Say goodbye to Smart Set.
Reitmans announced yesterday that it will be closing all 107 of the womenswear stores over the next 12 to 18 months. The move is likely the result of an increasingly competitve retail environment here in Canada, as low-cost American alternatives, like H&M and J. Crew, creep north of the border.
Executives with the company had been trying to reposition Smart Set over the past couple of years to appeal to a slightly older woman willing to shell out more cash, but that strategy apparently failed.
“[The retail environment is] a very, very busy space and we are not in a position of dominance and we didn’t think we could grow to a position of dominance,” CEO Jeremy Reitman told CTV News.
Smart Set will now join a growing list of Canadian retailers that have been forced to close up as competition stiffens. Jacob Inc. decided to abandon restructuring efforts and announced in October that it would be closing its 92 stores across the country.
There is some good news though: Only 31 of the locations will be closed completely. The remaining 76 will be converted either to Reitmans stores, Penningtons chains or to another name under its banner. So they aren’t just going to disappear.
It’s still unclear how many jobs will be lost as a result of the closures. About 40 employees working for Smart Set at Reitmans’ head office will be transferred to the company’s other banners. Reitmans, meanwhile, employs about 10,000 full-time and part-time employees across Canada.
Well… At least we still have Canadian Tire.