Upscale French fashion brands Sandro and Maje continue to open standalone stores in Canada this fall, with construction signage now up for both brands in Toronto, as well as job postings for their first Canadian outlet locations in Vancouver. The brands opened their first freestanding Canadian stores last year, after operating exclusively as concessions with a handful of Hudson’s Bay flagship locations.
Sandro and Maje will operate side-by-side on the third floor of CF Toronto Eaton Centre, sharing a 3,285 square foot retail space that was most recently occupied by American fashion retailer BCBG. Sandro and Maje will be located between the mall’s Marc Cain store and its Apple Store, on the mall’s busy third floor that is also home to popular retailers such as Harry Rosen, Ted Baker and Sephora. The mall’s third floor is accessed from street level at its north end towards Nordstrom, and this fall, a unique new pedway will open to the public, connecting the level to the combined Hudson’s Bay/Saks Fifth Avenue flagships that are located across Queen Street West.
Sandro and Maje are considered to be in the ‘contemporary’ price-point, with fashion-forward designs that are proving popular for Canadian urbanites. Sandro began in Paris in 1984, and is known for focusing on “sleek, chic and effortlessly cool womenswear and menswear” — there are over 500 Sandro stores worldwide, and parent company SMCP (which stands for Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot) operates close to 1,200 points of sale globally in 35 countries, with about 4,300 staff. Sister-label Maje, dedicated to women’s fashions, was founded in Paris in 1998 and with over 400 locations worldwide, is known for “bohemian-chic, solar, and more feminine womenswear collections”, according to SMCP.
Sandro and Maje opened their first Canadian stores in the fall of 2016 at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Maje was first, opening a 1,500 square foot standalone store in October in the mall’s new Nordstrom-anchored expansion wing. Sandro followed a month later when it unveiled a 2,000 square foot corner retail space just two doors down from Maje. It’s common for the brands to open side-by-side, or within close proximity.
Until the fall of 2016, Canadians could only buy Sandro and Maje collections in a handful of concessions — Sandro operates women’s concessions at Hudson’s Bay in downtown Vancouver, Montreal and in Toronto at Hudson’s Bay’s Queen Street, Yorkdale and CF Sherway Gardens locations. Sandro Men’s concessions are contained within Hudson’s Bay’s downtown Vancouver and Toronto Queen Street stores. Maje womenswear concessions are located within Hudson’s Bay’s downtown Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto Queen Street and Yorkdale stores.
The Canadian store expansion is expected to continue — last year in an interview, SMCP representatives said that Canada could see approximately five freestanding locations each for both Sandro and Maje, and that Vancouver was certainly a target city for at least one location for each of the brands.
Sandro and Maje made a good choice for its second full-priced Canadian stores — CF Toronto Eaton Centre is unlike any mall in North America. The multi-level downtown shopping centre sees more than 50 million annual visitors, making it the busiest mall in North America. It’s also highly productive (according to Retail Council of Canada’s Shopping Centre Study), not to mention one of the largest in the country. We recently profiled CF Toronto Eaton Centre as part of our mall tour series here on Retail Insider.