Liquidation World in Courtenay is shutting its doors in the new year, along with the rest of the American-owned stores across Canada.
The local store has operated about 15 years.
Liquidation World also has outlets in Campbell River, Powell River and Nanaimo.
Stores typically employ 20 to 30 part-time and full-time associates, according to Big Lots corporate office in Ohio. Big Lots acquired Liquidation World in 2011.
Distribution centres will close through January. The company will then close 78 Big Lots, Liquidation Worlds and LW stores in February, March and April, says Andy Regrut, director of investor relations at Big Lots.
“Part of the decision to close our operations was that we really struggled with finding a path to profitability in Canada,” Regrut said from Ohio. “We lost nearly $13.5 million in fiscal 2011 and we lost an additional $13.5 million in fiscal 2012.”
He feels declining revenues are due in part to a “change in the competitive environment” in terms of American-based retailers moving into Canada, and to the performance of Canadian-based retailers.
“Competition has definitely intensified. Also the macro-economic environment has changed as well. Over the last couple of years, there has been persistently high unemployment, lower growth in the economy, and that has resulted in many of our customers in the U.S. and in Canada struggling financially.”
The first Liquidation World outlet opened in Calgary in 1986. It’s known as the ‘anti-retail retailer’ that delivers brand-name products at a fraction of the retail price.
“Part of our reason for being is to provide great values to our customers, but we can’t do it at the expense of losing money,” Regrut said.