La Maison Simons to Open 2nd Edmonton Store

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Quebec City-based fashion retailer La Maison Simons will open its second Edmonton location at Londonderry Mall in the fall of 2017. The two-level 88,000 square foot store will replace part of the mall’s current Army & Navy location, as well as occupy space formerly occupied by Sport Chek. Londonderry Mall is undergoing a $130 million overhaul which will see the addition of various new retailers, as well as an innovative rebranding. 

Londonderry will be the third Alberta location for La Maison Simons, following the November 2014 announcement that a 92,000 square foot Simons will open in downtown Calgary in March of 2017. According to CEO Peter Simons, a second Calgary location could also open in the coming years, possibly at Southcentre Mall

La Maison Simons has substantial growth plans over the next several years. In an interview with Mr. Simons late last year, he stated that he’s looking to eventually operate as many as 20 Canadian locations. This is remarkable, considering that the brand currently operates nine stores — eight of them in the province of Quebec, as well as a 126,000 square foot location which opened at West Edmonton Mall in October of 2012. 

In August of this year, an 80,000 square foot Simons store will open at Les Promenades Gatineau in metropolitan Ottawa/National Capital Region and in October of 2015, a 100,000 square foot location will open at West Vancouver’s Park Royal. In March 2016, a 113,000 square foot Simons will open at Mississauga’s Square One and in August of 2016, a second Ottawa location, measuring just over 100,000 square feet, will open at Rideau Centre.

Londonderry Mall is in the process of undergoing a $130 million overhaul which will see completely new interiors, innovative new branding, and a variety of new tenants at various price points. The mall’s common areas, mall entrances, flooring, storefronts, escalators, elevators, washrooms, ceilings and seating areas will be fully renovated. A new full-service dining experience will be added, relocating the mall’s existing food court to the west side of the mall. Interior and exterior lighting will be converted to energy efficient LED, and a state of the art security surveillance system will also be added. The project involves a partnership between MMC Architects and GH+A Design

The 779,000 square foot two-level Londonderry Mall currently houses about 150 retailers and features anchors Hudson’s Bay (118,000 square feet), Army & Navy (60,200 square feet), Save-On-Foods (38,300 square feet), Winners (31,800 square feet) and Shoppers Drug Mart (17,000 square feet). It boasts in excess of 3,500 parking spaces.

When it opened in 1972, Londonderry was Canada’s largest mall west of Toronto, and the only two-level mall in Western Canada. The 85 store mall was anchored by Eaton’s, The Bay, Woolco, Safeway, and a movie theatre. In 1984, the mall added 65 additional stores and services.

Simons was founded in Quebec City in 1840. The retailer is unique in how it pairs its substantial private-label fashion with a handful of higher-priced designers. Despite its large floorplates, Simons stores lack cosmetics departments and the large footwear areas typical in similar-sized department stores. Simons currently operates nine stores, including eight in the province of Quebec and one in Edmonton. The company has over 2,000 employees.


Article Author

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of Retail Insider, Publisher of Retail Insider the magazine and President/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, 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.

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      • Then you are wrong, as Gatineau is it’s own separate city in a separate province, and is not considered by anyone in Ottawa as part of Ottawa.

          • Yes, there are also people who live in Montreal or Cornwall that commute to Ottawa for jobs, does that make then make Montreal or Cornwall Suburbs of Ottawa?

          • People in Montreal commute to jobs in Ottawa? Considering how unusual that is, we’d exclude those. We’ve amended the article to say ‘metropolitan Ottawa’, though from looking at a map Gatineau is a bedroom community of Ottawa.

          • Yes I agree, I worked with someone that did, and know of others, why someone would want to commute over 90 minutes each way is beyond me. I think we will need to agree to disagree on this one, as many wouldn’t consider a city of 300,000 in a different province a bedroom community of Ottawa.But perhaps a bedroom community of the National Capital Region. =)

          • I’m basing my analysis on the following similarities:

            -East St. Louis, IL as part of St. Louis’ metro region,
            -Camden NJ as part of Philadelphia’s metro region,
            -Vancouver, WA as part of Portland’s metro region,
            -Covington, KY as part of Cincinnati’s metro region,
            -Much of eastern NJ as part of NYC’s CMA.

