BRIEF: Off-White to Open Vancouver Store, Miniso Expands into Alberta, Lululemon Debuts Men’s Space

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Off-White to Open Vancouver Store in Early 2018: Pricey streetwear brand Off-White will open its second Canadian retail space in Vancouver towards the end of January. The boutique is in a rather unique retail space in the laneway of ‘The Carlyle’ luxury retail complex, located between Alberni Street and Robson Street’s 1000 block as per the map below. The laneway is expected to eventually see improvements to make it more pedestrian friendly and look less utilitarian.

Off-White’s first permanent store in North America softly opened on December 23, 2016 at 83 Yorkville Avenue in Toronto. We profiled the unique 2,400 square foot retail space on Retail Insider as a 3D tour.

Known for its edgy fashions that are a cross between “streetwear and high fashion”, featuring thick diagonal stripes, Off-White was launched by designer Virgil Abloh (also Kanye West’s creative director) in 2013 and held its first Paris showroom presentation in January of 2014. In the summer of 2015, Off-White expanded from exclusively menswear into womenswear and remarkably, made it onto the shortlist of the 2015 edition of the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers. The company is owned by Milan-based New Guards Group.

Off-White currently operates 17 stores globally including in Asia, Europe, the US and Australia. In Canada, Off-White is available in a handful of retailers, including selected Holt Renfrew stores.

MINISO Expands Into Alberta: Value-priced Chinese variety retailer MINISO is launching its Alberta expansion on Saturday, December 16, with a store at Edmonton’s ‘Village at Griesbach’. MINISO says that it plans to open as many as 500 stores in Canada in the coming years, and is negotiating for retail space nationwide. 

MINISO entered Canada via Vancouver in the spring of 2017, where it now operates several stores in the Lower Mainland. MINISO entered the Ontario market in October of this year at Pickering Town Centre, and a source confirms that a downtown Toronto deal is currently in discussion. 

MINISO has confirmed that it will soon be opening stores in New Westminster, Surrey, Coquitlam and on Robson Street in Vancouver, as well as stores in the GTA in Richmond Hill and Oshawa. 

The retailer’s product offerings are also extensive, including home goods, kitchenware, underwear, cosmetics, toys and even electronics. Products are branded by name and are considered to be of exceptional quality for the price. The company was co-founded in 2013 by Japanese designer Miyake Junya and Chinese entrepreneur Ye Guo Fu, and is headquartered in Guangzhou, China. MINSO’s goal is to open 6,000 stores globally by 2020, averaging 80 to 100 store openings per month. 

Shumaker Picks Pickering: Homegrown footwear brand Shumaker has expanded its Canadian store base with a new location at Pickering Town Centre, east of Toronto. It is the company’s 12th store location, following the opening last march of an impressive flagship location in Kingston, Ontario. 

Shumaker was founded in 1948 as a footwear manufacturer and distributor, and is now based in Mississauga. Known for its moderately priced contemporary casual footwear for men and women, Shumaker also boasts wholesale distribution in over 1,600 points of sale across Canada.

IWC Schaffhausen Opens 2nd Stantalone Canadian Boutique in Vancouver: Swiss luxury goods holding company Richemont has opened an IWC Schaffhausen boutique in Vancouver at 1071 Alberni Street — and luxury brand Van Cleef & Arpels is about to unveil a large two-level space next to it. 

Mario Negris and Martin Moriarty of CBRE Vancouver handled the transaction. 

IWC’s first Canadian boutique opened at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre  in June of 2017 — Yorkdale is home to other Richemont brands including Van Cleef & Arpels, PiagetVacheron Constantin and Officine Panerai. A Panerai boutique opened in Vancouver in the fall of 2017, as well. 

IWC, which stands for International Watch Company is a luxury Swiss watch brand headquartered in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, and was founded by American watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones in 1868. The brand has seven stores in the United States, including New York City (Madison Avenue), Beverly Hills (Rodeo Drive), Costa Mesa CA (South Coast Plaza), Miami (two stores: Miami Design District, Bal Harbour Shops), and Las Vegas (two stores: Wynn Encore and Palazzo). 

Lululemon Opens Men’s Store at West Vancouver’s Park Royal: Vancouver-based athletic apparel brand Lululemon has opened a standalone men’s store adjacent to its women’s store at West Vancouver’s Park Royal

Lululemon is focusing efforts on its men’s offerings, and is seeing tremendous growth. The company opened a standalone men’s store called ‘The Local’ on Ossington Avenue in Toronto in December of 2016, and the company has since expanded the concept while catering to individual markets. In New York City for example, Lululemon operates a men’s store in the city’s Soho area, branded as ‘Lululemon NYC Men’s’. 

Lululemon continues to open new stores, as well as replace and renovate some of its existing locations. This week, the retailer unveiled an updated location at Toronto’s Scarborough Town Centre, and there will be no doubt more for 2018. 

Nespresso Opens at Calgary’s CF Chinook Centre: Nestlé-owned Swiss coffee brand Nespresso has opened a permanent retail space in Calgary at CF Chinook Centre — it’s the second Alberta location for the retailer, following a West Edmonton Mall store that opened last month. Nespresso appears to be confident in the Alberta economy. 

Nespresso has been expanding into Canada over the past several years — Quebec and Ontario were the first markets for standalone locations, while Western Canada was home to Hudson’s Bay shop-in-stores as well as pop-ups. Nespresso opened its first permanent location in the spring of 2017 at Vancouver’s Oakridge Centre

Nespresso opened its first freestanding Canadian location on Montreal’s Rue Crescent in 2009, followed by a spectacular 14,000 square foot Toronto location (designed by Italian firm Goring & Straja) in the fall of 2013, in a former theatre on Yorkville’s Cumberland Street. Both of these are ‘boutique-bars’, according to Brand Manager Caroline Delvaux in an interview last year, with both locations serving food as well as drinks and coffee makers/pods. 

Parasol Co. Launches in Canada: The “softest diapers in the world” have come to Canada, courtesy of Parasol Co. The brand is known for its diapers and wipes, with a fashion twist — diapers are artfully decorated in various patterns. 

On Tuesday December 12, Parasol held a launch event with CEO Jessica Hung. For now, the line is being distributed in Canada online at and and distribution is expected to grow as the brand gains awareness. 

Last chance to download barcoding e-book: Retail Insider is distributing a free, six-page e-book created by experts that discusses the challenges that retailers face with barcoding systems. It’s brief and to the point. 

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of Retail Insider, Publisher of Retail Insider the magazine and President/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, 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.

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