Army & Navy to liquidate inventory

The 101-year-old department store chain announced earlier this month that it would close permanently

Army Navy chung
Army and Navy's location at 36 West Cordova Street is rumoured to be likely to be redeveloped into housing | Chung Chow

The venerable, 101-year-old Army & Navy plans to hold a blow-out sale on June 4, before dissolving, the company announced May 28.

Owner Jacqui Cohen announced May 9 that she would permanently close the iconic five-store retailer that her grandfather, Sam Cohen, founded.

While the chain has locations in Vancouver, New Westminster, Langley, Calgary and Edmonton, the clearance sale of all inventory will only take place in two locations: New Westminster and Calgary. 

Why not open every store one last time? 

Army & Navy sent Business in Vancouver a statement explaining that "goods were consolidated to give consumers a robust shopping experience at a centralized location. In B.C., New Westminster was chosen as it offers 80,000 square feet over four floors and is close to public transit."

The sales in New Westminster and in Calgary launch at 10 a.m. local times, and are set to continue for an indefinite time period.

Many know the chain for its annual summer shoe sales. As an example of how deep the discounting will be, the New Westminster store, at 502 Columbia Street, is expected to have more than 4,000 pairs of women's shoes that are 40% off the price that they would have been on sale for during the regular summer shoe-sale blowout, according to Army & Navy.

Army & Navy is also known for its camping and fishing products section, and those products will also be offered at deeply discounted prices. 

Cohen owns the real estate under each of her stores except for the Langley location, and speculation is rife that she will redevelop her store at 36 West Cordova Street, where she also owns almost all of the real estate within that city block. She told BIV last year that she had thought about developing a condominium tower on that site. 

“There was a time, when Woodward’s was on the cusp of being developed, when I thought, ‘I want to do what [developer Ian] Gillespie did. I want towers. I want a phallic symbol that says I was here. You know, you get over that,” she said last year. “Who wants to deal with the city?”

After Cohen announced that she would permanently close Army & Navy, BIV asked her in a voicemail what she planned to do with that real estate. 

“It is too early to say, but certainly it will be something that benefits the community," she replied back in an email.