          • You are right, it’s just that Quebec needs to feel special, and different, and separate at all times 🙂

          • You’re absolutely correct. I think that some people seem to think a suburb must be within the same municipality. I’m not sure these people remember pre-2001 Ottawa.

        • Until 2001, suburbs like Kanata and Cumberland were also separate cities. A suburb need not be part of the same city, and often isn’t.

  1. Gatineau is arguably a suburb. Typically, suburbs are municipalities who depend economically on the larger city nearby. Gatineau’s location on the Quebec side isn’t really relevant to whether it is a suburb or not. While suburban municipalities often object to be referred to as suburbs, and there can always be a debate as to what extent a place is a suburb (economically, politically, socially, culturally, etc.), it is perfectly acceptable for a blog catering to a national audience (many of whom won’t necessary be familiar with the geography National Capital Region) to refer to Gatineau as being in suburban Ottawa. Les Promenades Gatineau are certainly located in a suburban locale in the overall CMA.

    • Kanata, Orleans and Barrhaven are Suburbs of Ottawa, Gatineau located in Quebec which includes Hull and Alymer are is not included in the population total of Ottawa. Gatineau is included when you reference the entire National Capital Region or NCR

      Readers if not familiar with the Ottawa area could now think Gatineau is in Ontario.

      Ask people in Gatineau if they live in a suburb of Ottawa, I asked 5 and they all said no, and those living in the Ottawa side also said no. But POTATO, POTATOE

      • it’s just because census counts gatineau as part of the national capital region, and as such the gatineau citizens are considered part of the 1.2 million population of Ottawa. It’s not really true, but it’s not really false either.

        • They are considered part of the National Capital Region for the census, not for calculating the population of Ottawa, when you drive into Ottawa from Various highways, and bridges between Gatineau and Ottawa, the signs say population 900.000, not 1.200,000. As the first signs on the 417 and 416 say welcome to the National Capital Region of Canada, then further down the road the sign says Ottawa population 900,000.

          I’m sure we can debate this one side down the other, and ask if people drive to Ottawa for work and vice versa. But there are people that drive from the out skirts of Montreal to Ottawa to work, and those from Cassleman and Cornwall that drive to Ottawa for work, and that doesn’t make them Suburbs. As when you get closer to Gatineau on the highway 50 on the Quebec Side the signs don’t mention Ottawa, they mention Gatineau with the population.

          • Yes, but Gatineau would not exist without Ottawa (and Montreal would be just fine). If there was a law that said you can’t work on the Ontario side if you are a Quebec resident, there would be no more Gatineau. End of story, gavel bang, case closed.

          • Stephen, so? A suburb need not be part of a municipality (and often isn’t) to be a suburb. Until 2001, Ottawa’s suburbs were not reflected in the Ottawa population signs.

            Statscan treats all of Ottawa-Gatineau as one economic unit. Random people driving in from Cornwall or Montreal don’t really compare in numbers.

          • Stephen,

            You don’t make any sense, driving into a city and not seeing their population on the sign of Ottawa doesn’t mean that they are not a suburb. If I use your example of driving into Gatineau, does that mean that Laval, Chomedey and the South Shore as a few examples are not part of the suburbs of Montreal? When I drive to Montreal, I only see the population of the island. Do the individuals living in laval not drive to the island of Montreal to work or shop?

            How about Mississauga, they are not part of Toronto and when I drive to Toronto; their population is not included with Toronto. Based on your definition, Mississauga, Laval and others are not suburbs because they are not included in the population of the city signs.

  2. It will be interesting to see when they announce second locations in Calgary and Vancouver. Are there rumours/speculation? Even more interesting will be to see where else they locate in the GTA. Square One is presumably not it. Any news forthcoming on that?

    • We’ve heard speculation that Calgary’s Southcentre could see Calgary’s second Simons location. In the Vancouver area, there are several potential locations – Target’s Metropolis at Metrotown location would be an excellent opportunity, for example. Peter Simons says he’d like a downtown Toronto store and Yorkdale’s leasing team has shown the company a potential configuration in the mall’s proposed west expansion towards Dufferin Street.

