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Aritzia to Open Second-Largest Canadian Location this Month

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Vancouver-based women’s fashion retailer Aritzia continues to open larger and larger stores, with its newest location set to become the company’s largest location in Ontario. The new 10,400 square foot Aritzia at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre opens August 18, replacing a location for retailer Laura which shuttered that location several months ago. 

The Toronto replacement store will become Aritzia’s second-largest Canadian location, following the recent expansion of Aritzia’s Vancouver Robson Street flagship which now spans in excess of 13,000 square feet.

When Aritzia’s Montreal flagship opened in May of 2015, the 9,800 square foot store was considered to be the largest Canadian location in the chain (two New York City stores are larger) and before that, a 7,900 square foot West Edmonton Mall store became the chain’s largest when it opened in December of 2014.  

Visitors to the new Yorkdale store will be greeted by a dynamic, large basket-arch storefront. The store will feature an eclectic selection of floor fixtures, curated works of art and sculptures, a reading lounge area, and plants. Materials and finishes will include marble merchandising tables and cash desk, wire-wheeled grey oak tables and architectural wall panels, build-in millwork, custom graphic wall murals, steel & glass interior partitions, custom raked stucco, concrete and marble floors, according to Aritzia. 

Northwest Atlantic Principal/Broker Dianne Lemm represented Aritzia in the Yorkdale lease deal, also representing the retailer nationwide. 

Aritzia’s popularity and resultant larger stores are of no surprise to retail expert Farla Efros, President of leading retail consultancy HRC Advisory. She explained how Aritzia “bridges the gap between upscale boutique and fast fashion, with the retailer catering “to the highly desirable market of females aged 15 to 45”. With such a broad demographic, Aritzia has been able to grow and open stores “in even the most turbulent of times”, showcasing the importance of building a strong relationship connection with consumers to gain loyalty. While some other retailers are experiencing the “middle squeeze”, Aritzia’s fashion-forward positioning focuses more on quality than price, and its diversity of styles (from casual to dressy) and mixture of private label and designer brands resonates with consumers, differentiating Aritzia from the competition, Ms. Efros noted.  

Aritzia is placing a particular focus on the Greater Toronto Area this fall, with the opening of the retailer’s first Babaton location at CF Toronto Eaton Centre later this year. Babaton is one of Aritzia’s in-house labels, and is the latest brand to see its own stores after in-house Aritzia brands TNA and Wilfred saw their own first freestanding locations open several years ago. 

Aritzia was founded in 1984 as a shop-in-store at Vancouver retailer Hill’s of Kerrisdale, and will have 80 North American locations by the end of the year. Aritzia’s target market is women aged 14 to 30. Much of the clothing sold in its stores are its own exclusive brands, including Auxiliary, Babaton, 1-01 Babaton, Community, Wilfred, Le Fou by Wilfred, Wilfred Free, TNA, Golden by TNA, Parklife, and Talula. Stores also carry clothing from brands such as Mackage, J Brand, Citizens of Humanity, A Gold E, Frame, Levi’s, Rag & Bone, Adidas, One Teaspoon, and Herschel.

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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