BRIEF: Quebec Home Retailer Bankrupt, Aritzia Looks to China

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Lacoste Opening First Concept Store in Vancouver, Third in Canada: Known particularly for its polo shirts featuring a crocodile logo, French fashion brand Lacoste will be opening its third new-concept store in Canada at Metropolis at Metrotown in suburban Vancouver. It will be the first concept store in British Columbia. 


Lacoste opened its first concept store at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre in the summer of 2018. A second concept store opened several months ago at Ottawa’s CF Rideau Centre. The Metrotown store will mirror both the Toronto and Ottawa stores in design and the company says that they expect Metrotown to sell about as much as Lacoste’s productive Toronto Yorkdale unit. 

Lacoste’s new concept store’s design inspiration stems from the inside of a tennis locker, while incorporating a “chic and sophisticated look and feel.” As a tribute to Lacoste’s French heritage, the boutique’s design features a customer-centric experience.


Next year, Lactose will create a customized online experience while also launching a new loyalty program in the next two to three years. 

“We have always been dedicated to ensuring a personalized customer experience for everyone that walks into our boutiques,” says Lacoste Canada’s General Manager Grégoire Brasset. “The new loyalty program is a way for us to maintain and build relationships with our customers, while creating an exclusive and VIP experience for those that have been longtime friends of the brand.” The loyalty program was launched in the European marketing just over three-years-ago. “After a strong response from customers in Europe, we are excited to bring a more enhanced shopping experience to our Canadian customers,” Mr. Brasset said.

Lacoste says that it is looking to open a second concept store at the Vancouver market at some point. Lacoste operates a network of standalone stores across Canada, including full-priced units as well as off-price outlets. Lacoste also wholesales to retailers in Canada including Hudson’s Bay, Browns Shoes and Foot Locker. Lacoste was founded in 1933 and has distribution in 120 countries globally. 

Frank And Oak Opening Dual-Gender CF Toronto Eaton Centre Flagship: Montreal-based fashion brand Frank And Oak is building a new storefront at CF Toronto Eaton Centre. It replaces an M0851 location that formerly occupied the space.


Frank And Oak will boast considerable visibility from Queen Street West, as the store will feature an exterior presence facing Saks Fifth Avenue and Hudson’s Bay, while also being adjacent to the busy Queen Street entrance to CF Toronto Eaton Centre. 

Frank And Oak launched its women’s collection in 2017 and began opening standalone women’s stores that fall. The current Frank And Oak women’s store at CF Toronto Eaton Centre, located a few doors north of the new space, will close when the dual gender store opens next month. 


Sources say that Tesla was supposed to open a large store where Frank And Oak is now opening. In the spring, Tesla announced that it had halted its store expansion that was expected to see several more locations open in Canada over the next couple of years. Fortunately, Tesla decided not to close all of its stores as planned, which means there are several still operational in Canada. That includes a highly productive unit at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre that is said to do gangbusters sales. 

Frank And Oak was founded in 2012 in Montreal as an online men’s brand and began opening stores in 2014. The brand became known initially for its subscription service where for a cost, shipments of clothing would arrive in the mail for customers. 

Aritzia Looks to Open Stores in China: A report in Business of Fashion notes that Vancouver-based fashion retailer Aritzia could eventually open stores in China. That’s according to an interview in the publication by Artizia’s CEO, Brian Hill


Aritiza is seeing success with its brick-and-mortar stores in the United States, according to Mr. Hill. The company is picking the “best locations”, he said, including the recent opening of an Artizia store at Hudson Yards in New York City. About a third of Aritzia’s 92 stores are in the United States, which is impressive considering that Artizia only entered the US market a few years ago where it opened in high-rent locations on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, for example. 

Celebrity endorsements have played a part in Aritzia’s global success. Megan Markle is a fan, for example. 

Mr. Hill explained how opening physical stores has also led to increased online sales in those areas. That reflects a recent study by International Council of Shopping Centres where a “halo effect” leads to increased web traffic of up to 37% in areas where brands open brick-and-mortar retail spaces.  

