Holt Renfrew Segregates its Menswear Business


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Holt Renfrew‘s first free-standing menswear store opens this fall in the heart of Toronto’s ‘Mink Mile’. Measuring 14,000 square feet, the 100 Bloor Street West location will feature distinctive branding, as well as luxury amenities. Holt Renfrew is upping its game to compete with neighbouring Harry Rosen, as well as new-to-market entrants Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, both opening in Toronto in 2016. 

From what we can see from the new store’s hoarding, Holt Renfrew’s ‘HR’ logo is contained within a square. This is different from the traditional logo, which comprises of a circle surrounding the HR logo. Holt Renfrew representatives won’t reveal if the company’s signature colour, magenta, will be incorporated in any way in the new men’s store branding. A Twitter account for the new store has been created, currently with 83 followers. 

Holt Renfrew’s new men’s store will utilize some of the innovations introduced in the new men’s department at Holt Renfrew’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre location, including a men’s lounge. Appropriately called ‘The Lounge’, the space features a black BMW motorcycle and foosball table. Free services are provided, including straight-razor shaves on vintage barbershop chairs, and shoe shines. 

Interestingly, menswear will continue to be carried at Holt Renfrew’s flagship, a block east at 50 Bloor Street West. The 180,000 square foot store will be expanded and renovated over the next two years, with construction beginning this fall. 

Holt Renfrew president, Mark Derbyshire, recently told Women’s Wear Daily: “The stand-alone men’s shop will be a classic sartorial store and supports our growth plans to further enhance our luxury men’s wear and Holt Renfrew’s presence on Bloor Street — the destination for luxury.”

The two-level, 14,000 square foot store replaces Roots Canada which, until recently, occupied the prominent corner location. We’re told that Holt Renfrew signed a long-term lease for the space, paying a premium for what is arguably ground zero for Canadian luxury retailing. 

Competitor Harry Rosen is located directly across the street from Holt’s new men’s store. Being substantially larger, Harry Rosen occupies a multi-level, 55,000 square foot space. CEO Larry Rosen says he isn’t concerned about his new neighbour, as Harry Rosen’s exceptional product and customer service keeps his customers loyal.

Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, both opening at the Toronto Eaton Centre in 2016, will provide competition to Holt Renfrew men’s store. Both are geographically removed from Holt’s, however, being about two kilometres south. As competition increases for Canadian luxury shopping dollars, it will be interesting to see if Toronto’s affluent will venture out to Saks and Nordstrom, being physically removed from the city’s premier luxury shopping strip.

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Publisher & CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Advisor at the University of Alberta School Centre for Cities and Communities in Edmonton, former lawyer and a public speaker. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.


  1. I for one am giddy over the fact that Holt’s is getting some competition. I have been shopping there since my early twenties (blowing my entire part-time work paycheck there at times) and now in my early 30’s (I can actually afford items without going into debt now..yay!). Over the course of this time, I have received sub-par customer service even when I have spent quite a bit of money there. The staff there pretty much acted like I was non-existent. I don’t know why? Maybe they thought I didn’t look like the type of person that could afford the merchandise there? Little to they know, that I am well-educated, career-driven women that has a great job that can afford me shopping trips there. I’m glad I can take my money elsewhere! Good reddens Holts!

  2. Well put AM. Regarding the staff, I think it’s simple: they tend to be dismissive, defensive and slightly bitter because they work in retail (nothing wrong with that. no one care that you work in a clothing shop!). Perhaps they assume that patrons will judge them for working in retail and hence they put up a wall and provide minimal service.


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