This is our last Brief and article for 2017 — Retail Insider will be taking a publication break over the Holidays and will return with more Canadian retail news on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. Happy Holidays from everyone at Retail Insider, and Happy New Year.
Chanel Expands at Yorkdale: French luxury brand Chanel continues to expand its Canadian operations — last month it unveiled an impressive 8,550 square foot flagship on Yorkville Avenue in Toronto, and it has now opened an expansion at its concession in Holt Renfrew at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre.
It’s not just any Chanel concession, however — it’s the third largest Chanel boutique in Canada, now with approximately 4,000 square feet of space including the roughly 600 square foot expansion that saw Chanel annex retail space formerly occupied by shop-in-stores for shoe brand Roger Vivier and Michael Kors accessories.
Chanel operates five concessions at Holt Renfrew stores in Canada — the Vancouver concession, which grew to 5,060 square feet last year, is the only Canadian retail space to feature Chanel’s ‘High Jewellery’ collection with some pieces surpassing $1 million each. Other Chanel concessions are at Holt’s in Calgary, Toronto at 50 Bloor Street West, and in Montreal. The Montreal Chanel boutique will be relocating to an expanded ‘Holt Renfrew Ogilvy’ at some point as Holt’s and Ogilvy merge, and it hasn’t yet been revealed how large the boutique will be, though it’s confirmed that it will be on Holt Renfrew Ogilvy’s ground floor, which will become something of a ‘luxury avenue’ for Montreal.
Toronto is currently the only city in Canada with a standalone Chanel boutique — if it weren’t for Holt’s, Canada would likely have several standalone Chanel stores like countries such as Australia.
(Both photos were taken by Craig Patterson and are of the mall entrance and in-store Holt Renfrew entrance for Chanel at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre)
Swarovski’s Mississauga Pop-Up a Prototype for New Stores: Swarovski, known for its beautiful Austrian crystal designs, is amplifying its presence in Canada, with a twist. Last month Swarovski unveiled a unique pop-up ‘sparkle’ space at Mississauga’s Square One Shopping Centre, which is a first of its kind in the world for the brand.
The pop-up, which will remain in the mall’s beautiful ‘Luxury Wing’ near Holt Renfrew until early January, doesn’t have product for sale — rather, it’s there for consumers to interact with the brand with augmented reality, digital screens, and other components that integrate with the company’s online store. It includes ‘The Stylefinder’ where guests can try on jewellery, an interactive mirror that creates fun and festive portraits, and a ‘selfie wall’ where guests can snap photos. As well, Swarovski was responsible for the stunning movable holiday tree beside the pop-up, which has been photographed thousands of times.
The design and functionality of the Square One pop-up space could be rolled-out into Swarovski’s permanent retail stores according to Swarovski’s CEO Robert Buchbauerand — the pop-up is a way to test out new ideas, products and concepts. The future of retail is expected to be a merging of physical and digital, and Swarovski is on point.
Mississauga’s Square One was chosen for the pop-up because the area is diverse, and the mall is busy, according to Mr. Buchbauer. We interviewed him and will be publishing a separate article about Swarovski’s Canadian expansion in early 2018 — this is our last post on Retail Insider for the year.
*Top photos are of the pop-up unveiling last month, courtesy of Paul Hillier Photography. Below is a video of both the pop-up as well as Square One’s Unique Holiday Tree.
Nespresso to open at Metropolis at Metrotown: Nestlé’s Nespresso retail concept is opening locations rapidly across Canada — last week we reported on new Edmonton and Calgary storefronts, and now signage has gone up for a new Nespresso retail space at Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby, near Vancouver.
Nespresso operates various retail concepts in Canada, ranging from pop-ups to the lavish restaurant/retail space on Cumberland Street in Toronto, which spans 14,000 square feet and has soaring ceilings.
Metropolis at Metrotown has been opening a lot of new stores lately, some of them first-to-market such as UNIQLO and MUJI. We recently reported on the centre in a feature article.
Holt Renfrew to Shutter its hr2 Division Next Week: It’s closing time for Holt Renfrew’s ‘premium off-price’ hr2 division — The concept launched in the spring of 2013, was expected to expand nationally, but only ended up opening two stores.
Hr2’s first location, measuring about 25,000 square feet, opened in March of 2013 at the Quartier Dix30 retail centre in suburban Montreal. A second location, spanning just over 28,100 square feet, opened in May of 2013 at Vaughan Mills in suburban Toronto.
