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Not So Grand News

Vancouver Retail

OfficeMax Grand & Toy is closing all of its remaining 19 retail stores. 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 comes from walk-ins into the retail stores," he says. The company started in Toronto in 1882 as a stationery printing business. (Back then no one could afford paper, now nobody wants it.) The first retail store opened on Bay Street in 1926. It was taken over by US-based OfficeMax in 1996 and Office Depot bought the company 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.


There is also an interesting, related trend in retail, Tom adds—online retailers that have chosen to open physical stores like Bonobos and Frank & Oak. (Let's get a Facebook store up and running where you can buy people's info, the NSA's already shopping there.) “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.