Army & Navy closes stores after 101 years in business, cites COVID-19

Army & Navy closes stores after 101 years in business, cites COVID-19

VANCOUVER — Family-owned Army & Navy says it has become a victim of the COVID-19 pandemic and will permanently close its department stores after 101 years in business in Western Canada.

Jacqui Cohen, Army & Navy president and chief executive officer, says the economic challenges of COVID-19 have become insurmountable.

She says the company closed its five stores and laid off its staff last March, hoping the closures would be temporary, but the economic impact of the pandemic is beyond what was expected.

Cohen says her grandfather, Samuel Cohen, opened his first Army & Navy on Vancouver’s Hastings Street 1919, selling predominantly military surplus supplies, from which the store’s name originated.

She says the store grew into Canada’s first discount department store chain and at closing had stores in New Westminster, Langley, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Cohen says Army & Navy stuck to her grandfather’s motto throughout the years of “Buy cheap, sell cheap. Pass the deal onto the customer.”

“The retail sector has shifted dramatically during that time,” Cohen’s statement reads. “Army & Navy stood alongside Canadians for the country’s highs and lows, but the economic impact of this global pandemic is beyond anything we have experienced.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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