Hudson’s Bay store in Winnipeg’s Polo Park closed temporarily due to what chain calls strain on cooling system


The Hudson’s Bay store at Winnipeg’s CF Polo Park shopping mall is among several Bay stores across Canada that have temporarily closed due to what the retailer says is a heat wave-induced strain on heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

The Polo Park Bay store was closed on Tuesday. A sign placed on a glass door stated the closure was “due to scheduled systems maintenance.”

A second Winnipeg store at St. Vital Centre was open Tuesday, both the retailer and the shopping mall confirmed.

Yet several other Bay stores in Canada — including one location each in Vancouver, Victoria, B.C., Prince George, B.C., and Windsor, Ont. — have also closed, CBC News and other media have reported.

Tiffany Bourré, HBC’s vice-president in charge of corporate communications for The Bay, said warm weather is to blame.

“The current heat wave has caused strain on HVAC systems in certain Hudson’s Bay locations. We are working to address as quickly as possible,” Bourré wrote in a statement to CBC News.

“The comfort and wellbeing of customers and associates remains our top priority.”

The highest temperature in Winnipeg on Tuesday recorded by Environment Canada at either The Forks or Richardson International Airport was 28 C, about two degrees warmer than the average daily high for July 9. 

Bourré stressed that none of the Bay stores that were closed as of Tuesday are slated to be shuttered permanently.

The temporary closures come less than a week after Hudson’s Bay Co. announced plans to buy luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus for $2.65 billion US.

HBC plans to group Neiman Marcus with its other international assets, including Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman, into a new high-end collection called Saks Global.

The company has said it intends to place Hudson’s Bay stores in Canada and online retail operations within a stand-alone group that takes on less debt and relies more on cash.

David Ian Gray, a retail consultant for DIG360 Consulting in Vancouver, said Hudson’s Bay leadership appears to be signalling it is more concerned with the luxury retail market right now.

What temporary closures of The Bay could tell us about the future of department stores

Some B.C. locations of The Bay department store were closed this week, even as the store’s parent company completed a multibillion-dollar acquisition of U.S.-based Neiman Marcus. Retail strategist David Ian Gray shares his thoughts about the future of Canada’s retail scene.

Existing Bay-branded stores do not appear to be enjoying the same degree of attention, he suggested, noting he was inside a Bay store shortly before it closed and found it to be warmer than the adjoining mall and somewhat sparsely attended.

“It’s pretty evident they’re not investing in regular upkeep and keeping the stores fresh,” Gray told CBC Vancouver’s On The Coast radio program.

“These are very important stores for both many shoppers still, and the brands that sell into them, but without acknowledging a need for a modern retail experience, something that keeps rejuvenating and being reinvented, it suggests to me that it might sort of drift slowly.”

Earlier this year, Hudson’s Bay announced plans to close its store in Banff, Alta., as well as one of its Edmonton stores.

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