Saks Flagship to Feature Queen Street Doorman and Concierge

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Saks Queen Street/CF Toronto Eaton Centre. Rendering: HBCSaks Queen Street/CF Toronto Eaton Centre. Rendering: HBC

Saks Queen Street/CF Toronto Eaton Centre. Rendering: HBC

Saks Fifth Avenue is advertising to hire a doorman for its Canadian flagship. Plans show that the store will also feature a concierge desk at its Queen Street entrance. The new Saks Fifth Avenue store opens on February 18 and according to one retail expert, the doorman/concierge combination is part of Saks’ attempts to assert luxury dominance in Canada in the face of competition. 

The job posting indicates that the doorman will be responsible for assisting at both Saks and Hudson’s Bay, and the ideal candidate “Must be an ambassador for both the Hudson’s Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue store with an intimate knowledge of the layout of both”. Saks Fifth Avenue will occupy 163,000 square feet over four levels at the eastern end of the massive CF Toronto Eaton Centre Hudson’s Bay building. 

Queen Street entrance. Rendering: HBCQueen Street entrance. Rendering: HBC

Queen Street entrance. Rendering: HBC

The Queen Street entrance will feature a concierge desk, guiding shoppers towards Saks and Hudson’s Bay. Although the two stores will technically be separate, there will be multiple access points between the stores and as well, some cosmetics brands will be segregated, with some premium brands in Saks and some less pricier cosmetics at Hudson’s Bay. 

Queen Street Entrance Concierge. Rendering: HBCQueen Street Entrance Concierge. Rendering: HBC

Queen Street Entrance Concierge. Rendering: HBC

Luxury retail expert Farla Efros, President of leading consultancy HRC Advisory, said that Saks’ new doorman is a move to build customer credibility, as Saks looks to take market share from competitor Holt Renfrew. She explained how as online retail grows, luxury stores will need to enhance the in-store experience with amenities such as door staff, concierges and other upscale features. Toronto’s Saks flagship will also feature personal shopping and other VIP features characteristic of its U.S. flagships. Given that Saks will be carrying many of the same brands as Holt Renfrew in Canada, Ms. Efros said that both retailers should put forth their best efforts to enhance the shopping experience, including creating customized experiences for shoppers. This will become even more important in the fall of 2016 when Nordstrom opens its first two Toronto stores. If Nordstrom’s Vancouver store is any indication, Toronto’s Nordstrom locations could also feature a substantial number of luxury brands, competing with both Saks and Holt Renfrew at the upper end of the market. 

Canadian Retail News From Around The Web: January 6, 2016

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. The Bay’s level of staff on the floor is no worse than that of any other store. Sears is impossible to find anyone unless your walking through a department that still employees commissioned sales staff. And although while operating at a different price/point merchants such as Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire are the same.

  2. They should hire the previous Doorman – Tom Hargitai – that Holts abruptly fired for no reason. He was a pure gentlemen and customers loved his presence and glowing smile! Holts got a lot flack for letting him go…was allover the newspapers. Google it. March 26, 2011


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