Vancouver’s Holt Renfrew store is the top-selling in the company, according to multiple sources. Torontonians may find this news disheartening, considering the chain’s largest store on Bloor Street West once commanded an estimated 25% of the company’s sales. New upscale competitors could affect sales at Vancouver’s Holt Renfrew differently than in Toronto, and we’ll explain more below.
Industry insiders have known for a while that Vancouver’s Holt Renfrew store has done very well in terms of sales, and we held off on publishing this article until representatives at Pacific Centre landlord Cadillac Fairview confirmed it during the Vancouver Real Estate Forums 2014, on February 20th. For those unfamiliar, Vancouver’s Holt Renfrew store anchors the north end of Pacific Centre.
Vancouver’s 140,414 square foot Holt Renfrew store is currently the third-largest in the company, surpassed in size only by the 147,000 Calgary store and the (approximately) 180,000 square foot Toronto Bloor Street flagship. Industry insiders expect Vancouver’s Holt Renfrew will expand in size given its successes as well as the desire to expand categories including women’s shoes and its men’s department.
Vancouver’s current Holt Renfrew store opened in the spring of 2007. It replaced a 68,000 square foot Holt Renfrew store that opened in Pacific Centre in the early 1970’s. In 2007, before its relocation, sales at the Vancouver store were estimated to be about $75 million yearly.
Holt Renfrew is part of the privately-held Selfridges Group, owned by Toronto-based billionaire Galen Weston. The company won’t provide sales numbers for its stores, although Holt Renfrew’s total sales are estimated to be approximately $800 million per year for its nine stores. Sales estimates of its Toronto Bloor Street store were about $150 million yearly, several years ago. Overall, the company enjoys sales in excess of $1,000/square foot (making it the most productive store, per square foot, of an department store chain in North America) and the Vancouver store could be surpassing sales of $150 million yearly based on our rough calculations. We welcome Holt Renfrew to provide us more accurate numbers for this article.
Competition could result in Vancouver’s Holt Renfrew seeing a reduction in sales and ultimately having lower sales than the Toronto flagship. Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom will both open within a block of Vancouver’s Holt Renfrew. This may affect the Vancouver store differently than the same competition in Toronto. In Toronto, Saks and Nordstrom will be geographically separated from Holt Renfrew, as both competitors will be located about two kilometres southward at the Toronto Eaton Centre. Alternatively, Toronto’s luxury shoppers could end up heading southward to do their shopping around the Toronto Eaton Centre, benefitting Saks and Nordstrom and to the detriment of Holt’s on Bloor. This topic warrants a separate article.
Holt Renfrew’s Vancouver store is expected to enjoy its tremendous sales levels for at least another year or two. Nordstrom opens its Vancouver store in the fall of 2015 and we’re awaiting further information on Downtown Vancouver’s Saks Fifth Avenue, which is expected to open within Vancouver’s flagship Hudson’s Bay store.