Aritzia’s market capitalization is at about $2.2 billion, which is impressive. At the same time, its share price sits at about $17.50 — not much higher than its initial share price when Aritzia went public in 2016. The exit of investor Berkshire Partners may have something to do with it. Berkshire had acquired a majority stake in Aritzia in 2005 and helped fund the expansion. 

While there’s no timeline in place, Mr. Hill told Business in Fashion that Aritiza will expand into China “at some point in the future.” The article notes that by 2021, China may surpass the United States as the world’s biggest retail market.

In Canada, brokerage JLL represents Aritzia in its real estate site selection, under the direction of Dianne Lemm.  

Ontario’s first Cadillac-Exlusive Dealership Opens in Woodbridge: This week the new Roy Foss Cadillac Woodbridge facility at 2 Auto Park Circle opened to the public, spanning about 7,000 square feet on one level. 

Roy Foss Cadillac Woodbridge, the first Cadillac-exclusive dealer location in Ontario opens in Woodbridge. Photo credit: Cadillac Canada/Nino Michela

Four vehicles are on display in the showroom and an additional six vehicles are displayed on the parking pad in front of the retail space. Inside, there are two ‘delivery pods’, which are essentially offices where consumers “complete their purchasing journey and take possession of their new vehicles”. The new dealership also includes four Cadillac-dedicated service bays. 

The facility is LEED certified and includes three electric vehicle charging stations — Cadillac says that it is preparing to deliver on “an all-electric future”. 

Roy Foss Motors Ltd. was founded in 1962 and has operated in Woodbridge for 13 years. 

This follows Cadillac’s recent innovation where it launched a digital car shopping experience in Toronto, where consumers can view vehicles from home while interacting with live agents who demonstrate various features. 

Small-Farmed, Locally-Sourced Meal Subscription Box Company partners with Penguin Pickup: truLOCAL, an Ontario-based monthly meat delivery subscription box service that allows customers to choose from a vast assortment of locally-sourced non-GMO, antibiotic-free meats produced on small farms, is partnering with PenguinPickUp to create a network of  pick-up locations specializing in online deliveries. The strategic partnership is anticipated to help bolster truLOCAL’s growth significantly by unlocking the door to GTA-based condo-dwelling consumers with seamless delivery. 


While truLOCAL, a Kitchener-based company, has been growing rapidly across Ontario, delivering directly to GTA condo dwellers has become increasingly challenging for food companies due to ongoing building entry limitations. This is a major hurdle to overcome when you consider more than 20 per cent of the GTA population (roughly 1.2 million people) live in condos, according to Statistics Canada. 


With the partnership, truLOCAL customers can order from and pick up their meat subscription box from one of PenguinPickUp’s convenient and secure, temperature-controlled locations across Ontario once they are notified directly by PenguinPickUp.  truLOCAL and PenguinPickUp serve customers across Canada, however, the initial partnership is exclusive to Ontario at this time.

Maison Ethier Shuttering Montreal Stores Amid Bankruptcy: Quebec-based furniture retailer Maison Ethier is liquidating its two stores in Saint-Basile-le-Grand and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in suburban Montreal after filing for CCAA protection. The Toronto office of Tiger Capital Group is managing the retailer’s liquidation sale which is ongoing. 


In all, about $25 million in inventory is being cleared out, including furniture, mattresses, rugs, accessories and appliances. The retailer has been operating for 35 years. The going-out-of-business sales are being held at 267, boul. Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier, Saint-Basile-le-Grand, and 126, rue Jacques-Cartier Nord, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.

The court has also authorized the addition of millions of dollars of new, special-purchased items offered at liquidation discounts

All items available for purchase at both stores will be available for immediate pickup or delivery. 


Maison Ethier’s flagship store in Saint-Basile-le-Grand includes 150,000 square feet of showroom space and a 70,000-square-foot warehouse. The original showroom and warehouse at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu spans about 75,000 square feet.

“Ecommerce, generational change and the continued expansion of mass-market discount chains pose competitive pressures across North America. We are seeing this everyday and are working hard to help both healthy and distressed retailers adapt to the changes,” said Mark Bannon, Director of Furniture Solutions at Tiger Capital Group.

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Editor-in-Chief of Retail Insider and President/CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton, and consultant to the Retail Council of Canada. 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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