Hamilton has not been a good market for The Bay format. It has less than a 20-year retail history in Hamilton, and expanded into our area only after buying up the cash-strapped Robinson's brand. So, quietly extracting this format from the Hamilton market after a tepid 20-year presence is certainy not that surprising. Those stores that were converted to The Bay brand were never really successful at drawing business from Sears, their major competitor in the Hamilton area. Zellers is the only HBC format that does well in our market, other than possibly the Home Outfitters at Lime Ridge.
I would not be surprised to see the Bay format completely abandoned in Hamilton. They only have two stores here currently, and both have tell-tale signs of dog-earred interior/exteriors. Eastgate in particular looks like a store whose renovation is on hold until HBC decides if it should stay put as is. And, while I do not have personal access to HBC books since it was taken into private ownership by Jerry Zucker, just sitting on a bench by their Eastgate entrance and counting the people entering the shop (or more importantly, exiting with parcels) gives an accurate picture of how poorly that location is doing.
There has been talk for some time that Zucker wants The Bay out of certain markets - here's an exerpt from a National Post article
on that topic:
The new U.S. owner of Hudson's Bay Co. is trying to unload as many as 80 stores across Canada, in a move industry sources speculate could result in one of the giant retailer's major brand outlets leaving one region of the country altogether.
Sources say that HBC, which was acquired by South Carolina billionaire Jerry Zucker for $1.7-billion this month, has prepared a list of store leases it would like to exit and is now asking other retailers whether they would consider taking over the space.
The entire article can be read here