The Hudson’s Bay store in Banff, Alberta, will be shuttering in August of this year. The store is the smallest in the chain and has a prominent location on the main shopping street in the town known as a tourist hot spot. Hudson’s Bay has operated department stores in the town since 1940.
The current Banff Avenue Hudson’s Bay store spans about 20,000 square feet over two levels. Located at 125 Banff Avenue, it’s the largest store in Banff at the moment and its closure spells the end of such window displays as canoes with HBC striped point blankets and other branded merchandise. The current store is actually the second department store location for Hudson’s Bay in Banff.
The first Hudson’s bay department store in Banff opened at 202 Banff Avenue in 1935 according to the Crag & Canyon, and the building is still standing to this day and is named ‘Caribou Corner’. In 1947 Hudson’s Bay relocated to its current 125 Banff Avenue location which was expanded by annexing a restaurant space in 1979.
The prior tenant at 125 Banff Avenue was Adams Radio Parlors Ltd., which had various electrical appliances including radios that could be rented.
Over the years the 125 Banff Avenue Hudson’s Bay store has sold a wide variety of merchandise including fashions, handbags, accessories and cosmetics, as well as the iconic HBC stripe merchandise that has proven popular with tourists. Fur coats and accessories were also part of the mix in decades past as the Hudson’s Bay Company was a seller of fur garments, having begun in the fur trade in 1670.
The configuration of the current Banff Avenue Hudson’s Bay store is rather awkward, with each level spanning just under 10,000 square feet. That includes a street level and a basement level that features remarkably low ceiling heights.
Given the low ceiling heights in the basement and the single-level above ground, the Banff Hudson’s Bay store could be ripe for redevelopment. That could include demising the street level into multiple retail units, or demolishing the building entirely for something new. The store boasts 75 feet of frontage on Banff Avenue and a lot depth of more than 130 feet. Hudson’s Bay owns half the building at 123-125 Banff Avenue, and another company owns the other side according to a report in RMO Today.
Various redevelopment opportunities are possible. A new mini-mall could be developed on the site — Banff Avenue is home to several, featuring smaller interior storefronts with businesses catering primarily to tourists. A hotel or other use could be located above, and even residential units if the market warrants it.
It’s not yet known if Hudson’s Bay will return to Banff with a smaller storefront featuring Hudson’s Bay Company striped merchandise, which is popular with international tourists. In the past Hudson’s Bay has opened such dedicated smaller stores in busy airports.
News of the closure of the Banff Hudson’s Bay store follows our exclusive report last week that Hudson’s Bay’s Londonderry Mall store in Edmonton will be shutting in August as well. The 118,000 square foot store opened in 1971 and saw soft sales in recent years as the store was downsized to include just two central check-outs. Over the course of the pandemic, Hudson’s Bay has shut stores in downtown Edmonton and downtown Winnipeg as well as at Les Jardins Dorval in suburban Montreal.