canadian provinces are taking could be the way to go, as long as they are learning from others’ mistakes.

“You can’t just set it up and hope it works,” he said. “People who say they’ll figure it out later don’t realize how hard it is.”


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