  3. French Canadians can’t retail. They always overextend (and overexpose) themselves. Le Chateau, Jacob, Les Ailes, Stylexchange… all the most recent and biggest Canadian flops have been Montreal companies. David’s Tea, Dynamite, and Simons will follow the same path: go everywhere, even where it doesn’t make sense, keep trying to fuel earrings with new store and outlet openings and you ruinall sense of being exclusive or a destination store, until one day the whole house of cards crumbles. It’s the classic french ‘fake it until you just can’t get business credit anymore’ approach.
    This Mall in Edmonton sounds horrid (based on the tenant mix and the fact that no one has ever heard of it. "Army/Navy! what a great anchor, we must get a store there now!"), same for the Gatineau mall (it’s anchored by a Costco, and government offices. Too embarrassing to comment sarcastically on).
    And what is with everyone announcing their store plans 4 years in advance?? That has got to be the craziest way to do business. Don’t you think your competition is getting a huge advantage when you don’t keep anything secret? Target did this same insane mistake, and walmart, loblaws, and canadian tire used that information to compete and beat them.

    • Oh my goth, i work in the retail world in Quebec for years and what you say is absolutely false. I would not take the time to argue with you, but: ALDO, David’s Tea, Frank and Oak, Simons, Lole, Dynamite… What are the success of the rest of Canada? Redneck shops selling ugly clothes and rifles?

      • That move would only make sense if they cut their headscratcher plans to open at the Gatineau mall. The Ottawa area (population 1.2 million) definitely cannot handle three Simon’s.
        Montreal, a city of 3.8 million people, only has 4 stores (if you count Laval and St. Bruno as Montreal). And all 4 are much more spread out from each other than Rideau-Gatineau-Bayshore would be.

          • Oh, I see – assuming they take Bayshore. I don’t imagine Simons taking the Target space in Bayshore would have any impact whatsoever on the Promenades Gatineau store.

          • Fair enough, and normally I’d agree, except that old Gatineau and Ottawa’s west end are pretty distant from one another and two fairly distinct markets. Les Ailes discovered this, and it helped sink the chain.

            Although Simons carries a selection of higher end goods, most of what they sell is affordable and competitively priced. It might do well in frugal Ottawa.

          • Quebec city is where it started, that’s why they have 3. It’s home turf. But sure, let’s accept your argument, then why only 4 for Montreal (a city 5 times larger than Quebec city)?
            And why after 175 years in business as La Maison Simons, with Ottawa so close, has there been zero locations in Ottawa, and now people are thinking Ottawa can support 3? And this is all before it’s been proven to work at all in the National Capital Region market.

          • I did state maybe 3 is too much, It was just a taugh and maybe it cannot handle 3 but the demographics at the Bayshore shopping centre is better suited for a Simons than Promenade.

          • Agreed. Promenades does not make sense. It makes me wonder if the simons expansion team even bothered to visit the mall (and the type of customer who shops there) or look at the current tenants list online before they signed the lease. Same with this bizarre mall in Edmonton they’ve chosen for their next location there.

  4. Lifeofme

    The full time population of Ottawa is 1.4 million but when you factor in mps/senators/embassy workers/university etc its really higher then the 1.4 but the other thing is Ottawa has the highest avg salary.

  5. Loving how they have a Fabricland, Save-on-Foods, Army & Navy, and a Liquor Barn! This new strip mall Simon’s is going into sounds amazing!!

    • Fair enough. You were correct to begin with, though. Your question about people commuting and working was the right one. Not sure where these people get the idea that a suburb needs to be part of the same city. That wasn’t even true of Ottawa’s other suburbs until 2001.

  6. As an outsider, and due to the vehemence of the comments, I was curious to see what the fuss was about so I Google Mapped Gatineau and Ottawa and, yeah, they’re basically the same town separated by a river. Sensitivities and random provincial borders aside: same town. Gattawa? Ottineau?

    Anyway, it does seem like Simons is moving fast and furious. Where is the cash coming from?

    • Simons is a privately-owned company. We’d assume some would come from financial institution loans. There will be a lot of loans in the coming years, given the company’s aggressive expansion plans.

    • Agreed!!! I have friends that live on the Gatineau side and when we are on vacation, they do not say that they are from Gatineau; they say they are from Ottawa. That still doesn’t help to some Americans, they have no idea where is Ottawa.


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