Fields closing stores in area by end of May

A rural retail icon will disappear from Central Alberta in the next few months.

Pedestrians walk past the Fields Dollar Depot in downtown Red Deer.

A rural retail icon will disappear from Central Alberta in the next few months.

The Fields stores in Red Deer, Innisfail, Olds and Rimbey are slated to close by May 31, said a spokesperson with the discount chain’s parent company, Hudson Bay Co. (HBC).

“We will be off premise May 31, but we might close the doors a bit earlier to the public,” said Tiffany Bourré, HBC’s external communications manager.

The Fields store in Ponoka ceased operations in late February, an accelerated timeline that Bourré said was the result of the landlord terminating the store’s lease.

HBC announced in December that it would close the 26 Ontario Fields stores in February. Early last month it confirmed that it was also pulling the plug on the remaining 141 stores.

“We’re closing in phases, with all closures complete by fall 2012,” said Bourré.

Liquidation of merchandise will typically begin 12 weeks prior to closure, she said, with this process now underway at the Central Alberta stores.

The decision to discontinue the Fields chain was made so that HBC could focus on growing its other brands, said Bourré. These consist of The Bay, Lord & Taylor and Home Outfitters.

She said she couldn’t comment on the number of Fields employees affected by the closures.

Fields has long been known as a discount department store, with outlets in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

Founder Joseph Segal opened the first store in Vancouver in 1950. It expanded across British Columbia and into Alberta and Saskatchewan, largely through the acquisition of small retail outlets.

Fields acquired majority ownership of the Zellers chain in 1976, but after a few months became a subsidiary of Zellers itself. HBC bought Fields and Zellers soon after.

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