Holt Renfrew to bring luxury shopping ‘Apartments’ to its stores

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In an effort to become even more exclusive, Holt Renfrew will create luxury shopping ‘apartments’ in its Canadian stores. Referred to simply as The Apartment, the spaces will be accessible only to a handful of Holt’s top customers, pending management approval. According to Holt Renfrew president Mark Derbyshire, the concept will provide “unparalleled luxury” that will eventually roll-out in all markets that Holt Renfrew serves. 

Holt Renfrew’s first ‘apartment’ opened in January at the renovated and expanded Yorkdale Shopping Centre Holt Renfrew. The 1,000 square foot space, designed by New York City-based architectural firm Janson Goldstein, features a living room, spacious dressing room with a larger private dressing area, kitchen, and an en suite bathroom. For each client’s booking, fresh flowers and food of the client’s choice are provided. The space can be used for a variety of purposes including wardrobing, personal styling, trunk shows, and small parties. 

Mr. Derbyshire recently told Women’s Wear Daily: “Everything is completely tailored to meet the needs and tastes of our customer. It’s an escape where you can take a friend or 10 friends. But we are very discreet as to who has access to this apartment”. Mr. Derbyshire went on to say that the apartment concept will be rolled out in other Holt Renfrew stores. “At this point, we see Apartments in all of our markets. That’s our intent. Some may be bigger, some smaller. Our Bloor Street Apartment might be 1,500 square feet”. 

According to the Globe & Mail, The Apartment will be available on a complimentary basis to Holt Renfrew’s “high-value client” – that is, the store’s big spenders and longstanding customers. New York City-based retail consultant Robert Burke told the Globe & Mail: “Department stores have realized for quite some time that a small percentage of customers can make up 65 to 70% of the luxury business. The department stores have become very focused on marketing and appealing to that high-net-worth spender.”

Holt Renfrew’s Apartments address Canada’s luxury consumers at a time of unparalleled competition. Saks Fifth Avenue will open as many as seven Canadian stores within the next several years, and Nordstrom will open several stores here, as well. Harry Rosen will expand and/or renovate many of its stores within the next couple of years, while smaller independent luxury retailers are also looking to up their game. Vancouver’s luxury retailer Boboli, for example, has temporarily relocated its popular South Granville store to give it a complete overhaul. Furthermore, a considerable number of luxury brands are looking to open mono-brand stores, all targeting Canada’s wealthy consumer.

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Editor-in-Chief of Retail Insider and President/CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton, and consultant to the Retail Council of Canada. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

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  1. Apartments aside, Holt Renfrew needs to work on its website and roll out online shopping already. Hudson’s Bay has already beat them to it. In this day and age, how can they still be so behind?!


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