No matter where you live in Canada, you’ll have probably noticed your local mall looks a little different from how it did several years ago.
That’s because so many big-name stores and businesses have said goodbye to some of their physical locations and shut down stores. Others have even said goodbye to Canada entirely.
While a number of companies have made expansion moves over the last few years, the COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult for others to survive, thanks in part to lockdowns and the subsequent lack of in-person shopping.
From Starbucks and Walmart to The Disney Store and Victoria’s Secret, here’s a look at just some of the most well-known stores that have either scaled back operations or closed their doors completely in Canada since the beginning of 2020.
The Disney Store
In 2021, Disney lovers were devastated to learn that all of Canada’s Disney Stores would be closed by the end of that year.
Over a period of months, Disney shuttered its Canadian locations one by one, before the last remaining stores in the Toronto Eaton Centre and Scarborough Town Centre closed their doors for the final time in September.
The Canuck closures were part of a worldwide plan to shift focus to its e-commerce business, while reducing its brick-and-mortar footprint in countries like Canada, the U.S., and the U.K., among others.
It’s complicated for Canadian shoppers too, as there is no shopDisney website for Canada. It’s still possible to get Mickey merch online, but you can expect to pay more for shipping from the United States.
Bed, Bath & Beyond
In 2020, Bed, Bath & Beyond announced that hundreds of its stores would be permanently closed across Canada and the U.S. within two years.
The company said lockdowns and widespread COVID-19 closures led to a 50% decrease in sales, forcing them to take action by shuttering locations for good.
According to the Financial Post, not even a superstore like Walmart was able to make it through 2021 without closing a number of stores.
To adapt to pandemic life, the company invested $500 million in revamping existing locations, while closing six stores at the same time.
Locations were closed in Ontario, Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador.
In 2020, make-up fans may have been disappointed to learn that NYX Cosmetics was closing all of its Canadian stores — just six years after opening their first.
It’s not all bad news though, as the cosmetics chain later announced it would be returning to physical locations thanks to a new partnership with Walmart.
It may not be a NYX in-person store, but it’s something!
The interior of a GAP store with merch displayed on tables and walls.
In 2020, Gap announced that it would be closing around 350 stores in North America in an effort to “adapt to the current market conditions and meet the increase in online demand.”
Their ultimate goal, according to a notice shared online, is to have “a smaller and healthier fleet of stores” by 2023.
As workwear made way for comfy clothes during the pandemic, Banana Republic took a step back and scaled down its in-person operations in both Canada and the United States.
Business Insider says that by 2023, there will be only 870 Banana Republic and Gap stores left in both countries, down from 1,216 in 2019.
Chocolate-lovers will have been disappointed to learn that the chocolatier abandoned its plans for a grand expansion in 2021.
Instead, the company announced it would be closing all of its stores across North America the same year.
Explaining the move, the company told Today, Demand for the in-person shopping experience offered through Godiva’s brick-and-mortar locations has waned as a result of the pandemic and its acceleration of changes in consumers’ shopping behaviour.”
In 2020, David’s Tea announced that it would be shutting down 82 locations within just 30 days.
Not long after, the company confirmed that it would be closing “a total of 166 retail locations in Canada, and all 42 of [its] locations in the US.”
Explaining the decision, it said, “The new retail landscape has forced us to re-evaluate how we can bring tea to our fans most efficiently.”
Admitting the change was “hard,” it outlined plans to shift focus to their online sales instead.
In 2020, Le Château filed to have their assets liquidated in an attempt to close down their stores across Canada.
As many as 123 brick-and-mortar shops across the country were shut permanently, with the company moving to online-only services.
In late 2021, the company announced that it would be making an in-person comeback thanks to its new Suzy Shier ownership.
It means Le Château products are available to buy IRL in Suzy Shier locations, but physical Le Château stores remain a thing of the past.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.