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A woman wearing a protective mask walks past a closed DavidsTea store in Montreal on July 8, 2020.

The Canadian Press

DavidsTea Inc. will shrink its retail store network to 18 Canadian locations as the insolvent beverage chain shutters 82 more stores in the country while dealing with the impact of COVID-19.

The Montreal-based company says it is sending out lease termination notices for the stores and expects them to be wound down within the next 30 days.

The move comes after DavidsTea closed 82 other stores in Canada and all 42 of its stores in the United States in early July to focus on its e-commerce business and supplying grocery stores and pharmacies.

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The company said at the time that it would seek more favourable lease terms for the remaining 100 stores in Canada and may permanently shut additional locations if landlords are unwilling to negotiate suitable leases.

DavidsTea now says it was able to secure new, more favourable lease terms and conditions for 18 of its locations, which will reopen.

The company has obtained creditor protection under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) warned in mid-June that it could begin a formal restructuring depending on the outcome of its talks with landlords, who hadn’t received rent from DavidsTea for April, May and June.

“We believe that a select group of our best-performing stores, complementing our growing online and wholesale business model and supported by an entrepreneurial organization, will enhance DavidsTea’s ability to emerge from the CCAA restructuring process as a more sustainable and resilient organization,” company founder, chairman and interim chief executive Herschel Segal stated.

The 18 stores are located in major shopping malls. Seven are in Quebec, five in Ontario and the rest in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and New Brunswick.

“Our decision to reopen these select stores is consistent with our objective to create a leaner, more efficient company, positioned for long-term growth.”

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