Army & Navy department stores to shut its doors forever due to COVID-19 challenges

Iconic department store is one of five locations in Canada that announced permanent closure Saturday

Army & Navy, billed as “Canada’s original discount department store” will be permanently shutting its doors, citing bankruptcy due to COVID-19 closures.

The company, which sold an array of different products from clothing to camping gear, had been in business for 101 years.

In March, the company was forced to temporarily layoff staff and close all five store locations – Langley, Vancouver, New Westminster, Edmonton, and Calgary.

Today, 83 staff from its Vancouver and New Westminster locations have been notified of their permanent termination, according to union representatives.

Samuel “Sam” Cohen opened his first storefront on Hastings Street in Vancouver in 1919.

From there he grew it into Canada’s first discount department store chain with nine stores and a mail order business in Western Canada.

In 1998 Sam’s granddaughter, Jacqui Cohen, took the reins of the company and would be the one to officially make the closure announcement on Saturday, May 9.

“In March, we were forced to shutter all five of our stores and temporarily layoff our staff. We had hoped to re-open but the economic challenges of COVID-19 have proven insurmountable,” Cohen said.

“I am full of gratitude for our staff and their years of service, our suppliers with whom we forged decades-long relationships, and of course our loyal customers who were at the heart of our business,” she continued.

The Langley department store could not be reached for comment.

“I am proud of Army & Navy’s history and our contribution to the Canadian landscape,” Cohen added.

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