Willowbrook Shopping Centre. (Langley Advance Times files)

Willowbrook Shopping Centre. (Langley Advance Times files)

Le Chateau will shutter stores in Willowbrook, across Canada

The Canadian fashion company says COVID-19 has made it impossible to continue operating

Le Chateau, a Canadian clothing chain founded in 1959 and with an outlet Langley’s Willowbrook Shopping Centre, will shut down its operations entirely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company announced Friday.

The company has spent the past few months trying to refinance or sell the company to a new owner who would keep it operating, but found no takers, according to a company statement.

“The retail industry faced numerous challenges due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the second wave currently hitting our communities across Canada,” the release said.

Le Chateau’s “holiday party and occasion wear” was hit hard by a lack of consumer demand, according to the statement.

The stores are still open for now, but there were no details on exactly how long that will last.

Le Chateau has 123 stores across Canada and employs 1,400 people, including 500 at its Quebec head office and 900 in the retail outlets.

The firm was founded by Herschel Segal in 1959 and started with menswear, before adding a women’s collection 1962. The company went public in 1983 and experienced a growth boom across the country in the 1980s and 1990s.

This is the third chain with a location in the Willowbrook mall to shutter its stores this year. DavidsTEA announced a restructuring and switch to an online sales model in July, although that company’s financial issues pre-dated the COVID-19 pandemic. Swimco, an Alberta-based firm, also announced it would shut down earlier this month.

At the Langley Mall, anchor tenant Army & Navy, a B.C.-based firm with a 101-year history, shut down its local outlet in March and announced in May that it would not re-open.

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