Alberni Zellers not targeted

The Zellers store on third Avenue wasn’t on the list of stores new owner Target said it acquired last Thursday. More acquisitions will take place this fall.

The Port Alberni Zellers outlet is not on the list of stores new company owner Target Corp. was picking to leave open.

Where that leaves the company’s presence in the Alberni Valley isn’t known right now, Mayor Ken McRae said.

Target released its list of 105 locations in all 10 Canadian provinces that will become Target stores, including 15 in B.C.

Stores in Campbell River, Courtenay, Nanaimo and Victoria are slated to become Target stores on Vancouver Island.

Other locations in B.C. include Burnaby, Coquitlam, Chilliwack, Cranbrook and Vernon among others.

In January Minneapolis-based Target Corp. purchased Zellers stores from the Hudson’s Bay Company for $1.8 billion.

As part of the deal, Target has the right to acquire 220 leases from Zellers Inc.—110 upon first payment. Additional stores will be selected this fall.

“We are thrilled to share these first details about our planned entry into Canada,” said Tony Fisher, president of Target Canada in a news release.

“We are excited that these initial store sites ensure Target will be represented throughout the country.”

There’s still room to manoeuvre with fall several months away yet, McRae said.

“Pat Deakin has been in discussions with Target since their announcement in January,” McRae said of the city economic development manager.

Target and the city exchanged introductory letters with both saying they looked forward to continuing business in the Valley.

The Island outlets that were part of the announcement are owned, McRae said, while the building that houses the local Zellers outlet is leased.

“I hope that they can work something out,” McRae said.

Losing Zellers would be akin to losing the uptown’s anchor.

“That’s all that’s left in the uptown,” McRae said.

Even if the Alberni outlet is bought the jobs don’t necessarily come with it.

Each Target store in Canada will employ approximately 150 to 200 team members, according to the release.

Target will also engage with Zellers associates to make it easy for them to apply for jobs at Target, the release noted.

Once all stores are chosen each will undergo significant renovation before they open as Target outlets.

A full conversion from Zellers to Target is to be completed by 2013.

reporter@albernivalleynew.scom

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