Marks & Spencer closing ahead of schedule

Marks & Spencer Canada said Wednesday it will close all of its stores by August 31, one month ahead of schedule.

The famed British retailer, which has already closed some of its nearly 40 Canadian stores, said some locations will close even earlier if all their inventory is sold.

"As we move into the last days of our Canadian operations, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the thousands of customers who have shown their support for Marks and Spencer," chief executive David Stewart said in a release.

"I would also like to pay special tribute to our dedicated staff, who have performed exceptionally over the last several months and continue to provide excellent customer service during this difficult time."

Marks & Spencer announced in late April it was pulling out of Canada, blaming mounting losses for the closures.

The company, affectionately known as Marks and Sparks, had struggled in recent years as the growth of discount stores and the arrival of "big box" U.S. retailers cut into sales. Over the last two years the company tried to restructure, cutting costs and reducing the number of stores from 47 to 38.

The company has operated in Canada since 1973, originally under the Marks and Spencer, D'Allaird's and Peoples banners. The Peoples and D'Allaird's chains were sold in 1992 and 1996.

In 1998, the Canadian operations lost nearly $20 million.

At the time the company announced the closure, it employed about 900 people across the country, including 60 at its head office in Toronto.

The following stores will close on or before July 31:

  • Champlain Place, Moncton, N.B.
  • Montreal Trust, Montreal.
  • Burlington Mall, Burlington, Ont.
  • Bloor Street, Toronto.
  • Fairview Mall, Toronto.
  • Yorkdale Mall, Toronto.
  • Bramalea City Centre, Bramalea, Ont.
  • Upper Canada Mall, Newmarket, Ont.
  • Oshawa Centre, Oshawa, Ont.
  • Fairview Park Mall, Kitchener, Ont.
  • Devonshire Mall, Windsor, Ont.
  • Heritage Mall, Edmonton.
  • Lansdowne Park, Richmond, B.C.
  • Guildford Town Centre, Surrey, B.C.
  • Robson Street, Vancouver.

The remaining stores will close on or before Aug. 31:

  • Sparks Street, Ottawa.
  • Eaton Centre, Toronto.
  • Scarborough Town Centre, Toronto.
  • Sherway Gardens, Toronto.
  • Square One, Mississauga, Ont.
  • Whiteoaks Mall, London, Ont.
  • Victoria Eaton Centre, Victoria.
  • Park Royal, West Vancouver, B.C.