Alison Coville will step down as president of the Hudson’s Bay and Home Outfitters divisions of the Hudson’s Bay Co. on March 1, the company disclosed Tuesday.

It could not be learned whether Coville was forced out or decided to leave on her own accord. The company did not name a replacement and has retained a search firm to recruit a new president.

“We are grateful to Alison for her dedication and contributions to Hudson’s Bay. Over her long tenure with the company she served in a number of roles with increasing responsibility while successfully maintaining a constant focus on serving the Canadian consumer. We wish her well in her future endeavours,” said Helena Foulkes, chief executive officer of the Hudson’s Bay Co.

While the search is being conducted, Hudson’s Bay will be led by key executives from the HBC team, under the direction of Foulkes, until a permanent successor is found.

Alison Coville  ALEX LUKEY

Last week, HBC said it would shut down the 37-unit Home Outfitters chain this year and close up to 20 Saks Off 5th stores in the U.S. HBC said the “vast majority” of markets where Home Outfitters has stores are served by the Hudson’s Bay department store division. HBC said Hudson’s Bay has “best-in-class home furnishings departments” and accepts Home Outfitters gift cards.

HBC is also performing “a fleet review” of the 133 Saks Off 5th chain this year.

HBC has been weeding out weak stores and aggressively evaluating its real estate portfolio to monetize properties in order to reduce debt and support its best retail operations, Saks Fifth Avenue and Hudson’s Bay.

In addition to the Hudson’s Bay department stores, Home Outfitters and Saks Off 5th, HBC owns Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor in the U.S. HBC also has several joint ventures, partnering with Simon Property Group Inc. in the HBS Global Properties Joint Venture, which owns properties in the United States; RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust in the RioCan-HBC Joint Venture, and with Signa Retail Holdings for real estate and retail in Europe.

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