MUSKOKA - It’s business as usual at the two Muskoka Zellers stores, despite ominous signs that drastic changes to the stores are at hand.
Two international real estate companies have recently posted information on their websites, listing the 50,470-square-foot Bracebridge store and the 86,683-square-foot Huntsville operation as “available for sublease or assignment.”
The future of the two stores has been uncertain for the past two years, after American retail giant Target excluded the Muskoka stores from a purchase of more than 200 stores from Hudson Bay Company.
Tiffany Bourré, the external communications manager for HBC, would not comment on the listings, and said Friday that there are no planned closures for the two stores and that it is “business as usual.”
As for the listing by the two real estate companies, Bourré would only say that the company is “exploring all possible options for our Zellers stores that were not acquired by Target.”
“There are no closures planned but we are reviewing all our possible options for the remaining stores. Our strategy has not yet been determined for any of the non-acquired stores.”
She said there is no timeline on how long a review of their strategy moving forward will take.
Bourré could not say how many people work at the two combined Muskoka locations, but did said that a typical Zellers store employs around 100 associates.
The listing with the real estate companies caught staff at the Huntsville store unaware and some expressed concern about their jobs.
Bourré said that the company is continuing to communicate with its associates about its moves. “We are committed to doing that.”