Print

Zellers Timeline

Zellers has a long history in Canada. For more than 80 years, Canadians have made Zellers a part of their lives as shoppers and workers, and together they have built the company into one of the country’s most successful retailers.

Zellers has a long history in Canada. For more than 80 years, Canadians have made Zellers a part of their lives as shoppers and workers, and together they have built the company into one of the country’s most successful retailers.

  • Zellers founded in 1931 by Walter P. Zeller as "stores for thrifty Canadians”
  • The first Zellers stores were opened in southern Ontario
  • Within 25 years, Zellers operated sixty stores and employed 3,000 people
  • In 1952, Zellers opened its first stores in Atlantic Canada
  • Zellers opened its first Quebec locations in 1956
  • In 1981, Zellers was purchased by one of Canada’s oldest and most revered businesses, the Hudson’s Bay Company
  • Workers at a Sudbury, Ontario, location became the first group of Zellers employees to organize and join the union in 1988. Other Zellers workers in Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec soon followed their brave lead at 15 other stores.
  • Zellers was sold to a New York-based company, NRDC Equity Partners, in 2008, who built on the company’s success with all existing staff – while respecting their bargaining rights as workers in Canada
  • On January 13, 2011, Target purchased the lease agreements of up to 220 Zellers stores for $1.82-billion. At the time of the “real estate transaction”, there were 269 Zellers locations in Canada
  • Shortly after, Target announced that all Zellers employees – regardless of experience or years of service – will be fired and forced to reapply with everyone else if they want a job in  their rebranded workplaces
  • September 2011, Target announces that it is “assigning” 45 Zellers locations to other retailers, including Walmart and Sobeys

January 4, 2012, Target announces that it will open its first locations in Ontario next year. The first 24 conversions are scheduled for completion by the spring of 2013

 
 
 

Target is one of the world’s most successful retailers and many Canadians are excited about shopping in new store locations that offer a weekly ad, coupons, regular store hours and the company’s popular redcard.

Target will soon be hiring in Canada and that is a good thing. But Target can be an even stronger force in our community by giving Zellers workers the respect they deserve. With your help, Target can be a leader in creating better, fairer jobs that benefit our communities today and well into the future.

This website is operated and maintained by UFCW Canada. This is not a Zellers or Target website, but features current Zellers workers who have all volunteered to tell their stories and share their opinions. UFCW Canada is a not-for-profit worker organization dedicated to social justice and creating better living standards for its membership and all working families.