BRIEF: Luxury Retailer Shutters Amid Death Threat, Diesel & Anthropologie Exit Yorkville

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Montreal Multi-Brand Luxury Men’s Retailer Closes Amid Death Threat: The three-level Giorgio Gruppo Roma store at 1440 Peel Street in Montreal has shuttered as its owner, Tony Elian, flees for his life. That’s according to a French language report over the weekend in TVA Nouvelles, which says that it has sources who say that Montreal police have informed Mr. Elian to go into hiding because his life is in danger, with threats said to be linked to his many debts to creditors. 


The threats to Mr. Elian’s life follow other serious incidents. In the spring of 2017, his car was firebombed and in March of 2018, he was shot with a shotgun in his Peel Street store. The TVA Nouvelles report notes that last week, a moving truck was parked in front of the shuttered Giorgio Gruppo Roma store. 

Debts have plagued Mr. Elian’s business dealings since at least 2015. TVA Nouvelles reports that there’s a long list of subcontractors claiming to be unpaid for work done on a condominium building in nearby Westmount that was developed by Mr. Elian’s company Cesare Immobilier. Between 2009 and 2014, Mr. Elian was involved in a $1.1 million lawsuit with Frank Bertucci, who was accused of trying to bribe a Revenue Canada representative with $150,000 for a tax reduction.

Outstanding rents on the 1440 Peel Street property resulted in a $500,000 lawsuit between him and landlord 825 Bancroft Investment Limited. Mr. Elian’s personal residence is subject to notice of sale to pay off debts. He owes about $2.7 million in loans for his properties in Westmount and Bank of Montreal is suing him for nearly $2.2million. 


Some are saying Mr. Elian had ties to criminal entities in the Montreal area. He was seen in photos with gangster Ducarme Joseph who was murdered in 2014, and he attended the funeral of Italian-Canadian crime boss Vito Rizzuto in late 2013 — Rizzuto is alleged to have been the leader of the Sicilian Mafia in Canada. 

According to TVA Nouvelles, some are claiming that Giorgio Gruppo Roma was claiming that it’s “made in Italy” fashions were actually produced in China. 

Giorgio Gruppo Roma was located across the street from men’s luxury retailer Harry Rosen and is a few doors south of prestigious multi-brand men’s retailer L’Uomo. All are located in downtown Montreal’s prestigious ‘Golden Square Mile’ area that also houses Holt Renfrew Ogilvy, the adjacent Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences, and the Ritz Carlton Hotel

[French language TVA Nouvelles report]

Saks Fifth Avenue Flagship Saint Laurent Boutique PHOTO: AMACHRIS CORPORATION

Saks Fifth Avenue Flagship Saint Laurent Boutique Sees Updates: The Saint Laurent accessory boutique at Saks Fifth Avenue at CF Toronto Eaton Centre was recently under tarp for a refresh that was completed late last week. The updated space was expanded to house even more of the brand’s luxurious accessories, with bags priced well into the thousands.

The boutique features Saint Laurent’s signature marble walls that contrast with metal fixtures. Bags and accessories are displayed in new display cases as well as along the walls of the boutique. Retail construction specialist Amachris Corporation partnered on the space build-out.

Other shop-in-stores on Saks CF Toronto Eaton Centre ground floor include Bottega Veneta, Celine, Chloé, Valentino and Givenchy, as well as leased concessions for Louis Vuitton, Dior and Prada. Saks’ women’s designer floor on level three also houses a Saint Laurent ready-to-wear boutique, along with several other big-name designers.

Saint Laurent opened its first standalone Canadian store, spanning 4,800 square feet, in Vancouver in the summer of 2016. A second standalone store measuring about 3,000 square feet opened at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre in November of 2016. A 3,000 square foot ‘world of’ Saint Laurent opened at Holt Renfrew at 50 Bloor Street West in Toronto in March of 2018. Saint Laurent is also carried at several Holt Renfrew stores as well as at Nordstrom in Vancouver.

Toronto Athlete Tech Summit to Include NBA Players: NBA players are expected to attend a tech summit looking to attract investments in Toronto’s booming tech scene.

Landing in Toronto August 1st and 2nd, the 2019 Athlete Technology Summit is labelled the only event of its kind in Canada. According to organizers, the Summit benefits startups, Venture Capitalists, influencers, and professional athletes. The event will be host to roughly 150 hand selected ‘high profile individuals’ who all have a vested interest in the opportunities that the Toronto Technology Eco-System has to offer.

“Toronto recently has been named the Technology Hub of Canada, fastest growing sector in North America, and is currently the fourth largest in North America. That is due to the fact that Toronto has over 5000+ Start Ups and over 245,00 Technology jobs,” reads the summit’s website.

Toronto is also known as a world innovation leader in Artificial Intelligence, and second in the Neuroscience and Neuroscience Technology space only behind the city of Boston. As well, companies such as Uber, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and many other international brands are already in the city, or building offices in Toronto.

The first-ever Athlete Technology Summit will explore the trends and innovations in Canadian talent, technology, and sports. It will be held at Artscape Daniels Launchpad on the fourth floor of 130 Queens Quay East.


