Merritt Fields remains open
After several weeks of limbo, the Merritt Fields will not be closing after all.
The local store was purchased by Fields Holding Company (FHC) Enterprises Ltd., the company announced on Friday.
The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) initially reported in February that all Fields were closing. But after discussions with HBC, FHC purchased 57 of the 141 stores.
Current Fields employees will need to apply to FHC to keep their jobs, but the company stated it intends to hire as many current employees as possible.
“I don’t think there are major changes planned in the immediate future,” said Rebecca Johnston, spokesperson for FHC.
She said the company saw a need for the stores at the purchased locations.
“I think they recognized that a lot of these stores were part of many smaller communities across Western Canada,” she said. “For them, it was wanting people to be able to get what they need in their communities without having to travel.”
She said the owners will at some point complete an inventory analysis of the Merritt store and figure out the products shoppers may need more or less of.
“They might not be looking for as many snow shovels in Merritt,” she said. “It’s about getting people what they actually need and want to buy.”
Tiffany Bourré, HBC external communications manager, said officials at HBC closed the stores because they wanted to focus more on their other brands.
“We’re happy with the discussions and very pleased with the completion of the agreement,” she said.
FHC was established by several Canadian businessmen for the purpose of purchasing the stores.
The deal states FHC will retain the Fields brand, as well as acquiring inventory and fixtures.
The Merritt Fields was one of about 20 locations that the company was debating purchasing. About 35 others were purchased almost immediately after the announced closure.
The Fields that are being taken over are located in British Columbia, Alberta and in the Northwest Territories.
FHC is set to officially take over the stores on May 1.
Local Fields employees aren’t allowed to comment due to HBC company policy.
The local Fields has operated since 1976.