85-cent handbags?! What Zellers sold when it first opened nearly 100 years ago (PHOTOS)

Jan 31 2023, 8:17 pm

Many Canadians are excited about the return of Zellers, a once prominent department store chain that sold goods at relatively low prices, which were substantially lower nearly 100 years ago.

According to Zellers, it was where the lowest price was the law. If only we had laws like that in today’s world of inflated prices.

We thought it would be an exciting time to reflect on some of the amazingly low-priced goods sold by the retail chain when it first came into existence in 1931.

This ad could be found in the Toronto Star in 1931, the same year that Zellers first opened:

zellers 100 years ago

Toronto Star/Wikipedia

The ad describes Zellers as a thrift store “for thrifty Canadians,” but later, it referred to itself as a discount store. The ad also touts “extra trained salespeople for your convenience.”

Shoes were limited to one pair per customer. In addition, the ad reveals that escalators existed in 1931.

There are fascinating names for items you’d likely never see in stores today, like men’s hose and cape gloves. The prices have us wishing it was 1931 again, as you’d be hard-pressed to find handbags for $0.85 anywhere or ladies’ shoes for under $3.

Other goods were just as cheap, like five bars of soap for just $0.25.

How about a men’s suit for $20?

zellers 100 years

Toronto Star/Wikipedia

Trending with excitement

Over the past few weeks since the revelation that Zellers was making a comeback, people have flooded social media with both excitement and apprehension.

Some have suggested that today’s consumers have been looking at Zellers’ comeback through rose-tinted glasses.

Others have shared memories of what Zellers was compared to today’s retail environment.

Will we see the return of Zeddy? That remains to be seen.

We won’t know for sure how it all pans out until the new Zellers locations open, but for now, here’s a dose of ’90s nostalgia:

Amir AliAmir Ali

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