Chain downsizing hits Abbotsford shopping centre

Five stores have recently closed their doors at Sevenoaks Shopping Centre, and some consumers are asking what’s going on at Abbotsford’s retail hub.

The local outlet of entertainment retail giant HMV is among the closures. With CDs and DVDs being a tougher sell, the chain has shut down stores across Canada.

The Off the Wall clothing store chain has undergone similar downsizing, which has had a change of ownership, and closed five of its nine stores in B.C., including Abbotsford.

Other local casualties include Bluenotes and Please Mum, as well as the Hallmark store, which is closing at the end of the month.

Sevenoaks general manager Wendy Schultz said the boarding that covers the vacant store fronts is apparent to shoppers, but they should know that renovations are going on behind those coverings.

New tenants have been secured for the vacant spots, and will be identified as soon as leases are signed and the businesses want to announce their new locations.

She noted that three stores – HMV, Bluenotes and Please Mum – were side by side, and all on 10-year leases that recently expired.

One large store will be taking over the space formerly occupied by Bluenotes and Please Mum. The HMV space is also rented.

“The units have all been spoken for,” she said.

Rent at Sevenoaks depends on location and the amount of square footage the business leases – ranging between $18 and $150 per square foot.

“We’re market rate. We want the tenants to be successful,” said Schultz.

She noted the centre has seen investment in recent years, with the addition of a Best Buy as another anchor store, and a significant renovation at Extra Foods. The other anchor tenants – Sears, the Bay and SportChek – are all in place.

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