Zellers is one of the largest discount retail chains
, operating over 350 stores nationwide
. It is owned and operated by the Hudson's Bay Company
, who purchased it, along with the Simpsons chain of department stores
, in the 1970s. HBC became the sole owner of Zellers in 1980.
1986 saw Zellers become somewhat of a pioneer in the retail field, developing a few notable strategies for improving customer retention and brand identity. The chain ran a series of ads featuring their mascot Zeddy, who touted the Law of Toyland: "Where the lowest price is the law." Zellers customers who found a toy advertised for less than Zellers' price received a cash rebate. Zellers' biggest success was Club Z (that's "Club Zed," remember folks, this is Canada), the forerunner to most of the retail "rewards programs" you see today. Club Z members would receive 50 to 100 points for every dollar spent at Zellers. After you amassed some 500,000 points, you might be able to exchange them for say a colander. Or a bag of diapers. Or Tupperware. You get the idea.
Zellers has faced much stiffer competition beginning in the 1990s, following Wal-Mart's 1994 purchase of rival Woolco (one of the last remaining vestiges of the Woolworths empire), and the proliferation of big box retailers, such as Future Shop, Home Depot and Staples.
Update: Zellers ceased to exist in 2013.
Hudson's Bay Company - http://www.hbc.com/zellers
About Woolworth - http://www.geocities.com/zayre88/R_wool.html
Memorable Moments in Ontario Retailing - http://www3.sympatico.ca/linda.winter/jw/1980s.htm