And Jonathon Fitzgerald, the retailer’s President, said there are plans to replicate the concept throughout many of the company’s stores nationwide.
“Our goal is to create a store that is inviting and beautiful, from the product selection through to the architecture. The floor is a mix of natural wood and concrete, we used handmade cement tiling on the wall and an abundance of plants to give the space warmth and life. We used local artisans, workshops and mills to create the store as well as reclaimed materials for an authentic atelier feel. We have an area dedicated to services such as reservations made online for a personal stylist or bra fittings, pick up of online orders and returns.”
The newly redesigned Carrefour Laval store will be the first of its kind for ADDITION ELLE, which has 80 stores in Canada. Penningtons has 115 stores.
Fitzgerald said the store demonstrates the company’s new strategy and its new direction for stores.
“It’s to create this environment for our customers to enjoy. We have three real purposes for the store. It’s a showroom for our lifestyle products . . . We really are a one-stop shop for everything she needs including exclusive brand partnerships that we do,” said Fitzgerald.
“It’s also a community hub. So we run ADDITION ELLE live events which are every month and we invite local artisans, entrepreneurs to come and do events with us. So we’ve had female entrepreneurs who have created a chocolate brand, we’ve had yoga and meditation classes, we’ve had essential oil. It’s around wellness and the lifestyle basically. And it just brings a sense of purpose, brings a community and brings people together in our store because we want them to spend time with our brand. And this gives us a chance to talk to them about other things in their lives as opposed to just trying to sell product.
“The third part of the store is essentially a bureau to post. It’s where she picks up her online parcels . . . It’s where she can do returns, she can try everything on. So really it’s the connection of our omni-channel experience. It brings online and offline together into the store.”
Fitzgerald said the company will be looking at how it will be expanding the concept of the Montreal store to more and more people across the country in both ADDITION ELLE and Penningtons stores.
“We’ll be looking at how we evolve each of the stores because it’s a very specific store to Montreal. We’ve used a lot of local artisanal producers to create things within the store. From the wood we’ve used on the cash desk to reclaimed lamps to the metal glass wall we built in there, all are local Montreal artisans. They suit the style of Montreal,” said Fitzgerald.
“We don’t want to do an identical roll out across the estate. We want to make sure that each store is a local experience for the customers . . . The idea of the community connection and bringing omni-channel into the store is something that is key to all retail experiences and we have a great and loyal Penningtons customer that we would of course connect in this way too.”
As far as additional stores being launched in Canada, Fitzgerald said the company is always looking for different opportunities in the ever-changing retail market. It wants to make sure it optimizes on different opportunities.
“We’ll look at different pop-ups to test. So the Laval store we ran last year for about a year with a pop-up store which was very successful. We like to kind of test different formats and concepts in the stores before we commit. So we’ll be looking at different opportunities for pop-up stores as well,” he added.
ADDITION ELLE has also invested in its digital flagship. It has redesigned its ecommerce platform which will be launched in late July.
“We’re looking at ADDITION ELLE first and then we’ll look at the successful elements of that and possibly take that into Penningtons at a later stage,” said Fitzgerald.
ADDITION ELLE said the re-imagined concept in Montreal will offer customers an unprecedented selection of today’s most sought-after brands such as Levi’s, Body Glove, Calvin Klein, Birkenstock, New Balance, Lucky Brand, and Girlfriend Collective, in exclusively extended sizing.
ADDITION ELLE also announced recently the appointment of Andy Thê-Anh as Design Director.
The retailer said Thê-Anh brings a wealth of experience to the design team, having worked on concept, trend detection, and brand development for both high end and mass market brands. Born in Vietnam, Thê-Anh moved to Quebec at the age of 16 and studied fashion design at LaSalle College. With his understanding of fabrics, styles, colours and cuts, his expertise will enhance the design team, giving them strong leadership to develop the brand aesthetic even further, said the company, adding that the first collection under Thê-Anh’s direction will be available to the ADDITION ELLE customer in stores across Canada and on additionelle.com as of Spring 2020.
“Without a doubt, it’s a great new chapter for me and I’m very excited to join the ADDITION ELLE team. I’m looking forward to furthering a modern lifestyle concept, a new contemporary and fashionable aesthetic and designing exclusively for ADDITION ELLE”, said Thê-Anh.