Swiss luxury conglomerate Richemont Group is building three luxury boutiques on Vancouver’s Alberni Street, all of which are expected to open in the fall. A flagship two-level Van Cleef & Arpels will be joined by an adjacent location for IWC Schaffhausen, and Officine Panerai is confirmed to be opening nearby.
Construction on the 1069 Alberni Street commercial building where Van Cleef & Arpels and IWC Schaffhausen will locate began last year, with a completion date expected to be later in the fall. Van Cleef & Arpels will be the largest in Canada, spanning more than 4,000 square feet over two levels. IWC Schaffhausen will locate next to it, in a building that replaced an open plaza that once was home to a number of cherry trees.
Nearby at 1008 Alberni Street, signage has gone up for a new Officine Panerai boutique, in retail space formerly occupied by footwear retailer Mephisto. The new Panerai will be next to yet another Richemont brand — Jaeger-LeCoultre, which opened at 1012 Alberni Street in the fall of 2015.
Van Cleef & Arpels sells a range of jewellery and watches, while IWC Schaffhausen and Panerai focus primarily on watches.
All three Vancouver Richemont boutiques will be second locations for the brands in Canada. Earlier in the summer of 2017, Richemont opened five branded boutiques at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. IWC Schaffhausen, Vacheron Constantin, Officine Panerai and Piaget are connected in a 3,630 square foot space formerly occupied by Williams Sonoma, and Van Cleef & Arpels opened its first standalone Canadian boutique across from them.
Yorkdale’s Van Cleef & Arpels is about 1,550 square feet on one level — less than half the size of the new Vancouver flagship, which will also include a private VIP shopping component. Van Cleef & Arpels also has shop-in-stores operated by Birks in downtown Vancouver and at Toronto’s Manulife Centre (both of which will see substantial renovations).
Vancouver’s Alberni Street is shaping up to potentially eclipse Toronto’s Bloor Street West as the dominant luxury street front retail address in Canada. Alberni Street as well as adjacent Burrard Street and Thurlow Streets house a number of world-class luxury brands, including Tiffany & Co., Dior, Louis Vuitton, Prada, De Beers, Hublot, Rolex (largest on the continent), Saint Laurent, Moncler, Versace, Brunello Cucinelli, and Escada. Jimmy Choo will open early next year at 1035 Alberni Street (replacing retailer m0851), and sources confirm that Montecristo Jewellers will replace the Italian Kitchen restaurant location at 1037 Alberni Street.
Nearby on West Georgia Street, luxury retailers are considering spaces as the Alberni Street luxury zone grows increasingly crowded. Ultra-luxury Italian brand Stefano Ricci opened its first standalone Canadian store in January of 2017 at 1139 W. Georgia Street, and this fall a Chopard boutique will open at 925 W. Georgia Street, converting a retail space most recently occupied by multi-brand Global Watch Company. Luxury brands Omega and Gucci also have West Georgia-facing facades at the base of the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.
*Thank you, Lee Rivett, for providing information re: content for this article.