Anthropologie and Diesel Shutter Yorkville Avenue Flagships: The Anthropologie store at 78 Yorkville Avenue in Toronto closed on July 19 as the street continues to transform into a luxury retail destination. A week prior, Diesel also closed its storefront at 92 Yorkville Avenue. Both buildings are owned by First Capital Realty

First Capital Realty has been repositioning Yorkville Avenue after acquiring several buildings along the street. Chanel opened at the landlord’s property at 100 Yorkville Avenue in November of 2017 and recently, it was joined by Brunello Cucinelli and Versace in the 102-108 Yorkville Avenue complex. A Stone Island flagship will open in the same complex this fall. 

Other luxury brands along the stretch include Christian Louboutin, Off-White, Kiton, Richard Mille and Audemars Piguet. First Capital Realty will redevelop its 101 Yorkville Avenue property to include luxury retail spaces in what is proposed to be a mixed-use development, with designs pending. A goop pop-up space opened at the base of the Hazelton Hotel and if things go well, its lease could be extended beyond September. Other developments to the area will add more retail as well as restaurants and other uses. 


No new tenants have been announced for the Diesel or Anthropologie spaces on Yorkville Avenue, though Chanel confirms that it will annex about 1,000 square feet of the back of the second-floor of the former Diesel space to expand back-of-house operations. Veteran broker Jane Baldwin of Lennard negotiated the Diesel and Anthropologie leases and both stores opened in 2009, prior to Yorkville Avenue being repositioned as a luxury retail address. Both spaces are located at the base of luxury condominium towers, however, with units priced well into the millions of dollars in some instances. 


Designer Brand Boutiques Exit Nordstrom CF Toronto Eaton Centre: The third-floor ready-to-wear boutique for LVMH-owned Spanish luxury brand Loewe was recently decommissioned at Nordstrom’s CF Toronto Eaton Centre flagship in Toronto. The space currently houses fashions for Italian brand Max Mara, though it currently retains the hard-shop fixtures that characterize Loewe retail spaces. Two Loewe boutiques, including a women’s ready-to-wear on the third floor and separate accessory boutique on the ground floor, opened in the store in September of 2016 when Nordstrom unveiled its impressive flagship. The Loewe accessory boutique remains operational on the store’s ground floor. 

Several months ago, as well, the edgy ‘SPACE’ department exited Nordstrom’s CF Toronto Eaton Centre store, though it remains at Nordstrom’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre location. Both SPACE locations opened in the fall of 2016, featuring an expansive offering of trendy designers, some of which are so unique that staff had said some styles were unisex. 


Last year, the Lanvin boutique on the third floor of Nordstrom’s CF Toronto Eaton Centre store also shuttered. The former Lanvin space, located next to the former Loewe shop, now houses an area for personal stylists. On the third floor, designer boutique spaces remain for brands including Stella McCartney, Moncler and Burberry.  

Until about four years ago, distribution of Loewe in Canada was fairly limited until Nordstrom entered the Vancouver market with an offering of the popular Spanish brand. Since then, Holt Renfrew has been beefing up its offerings with stores carrying a growing assortment of Loewe bags and apparel. 


Tech Startup ‘Intelocate’ Gets In the Groove with Sunrise Records: Toronto-based tech startup Intelocate has signed on to help fellow Canadian-based company Sunrise Records, gaining the largest footprint in the music entertainment retail space. 

Intelocate is said to be the first operations platform that is specifically designed for the complexity of a multi-location business. It empowers head office departments, regional teams, location staff, and even external vendors to coordinate efforts to solve problems by combining the modern, chat-based style of communicating with sophisticated issue and task management.

“Retailers around the world are all turning to hyperlocal in-store experiences, and the music business is doing that really well by listening to local music preferences and organizing local events. To achieve that, retailers require tools that provide actionable insights into what happens across locations, it is so important to give location teams a voice,” explains Yulia Vasilyeva, Chief Executive Officer at Intelocate. 

“We are thrilled to work with Intelocate,” says Chris Dipardo, Vice President of Stores and Operations, at Sunrise. “We saw what they’ve been doing with customers in Europe and in particular, the time savings and operational improvements it provided for HMV Retail UK after we acquired the company. We knew that we would benefit immediately from Intelocate’s expertise to support our ecosystem.

“We’re supporting companies all around the world, we are proud to support a Canadian company with our technology,” says Vasilyeva. Intelocate removes operational obstacles for locations, regional teams, head office, and vendors. “Even more exciting is that the Sunrise Records partnership is giving us the largest market footprint in the music entertainment retail space.” said Vasilyeva.


Shopping Platform ‘Picodi’ Expands Into Canada: Smart-shopping platform, which offers discount coupons to online stores, launched its Canadian website in July. Along with recent expanding into the American and New Zealand markets, Picodi now operates in 44 countries. 

Initially called International Coupons, the company was founded in 2010 in Poland. The company operated under different brand names until 2016 when it merged into 

The website offers its Canadian users unlimited free access to promo codes and coupons to over 200 local and international online shops, giving a chance to save on clothes, shoes, electronics, home appliance, travel tickets or food delivery. is free to use and does not require registration. 

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Now located in Toronto, Craig is a retail analyst and consultant at the Retail Council of Canada. He's also the Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for the past 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees. He is also President & CEO of Vancouver-based Retail Insider Media Ltd.

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  1. Nordstrom Yorkdale opened with it’s own Space department. Eaton Centre closed theirs. There was no "relocation".


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