Both hr2 stores carry an assortment of brands for women and men that are generally at a lower price point than at Holt Renfrew’s main stores. Brands are purchased specifically for hr2 as part of the separate division, though there is also a small selection of clearance product from pricier Holt Renfrew locations. Holt Renfrew operated a clearance centre at Vaughan Mills for a number of years called ‘Holt Renfrew Last Call’, which was replaced by hr2 in the same retail space in 2013.
Potential competitors are expanding furiously — Winners and Marshalls are both opening at least a dozen stores each in Canada next year, and the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Saks OFF 5TH plans to operate 25 Canadian stores by the end of next year. Early next year, as well, Nordstrom Rack will open its first Canadian stores, with plans for between 10 and 15 in Canada over the next several years.
Levi’s Opens Store in Halifax: Iconic denim brand Levi’s has landed at the Halifax Shopping Centre, considered to be the leading mall in the Maritimes. Levi’s Brand President, James ‘JC’ Curleigh attended the opening last week — it was a special opening for him, as Halifax is close to his heart — he grew up in Halifax, attended St. Mary’s University, met his wife there, and he visits the city regularly.
The new 2,000 square foot Halifax Levi’s store carries a broad assortment of the Levi’s® Red Tab Collection for men and women in a wide range of fits and styles, with a décor featuring framed graphics and potted succulent plants native to California — a nod to the brand’s Northern California roots.
Levi’s has been opening new stores across the country, and has added customization stations at several of them — being able to customize purchases is a trend being seen among leading retailers, including Roots and Moose Knuckles, which both offer customized jackets.
TNT The New Trend Opens at Bayview Village: Edgy Toronto-based multi-brand retailer TNT The New Trend has unveiled a men’s store at Toronto’s upscale Bayview Village Shopping Centre. The 1,990 square foot men’s space expands TNT’s presence at Bayview Village to 7,340 square feet.
The store carries some edgy brands not found elsewhere in the mall, or even in Toronto, for that matter — TNT is a unique retailer with stores in Toronto and Montreal, and it recently opened its first international location in Melbourne, Australia.
In Toronto, TNT also recently unveiled its ‘TNT Concept’ at Yorkville Village. The multi-purpose retail space is currently dominated by menswear, though that could change given that the space can be reconfigured for a variety of uses, and is adjacent to North America’s first Eleventy boutique, which opened in the fall.
Bayview Village will see an overhaul over the next few years that will include adding new retailers, retail space, and other mixed uses such as residential. It’s a trend that we’ll be seeing more into 2018 and onwards, as mall landlords see the opportunity to capitalize on real estate that may be intensified for residential and other non-retail uses.
Premium Japanese All-Matcha Cafe Opens at Mississauga’s Square One: Popular Japanese café concept TSUJIRI opened a location at Mississauga’s Square One this week — TSUJIRI is known for its matcha desserts with strong and bold flavours.
The company is more than 155 years old and uses ingredients sourced directly from Japan. Its high quality and air-dried storage method of tea leaves makes its matcha treats taste smoother and less bitter than other competitors, it says.
TSUJIRI opened its first shop outside of Japan seven years ago and has now successfully expanded into 10 countries. Its other two Canadian locations are in Toronto — one on Dundas Street downtown, and the other in North York. It looks like this is one to watch for a national expansion, given its current international locations, not to mention lineups at its Toronto cafés.
OUT HERE Launches E-Commerce Site: Toronto-based women’s fashion retailer OUT HERE, which has a storefront on Bay Street in Yorkville, has launched an online store to cater to the glamorous gown girls of Toronto — OUT HERE’s colourful window displays have been known to catch the eye of passers-by.
It’s Canada’s first and only women’s luxury boutique dedicated to Brazilian designers, and it’s also unique in that a considerable amount of its profits are donated to charity, including the building of a 600-child orphanage in Mozambique.
Entrepreneur Marcus Chaves and partner Gabriel Cesar operate the 800 square foot storefront at 1282 Bay Street, in Toronto’s affluent Yorkville area, which opened earlier this year.
The online move makes sense — Instagram has been key to building brand awareness, Mr. Chaves explained. He’s built relationships with clients who have seen his merchandise on the social media platform.
Approximately 90% of OUT HERE’s stock is from 12 Brazilian designers, with almost all of them being exclusive in Canada. Prices range between $500 and $10,000, with the upper-end items including impressive hand-beaded gowns. The store also carries Canadian outerwear designer Sentaler — one of the only brands that isn’t from Brazil, but has a charitable component.
ShopShops is an interactive new retail platform that bridges American retailers to new generation of Chinese Shoppers legitimately and directly, by bring-in the physical shopping experiences on-line, by fulfilling consumers needs with experiences, curation and interaction. La Vie En Rose is particularly unique to the situation, given that it’s Canadian.