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Saks Fifth Avenue will open in Montreal according to Freda Colbourne, spokesperson with The Hudson’s Bay Company. It would be most likely within Montreal’s downtown Hudson’s Bay store, though there is the remote possibility of a smaller Saks space within an existing Bay store at Le Carrefour Laval.

Saks is expected to open between five and seven Canadian store locations, likely within existing Hudson’s Bay real estate

Montreal is affluent enough to support a Saks store. The city has a substantial number of high-earning households as well as high net-worth households. The Globe & Mail provides data showing Montreal as having the second-highest number of households earning over $200,000 in Canada (we won’t mention Quebec’s high income taxes). At the same time, Montreal lacks many of the free-standing luxury stores found in Toronto and Vancouver. Some of these luxury boutiques (e.g. CartierGucciBurberryVersaceSalvator Ferragamo) could be located within a new Montreal Saks store.

Saks Fifth Avenue: Downtown Montreal

Locating Saks within the downtown Montreal Hudson’s Bay store makes sense. HBC owns the building outright, meaning there would be no rent for Saks. The downtown Montreal Hudson’s Bay store is the third-largest in the chain. It’s about 655,000 square feet, smaller than the Toronto Queen Street and Winnipeg flagships, and slightly larger than the downtown Vancouver store. Montreal’s flagship Bay could integrate Saks into existing square footage either by utilizing one or more retail floors, or it could occupy parts of several floors or even include smaller “Saks departments” throughout the Bay building. 

The downtown Montreal Hudson’s Bay store is geographically removed from luxury department stores Holt Renfrew and Ogilvy. Hudson’s Bay is 800 metres (or about half a mile) from Ogilvy, and a further 350 metres away from Holt Renfrew. This separation could be beneficial for a Saks store within Hudson’s Bay if it is considered far enough from Ogilvy and Holt’s to secure such concessions as Louis Vuitton (located within Ogilvy) or the likes of Gucci and Prada (located within Holt Renfrew), among others.

Saks Fifth Avenue: Le Carrefour Laval

There is the slight chance that some sort of smaller Saks shop-in-store could open within Hudson’s Bay’s Carrefour Laval location. Hudson’s Bay’s Carrefour Laval store has a favourable long-term ground lease. It is 185,588 square feet according to landlord Cadillac Fairview. Given that Saks would likely occupy 75,000-140,000 square feet for a free-standing store, it would be more likely that a smaller Saks could be integrated into the Laval Hudson’s Bay store. This is total speculation on our part and in our opinion, we think integrating small Saks spaces within Hudson’s Bay stores would be a bad idea.

Downtown Montreal’s Hudson’s Bay store is scheduled to open the luxury womenswear department ‘The Room‘ in 2014. The roughly 20,000 square foot salon’s future is in question, though, if Saks locates within in the Montreal flagship. 

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  1. Unless Hudson's Bay seriously modernises their store interiors: reducing the clutter, adding some interior design to the floors, hiring staff to keep the merchandise in tip-top shape (like keeping the folded goods folded and the goods on hanger-on the actual hangers; and puts s focus on customer service, a Saks store within-a-store would simply drag Saks down image-wise. Hudson's Bay, for the most part, is still just The sad-old Bay. A boring, messy, dated collection of uninteresting stores. I am consistently underwhelmed with each visit to Hudson's Bay


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