Plus-Sized Retailer Torrid Plans Up to 50 Canadian Locations


Share post:

Popular plus-sized U.S. retailer Torrid plans to open a substantial number of retail locations in Canada, following the recent opening of its first international location in Toronto. We spoke with CEO Lisa Harper to gain insight into Torrid’s plans to dominate Canada’s plus-sized womenswear market, and how recent changes to the company have led to increased success.

Torrid was founded by retailer Hot Topic in suburban Los Angeles in 2001. Torrid quickly grew to become a lifestyle brand, now carrying a wide variety of ready-to-wear (sizes 12-26), footwear, undergarments, beauty products and accessories. The company is particularly known for following the latest fashion trends, head-to-toe. Torrid boasts over 320 stores in the United States and by the end of 2015, it will have opened 80 locations, including five in Canada.

We asked Ms. Harper why she chose Canada to launch Torrid’s international expansion and she explained that about half of all of Torrid’s international e-commerce business was already in Canada. Furthermore, Canadians overwhelmingly requested that Torrid open here and given the success of its stores close to the Canadian border, the company felt it was time to expand beyond the United States.


Torrid’s first Canadian location opened September 1 at Toronto Eaton Centre. Ms. Harper revealed that in October, locations will open at Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket, Ontario, as well as at Vaughan Mills, just north of Toronto. She said that two more Ontario locations will be revealed shortly, both to open this year.

Ms. Harper then went on to say that Torrid will open about 10 Canadian locations in 2016, targeting British Columbia, Calgary and Edmonton. She said that, ultimately, Torrid will look to operate between 40 and 50 locations in Canada, ideally in the 3,000 square foot to 3,500 square foot range. She noted that space in Canadian malls is a bit tighter than in the U.S., so some Canadian locations may be slightly smaller than the typical American Torrid store. Furthermore, markets where Hot Topic is located will generally be first to see Torrid locations, given pre-existing knowledge of those markets. Hot Topic currently operates nine stores in Southern Ontario and Alberta, and about 700 locations in the United States. 

Torrid modified its business model about two and a half years ago, according to Ms. Harper, resulting in significantly increased sales. The company became more trend-focused and expanded its offerings, and women were immediately receptive. She explained how fashions are now ‘younger and sexier’, and how the ‘full-wardrobing’ approach had led to increased customer loyalty, prompting the company’s aggressive expansion plans.

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 love TORRID, how much would it cost for me to open a location in League City, Tx? We have nothing local for curvy girls.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More From The Author



Subscribe to the Newsletter


* indicates required

Related articles

Iconic Flo’s Diner in Toronto’s Yorkville Forced to Close After 33 Years Amid Landlord Dispute 

Retail Insider interviewed Flo’s co-owner who discusses the “heart wrenching” situation where he is being forced to close his business that began on Bellair Street in 1991.

Anatomy of a Leader: Teresa Spinelli, Owner of Alberta-Based Italian Centre Shop Ltd.

Spinelli discusses her leadership of the popular retailer which has expanded over the years, describing how she struggled to run the company at first and grew to love it.

Upscale Canadian Fashion Brand SMYTHE Expands with New Standalone Calgary Store [Interview/Photos]

It's the second store location for the Toronto-based brand, which is seeing success with its exclusive womenswear collections.

Toronto’s CF Sherway Gardens Hits Sales Milestone with Exciting Retail Growth and Future Plans [Interview]

The shopping centre is adding new retailers as sales per square foot hit an all-time high, with plans to re-tenant Nordstorm as foot traffic grows following Eataly's opening in the mall a few months ago.

ECS Coffee Opens Canada’s Largest Coffee and Espresso Equipment Gear Showroom and Retail Space in Toronto [Interview]

The new Etobicoke location is unique to Canada if not North America, according to its founder, with coffee roasting, equipment showroom, over 500 varieties of coffee, Youtube studio and various in-store experiences. He has plans to expand the concept nationally.

New Loblaws City Market Opens in Vancouver’s ‘The Post’ Building, Adding Grocery Competition to the Downtown Core [Podcast]

Craig and Lee discuss the opening of a new Loblaws City Market in downtown Vancouver's renovated Post building, and they explore its potential impact on local grocery shopping.

Loblaw Announces $2 Billion Investment in Canada for 2024 with Dozens of New Stores and 7,500 New Jobs [Expert Comment]

The retail behemoth will be growing substantially this year, following backlash over profits as inflation continues to impact Canadians.

Dubai-Based Asian Street Food Concept ‘Wok Boyz’ Expands into Canada with Plans for Multiple Locations [Interview]

The company's founder says the popular concept, with personalized meals, has an opportunity to grow substantially with its high-quality ingredients and theatrical flare, complete with fiery customer-facing woks.

Calgary Surge Basketball Team Launches Innovative Pop-Up at CF Chinook Centre to Boost Community Engagement [Interview]

The retail activation, which opened this month, is resulting in heavier foot traffic in a quieter part of the mall.

Upscale Pusateri’s Fine Foods to Close Yorkville Grocery Store in Toronto After 20 Years

The 5,500 square foot store opened to much fanfare in 2003, with valet parking, private chefs and pricey goods. 

Loblaw and Walmart Could be Forced to Adhere to Grocery Code of Conduct with Legislation [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois says that it's rare for all of Canada's political parties to agree, signalling a shift that could force grocers to comply amid record inflation.

Factory Direct to Shut All 14 Stores Amid Bankruptcy, Liquidation to Begin Saturday

The company, founded in 1995, is one of Canada’s largest privately owned discount retailers which struggled with declining sales and increasing costs following the pandemic.