It’s the end of a clothes-shopping era for many Central Alberta women with the pending closure of the Dots Discount Designer Wear store in downtown Red Deer.
The store at 4952 50th St. has been open since 1995, but is shutting its doors for good at the end of October.
The Edmonton-based owners of the small chain had to make a hard business decision to close the Red Deer store because of increasing competition in discount women’s wear, said Ann Simard, Dots’ general manager of operations and finance.
“We’re a small Canadian-owned company and it’s getting increasingly difficult, with Winners, Target, Walmart. . . . There’s only so many retail dollars to go around.”
Since sales were stagnant at the Red Deer store, a decision was reluctantly made to close the outlet and consolidate operations, said Simard.
“It’s a shame. It’s a very nice store in Red Deer and a nice location in the downtown, where so much has been done with revitalization.”
“We’ve enjoyed being in Red Deer’s downtown. We’ve been there almost 20 years,” she added.
The local store closure follows the lease-related shutdown of a Dots affiliate store in Richmond, B.C. But Dots outlets will remain open in Edmonton, Calgary, Medicine Hat, Regina, Saskatoon and Victoria.
All stock that regularly sells for 50 to 80 per cent off suggested retail prices will be further discounted at the Red Deer store until total savings are about 90 per cent, said Stephanie Poor, assistant manager of the Red Deer store. New merchandise will be coming in right up to closing day, promised Poor, who is one of eight mostly part-time staffers who will lose their jobs.
Red Deer resident Sue Schollie is among the disappointed longtime Dots customers. Shopping at the local outlet for the past 10 to 15 years gave her another reason to go downtown.
“We’d get an email saying ‘You can’t beat a Dots deal!’ and a friend of mine would always call me up and say ‘How about a Dots day?’”
She said the two would meet at a downtown coffee shop before spending some time perusing racks of discounted clothing.
“You could always find a one-of-a-kind item at Dots. It was unique.”
Many other shoppers are sorry to hear of the Red Deer store’s demise, said Poor.
“Everybody’s sad, but understanding. . . . it’s such a good, unique store in Red Deer.”
Poor consoles customers by saying, “Edmonton isn’t too long of a drive away.”