BRIEF: Crabtree & Evelyn Canada Files for Creditor Protection, Jeff de Bruges Expansion

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Crabtree & Evelyn Canada Files for Creditor Protection: The Canadian operations for Cambridge, Massachusetts-based body/fragrance/home care retailer Crabtree & Evelyn filed for creditor protection last week. Richter Advisory Group is acting as Trustee.

Crabtree & Evelyn currently operates 19 stores in Canada with 11 of those in Ontario, 6 in BC, and one each in Quebec, and Alberta. That is down substantially from the past when the retailer had dozens of stores coast-to-coast. Crabtree also wholesales in various specialty retailers, and its products are being supplied through Harvey Supply Chain International, a related entity in the United States.

The filing in the Quebec Superior Court notes that Crabtree & Evelyn Canada has been experiencing “significant losses” over the last few years, attributed to changing consumer tastes, the rise of e-commerce, and long-term declines in traditional retail traffic and productivity.

Crabtree & Evelyn Canada’s assets have a book value of $1.3-million according to the filing, consisting primarily of inventory. Debts are $15.2-million, primarily for the supply of inventory as well as advance of funds and support services.

Inventory will be liquidated to “maximize the value of its assets which will ultimately be distributed to its creditors.” The liquidation commenced November 30 and will end before December 31.

At the conclusion of the liquidation period, each of the closing stores will be surrendered to their respective landlords.

Jeff de Bruges Expanding in Quebec: French chocolatier and ice cream house Jeff de Bruges is opening two new locations in Quebec, as it looks to grow in super regional malls in the province.

The retail concept debuted in Canada in 2014 at Place Montreal Trust in Montreal’s downtown core, selling exquisite Belgian chocolates, ice cream, and other treats. 

The retailer is relocating its Place Montreal Trust store to the Montreal Eaton Centre, which is in the midst of an exciting $200-million large-scale redevelopment project. The relocation is due, in part, to construction of Montreal’s $6.3-billion REM rapid transit project, the largest public transit undertaking in Quebec’s history.

A temporary pop-up store will open at Montreal Eaton Centre this month and relocate to a permanent 655-square-foot space in September. In March 2019, Jeff de Bruges will also open a 175-square-foot kiosk at Carrefour Industrielle Alliance in Montreal’s pedestrian network — La Maison Simons and the Banque Scotia theatre anchor the 210,000-square-foot historic building, which houses restaurants and boutiques.

Jeff de Bruges has tremendous market awareness in Europe and boasts turnover of more than $330 million in 2017. Philippe Jambon created the concept in France in 1986 and began franchising in 1988. The company introduced ice cream to the retail mix in 1990 and now operates more than 500 stores across France, including corporate and franchises, and close to 40 international locations. 

Quebec remains the focus for now, with possible future locations spanning 600 to 1,000-square-feet in super regional malls across the province. The brand is working with brokerage Think Retail’s Tony Flanz.

Menē Launches First Luxury Jewelry Startup to go Public in TSX-V: Menē Inc., a publicly traded company on the TSX-V and an online 24 karat jewelry brand, unveiled its new interactive myMENĒ jewelry customization technology and user experience.

myMENĒ combines technology developed in-house by the Company’s product and engineering teams with Menē’s unique business model. This allows Menē customers to choose from a collection of 24-karat gold and platinum charms to create, preview, edit, share and purchase customized Menē bracelets and necklaces. This customization feature will soon be expanded to include pendants, medallions, and Menē Narrow Chains.

Those unfamiliar with the company may be surprised to learn that Menē crafts pure 24-karat gold and platinum jewelry that is transparently sold by gram weight through the company’s website.

At Toronto’s 38 Avenue Road Showroom, interested customers can visit a Menē vitrine (which live displays gold prices) and interact with the resourceful staff but cannot purchase on-site. Branded as a ‘Menē embassy,’ Avenue Road serves to provide a trust-building opportunity for the brand and for customers to enjoy in-person service.

On November 17th, 2018, the company, founded by 33-year old Goldmoney Inc CEO Roy Sebag and Diana Widmaier-Picasso, (granddaughter of that Picasso) reported that they were celebrating after having filled their 10,000th order in 11 months following their public launch.

Céla Pop-up at Saks: CF Toronto Eaton Centre’s Saks Fifth Avenue launched an in-store pop-up shop with Canadian skincare brand Céla.  For the month of December, shoppers will be able to take advantage of the location to access the entire range of the Canadian made and nature-inspired products.

The pop-up also features the brand’s two newest products the Essential Face Mist and Essential Face Cream which will be launching mid-December. 

The space has been designed by Céla founder Celine Tadrissi’s architect husband Antonio and his team at Prototype Design Lab and features a metal and grid-based theme into which the product is showcased.

The product line was launched in August 2018 as first of its kind by The Hammam Spa in Toronto. The traditional Turkish bath company is directed by Celine Tadrissi, and the skincare line contains six Canadian botanical extracts: blueberry, elderberry, evening primrose, juniper berry, rosemary, and lavender. All products marketed as ‘clean’ which indicates that they are free of parabens, phthalates, and sulfates.

Prime Retail Opportunity in Sherwood Park, Alberta: Avison Young has announced the availability of retail space at Sherwood Park Mall. The mall is a major regional retail destination that is currently undergoing an extensive exterior renovation. There are retail opportunities available in this 430,000-square-foot property, with a significant interior mall component, ranging from 2,000- to 15,000-square-feet. There will be various configurations possible, with all being granted exterior access.

Cineplex, Safeway, Goodlife Fitness and Indigo anchor the development, and various prominent national retailers include Shoppers Drug Mart, Urban Planet, and many others round out the tenant mix.

This centrally located mall in the heart of Sherwood Park sees roughly 25,000 vehicles per day along Sherwood Drive.  Sherwood Park boasts an average household income of $159,291 (2018), a population of 78,002 (2018, est.) and is located approximately 5 minutes east of Edmonton. 

Any leasing inquiries should be directed to Ben Volorney (780-429-7565 / ben.volorney@avisonyoung.com ) or Ellie Scott (780-702-0697 / ellie.scott@avisonyoung.com ).

[Sherwood Park Mall Leasing Brochure]

Popular UK-Based Tire Brand Enters Canada: Blackcircles, the leading online retailer of tires in Europe has officially launched its tire-shopping and online services in Canada.

As of last month, Canadian consumers from BC to Newfoundland gained access to the tire purchasing experience. Blackcircle’s website simplifies the tire buying process for passenger-vehicle tires so consumers can research, purchase tires then schedule an installation appointment all from one site. In addition, this experience enables consumers to shop for tires that best fit their vehicle and the way they want to drive.

Customers can buy their tires directly on the website, www.blackcircles.ca. The process is streamlined: choose a tire, enter a postal code, choose a nearby service center, and choose a date and time and pay. Then show up at the appointed time and date to get the tires installed.

Blackcircles was founded by Liverpool-born entrepreneur Mike Welch in 2001 and sells to approximately 2,000,000 customers in the UK, making it one of the largest online tire retailers in the world.

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