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Goodbye Grand & Toy

Toronto Retail

OfficeMax Grand & Toy is closing all of its remaining 19 retail stores, including a bunch in Ontario. Over 160 employees of the 1,300 staff will be impacted by the news.


OfficeMax Grand & Toy GM Simon Finch tells Bisnow the company is focusing on its growing online business and direct sales. "Only a small percentage of the company's sales come from walk-ins into the retail stores," he says. The company started in Toronto in 1882 as a stationery printing business. (All the way back when people wrote letters on paper with ink and sent them in the mail. What do any of those words even mean?) The first retail store opened on Bay Street in 1926. It was taken over by US-based OfficeMax Inc in 1996 and Office Depot bought OfficeMax last year for $1.2B.


CBRE SVP retail services group Tom Balkos tells us the news isn’t a surprise—it’s only 19 locations, and “they already culled through their suburban real estate many years ago.” It’s a sign of the times—there are clearly many product categories that will continue to revert to either a sole e-commerce platform or one that is complemented by limited bricks and mortar (Best Buy/Future Shop, or other SKU-based retailers). “Goods that don’t require an emotional or tactile connection,” Tom says. (Or goods that don't provide a nice excuse to get away from your family for two hours.)


There is also an interesting, related trend in retail, Tom adds—online retailers that have chosen to open physical stores (Bonobos, Frank & Oak). “But with the unrelentingly, rapidly expanding role of the Internet many retail sectors will experience an ongoing struggle to find and strike a balance between channels,” Tom says.