Levi’s Expands Canadian Operations as it Unveils Canadian Flagship Store [Photos]

Date:

Share post:

San Francisco-based fashion brand Levi’s, known particularly for its denim fashions, has opened its Canadian flagship at CF Toronto Eaton Centre. The impressive space features customization and localization, and the store is the only one in Canada to carry the ‘Levi’s Authorized Vintage’ line. Levi’s has been expanding its Canadian operations over the past couple of years by opening direct-to-consumer stores, which are said to be growing the brand’s overall awareness, not to mention increasing sales. 

“The heart of downtown Toronto, with its diversity, culture and vibrancy, is an ideal home for the Levi’s® brand,” said Roy Bagattini, Executive Vice President and President of Levi Strauss Americas. “We are elevating the consumer experience by putting customization front and centre. The heartbeat of the store is a Tailor Shop, where customers can have their favourite denim products altered and customized by a team of specialized tailors, as well as custom T-shirt printing.”

Levi’s Toronto Eaton Centre Tailor Shop

The Tailor Shop Mr. Bagattini mentioned is one of the customization features in the new store. Several of Levi’s Canadian stores now carry ‘Tailor Shops’ — over the past couple of years, Levi’s has been expanding its presence in Canada with standalone retail stores, several of which include these. Levi’s debuted its first two Canadian locations with tailor shops in November of 2016, at Toronto’s CF Sherway Gardens and at Square One in Mississauga. Two Alberta stores were added in the summer of 2017 and it’s been such a hit that more have since been added. 

Levi’s tailor shops offer custom embroidery, tailoring, hemming and a wide selection of pins and patches, addressing the trend towards product customization. Levi’s describes its tailor shops as having a “team of specialized craftsmen who will help you personalize your favourite denim pieces,” with customization spaces located at the back of each store.

The new CF Toronto Eaton Centre Levi’s store’s interior features about 5,300 square feet of retail space on Level 1, in part of what was formerly a location for US fashion retailer Express. The Levi’s store interior features a ‘natural look and feel’ that pays homage to the brand’s commitment to quality and sustainability, according to Levi’s. On a back wall near the store’s dressing rooms, for example, is a water bottle refill station with signage discussing how Levi’s aims to conserve and recycle water as part of its denim finishing. The range of product in the store includes Levi’s lines Made & Crafted®, Levi’s® Red Tab line for men and women and, new to Canada, Levi’s® Authorized Vintage. 

The Levi’s Authorized Vintage offering is particularly notable, given that the CF Toronto Eaton Centre store is the only one in Canada to carry the range of pre-worn pairs of jeans and trucker jackets that have been carefully remastered. The idea is to offer the “most authentic, most everlasting vintage on the market – made by Levi’s® from start to finish”, according to the company. 

The city of Toronto is a theme throughout the store, which includes a city skyline and wording on T-shirts, trucker jackets, pins and patches, paying homage to the city that many are saying is having its ‘moment’ (Drake, The Weekend and Megan Markle have all helped). One Levi’s jacket style features the word ‘Toronto’ in a marquee sign reminiscent of that of the iconic Honest Ed’s store which shuttered at the end of 2016. These products are said to be flying off the shelves, and the Tailor Shop is also said to be doing tremendous business in just its first week of operation. 

The CF Toronto Eaton Centre Levi’s store also features tech-supported touchpoints such as a call button in the fitting rooms allowing customers to directly request additional sizing and assistance without leaving the room. 

Levi’s has spent a considerable sum to advertise the new store as part of its “We Are Toronto” advertising campaign. For the past month, the Dundas TTC subway station adjacent to CF Toronto Eaton Centre has been ‘taken over’ with advertising promoting the new store, as well as various other billboards, a wrap of the 501 Queen Streetcar, and advertising throughout CF Toronto Eaton Centre which boasts more than 50-million annual visitors. As well, geo-targeted mobile ads were used to promote the new store.

