Photo of the Day: Goodbye Forever 21 Robson Street, Hello Indigo

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Today’s photo of the day is of the Forever 21 store at 1033 Robson Street in downtown Vancouver, which closed on Monday, January 15. Indigo Books & Music has announced that it has subleased Forever 21’s two-level 29,000 square foot space and will open a store there in the fall of 2018. 

Indigo’s Robson Street store will reflect the retailer’s updated ‘culture department store’ concept that it launched at Toronto’s CF Sherway Gardens in the spring of 2016 (see photos below). Indigo has opened several of these new stores since then, and the retailer is in the process of aggressively securing new retail spaces, including replacement locations in existing markets, for its updated store format. With Sears Canada’s recent demise, Indigo has accelerated its plans to secure locations for updated stores. 

Indigo closed its 53,000 square foot Chapters store in downtown Vancouver in June of 2015, and it was subsequently replaced by a large Sport Chek store. The Chapters name is in the process of being phased out as part of Indigo’s updated branding efforts. 

(Photos below are of Indigo’s ‘cultural department store’ at CF Sherway Gardens in Toronto, via Burdifilek

“Indigo, which also operates the Chapters brand, has had a long and valued relationship with book lovers in downtown Vancouver,” said Heather Reisman, Indigo CEO. “When we made the decision to leave our well-loved Robson street Chapters store, we promised our customers that as soon as we could, we would be back. We are so very excited to reconnect with this community who are among the best and most passionate readers in the country.”

According to a press release, “The new store will have a warm and inviting aesthetic inspired by the city. Customers will explore the best book selection, exclusive Indigo-designed lifestyle products and an outstanding IndigoKids department combining books, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) products and the best in creative play. The store will also have a full cafe and community space for special events.”

Forever 21 opened at 1033 Robson Street in November of 2012. 

Robson Street is in a state of transition and good things are on the way. This month we’ll be profiling Vancouver’s Robson Street with some updates from the BIA as well as brokers doing deals in the area. 

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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    • That’s a good question. Given that this was a sublease, it would appear that Forever 21 made the choice to leave — indicating that it wasn’t doing as well as it had hoped in that location.

      It remains to be seen if Forever 21 will again secure a downtown Vancouver space. Forever 21 requires a relatively large footprint, and space in downtown Vancouver is constrained and generally expensive.


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