SUZANNE SEARS, FOUNDER OF LEADING RETAIL RECRUITMENT FIRM BEST RETAIL CAREERS INTERNATIONAL INC., HOLDS UP A TORONTO-THEMED TRUCKER JACKET. PHOTO: CRAIG PATTERSON 

Brands are increasingly going direct-to-consumer with stores and Levi’s is no exception — the company confirms that about a third of all global sales are from its stores, and the company has already opened several enhanced locations that include tailor shops in-store. Levi’s is expected to continue with its expansion plans, while also expanding its wholesale network that includes major retailers such as Hudson’s Bay. Levi’s operates a network of stores in Canada as well as internationally, boasting more than 2,800 stores globally. Levi’s was founded in San Francisco in 1853 by German entrepreneur Levi Strauss. 

Levi’s is seeing remarkable growth in Canada — sales have reportedly doubled since 2012 to more than $100-million. That’s what Chip Bergh, CEO of Levi Strauss told Marina Strauss (no relation) of the Globe & Mail in a paywalled article last week. Mr. Bergh also mentioned that the company’s women’s sales have tripled since 2015, and that the average age of its consumer has decreased over the past seven years or so since he came on as head of the company. It would appear that the company’s efforts to reach out to younger shoppers is paying off, including an expansive range of casual fashions as well as with its in-store customization and other initiatives that make Levi’s stores more experiential. 

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Publisher & 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, former lawyer 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.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More From The Author

RECENT RETAIL INSIDER VIDEOS

Advertisment

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Subscribe

* indicates required

Related articles

RONA Completes Nationwide Transformation with Launch of RONA+ and Pilot Conversion of Réno-Dépôt Stores in Quebec [Interview/Photos]

Dozens of former Lowe's stores in Canada have been converted to new banners, following Rona's acquisition of the US-based retailer's Canadian operations.

Streetwear Retailer PLUS Unveils New Flagship Store at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre [Photos/Interview]

The upscale Canadian retailer has opened its largest store to date, attempting to create a wow factor with the store design and product assortment.

Retail Loyalty Programs in Canada: Booming Subscriptions but Lacklustre Engagement Challenge Retailers [Feature Interviews]

A shift towards more exclusive and personalized loyalty experiences is required according to experts, as Canadians seek out programs for savings at a challenging economic time.

The International Retailers that Entered Canada in 2023 and their Expansion Plans [Feature]

Retail Insider profiles the international brands that entered the Canadian market by opening stores over the 12 months of 2023, discussing how and when they arrived and what's planned in terms of any expansion.

A&W to Replace Birks Store in Downtown Victoria [With Rendering]

It's the first in the company to feature a walk-up window. The historic building will be renovated with original elements preserved.

CF Sherway Gardens: Sales Per Square Foot Record Set as New Retailers Open [Podcast]

Craig and Lee discuss CF Sherway Gardens' success as it adds retailers, as well as the future of the centre which features a hollowed-out Saks Fifth Avenue.

The Body Shop Canada Goes into Restructuring and will Close 33 Stores [Article Includes Expert Analysis]

The UK-based retailer filed overseas last month, and its Canadian operations will now be downsized as part of a restructuring that will see many stores remain open for now.

One Bloor East in Toronto Secures Nike Flagship and Mango as Key Retail Tenants [Exclusive]

First Capital REIT has leased-out the entire retail podium at the iconic Yonge and Bloor corner, including space to another new tenant in the main-floor space formerly occupied by Nordstrom Rack.

Anatomy of a Leader: Ken Keelor, CEO of Calgary Co-op

After moving to Canada from India in 1995, Keelor began working at Save-on-Foods and then other major retailers as his career progressed upwards.

Unprecedented Opportunity for Canadian Retailers to Sell to Consumers in China Online

China is the world’s largest online consumer market, and it is projected to grow for years to come.

Modern Golf Opening Innovative Golf Social Experience in Downtown Toronto’s First Canadian Place [Interview]

The 8,500-square-foot Financial District space will feature multiple bays, bars, lounge areas, and partnerships with Food Dudes for food and beverage offerings, marking a significant shift in the company's growth strategy.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Gears Up for Nationwide Expansion in Canada with Innovative Store Formats [Interview]

New locations in new markets are planned, including a mix of Doughnut Café concepts and manufacturing locations for the public called 'Theatre Hubs'.