BRIEF: Asian Grocer Entering Canada, Hermes Readies Vancouver Flagship, Innisfree Opens 1st Store

Asian Grocery Chain Enters Canada with Plans for Up to 15 Stores in 3 Years

Chinese grocery chain Sungiven Foods is expanding into Canada this winter by opening three stores in the Vancouver area. The company’s Canadian senior vice president Terence Fong told BIV that Sungiven Foods Canada plans to add between 10 and 15 stores in the country over the next three years. 

Sungiven Foods Canada Inc. is a subsidiary of Xiamen Sungiven Foods Holdings Ltd., based in Xiamen, China. The company operates more than 90 stores in China, most being in Xiamen. The company’s Canadian head office was opened earlier this year in Burnaby.

This winter, Sungiven Foods will open three stores in the Vancouver area, including a store at the City Square Mall near Vancouver City Hall, as well as a storefront in the city’s West Side/Kitsilano area (3301 W. Broadway) as well as a store on the 4000 block of East Hastings Street near the corner of Gilmore Street in Burnaby. City Square, which was sold last year for $225 million, lost its 25,000 square foot Safeway anchor store as part of the grocery chain’s restructuring that saw many former locations converted to FreshCo nameplates. 

Despite intense competition in the market from major grocers such as Loblaw, Sobeys and Walmart, not to mention Loblaw-owned Asian grocery chain T&T Supermarket, Sungiven’s VP told BIV that he felt there was room for Sungiven Foods in Canada. It’s unclear if its expansion will include other Canadian provinces, and competition will no doubt be fierce as the big players introduce same-day home delivery and other innovations meant to create convenience amid industry and consumer shifts. 

Retail Insider repeatedly left voicemails and messages for Terence Fong last week, and we have not yet heard back. We’ll update this story if we do. 

Longo’s Opens 1st Small-Format Grab & Go Storefront at Canada’s Busiest Subway Station

Toronto-based grocery chain Longo’s recently opened a unique meal-kit and grab-and-go focused concept on the concourse level of the Hudson’s Bay Centre in Toronto. Called ‘Pronto Eats’, the intimate 1,000 square foot space houses offerings geared towards commuters at the busy Yonge-Bloor subway station which sees more than 200,000 daily passengers. Included are ready-to-eat items such as salads and sandwiches as well as meal kits, which is something Longo’s has been pushing in its stores including its Maple Leaf Square flagship that was featured recently in Retail Insider. Hudson Bay Centre’s leasing is handled by Beauleigh Retail Consultants Inc.

The new Longo’s Pronto Eats is also the first Longo’s location to go cashless, which is part of an effort to streamline the purchase process. The store accepts debit and credit cards as well as Apple Pay. Customers can order food through Ritual or Grocery gateway for same-day pickup at the new Hudsons’ Bay Centre storefront. As part of an effort to reduce single-use plastics, the store has a ‘Take it Back’ program where customers can return used used plastics for recycling. 

A cafe serving coffee is located at the back of the store. Two more Pronto Eats locations will open this fall in Toronto’s Liberty Village area, as well as north of Toronto in the community of East Gwillimbury, according to the retailer. 

Last week, it was announced that $500-million was earmarked for an overhaul of Toronto’s Bloor-Yonge TTC subway station. 

First Passen Lounge to Pop Up at Oshawa Centre

State-of-the-art digital measurement platform Passen will open a pop-up Passen Lounge at Oshawa Centre, east of Toronto, from September 12-22nd. Visitors will be able to create their own 3D profile to create the ‘best fit’ in clothing. Passen says that its digital fitting room technology is the future of fashion retail where customer measurements are scanned and kept on file, and can be used to determine if a garment will fit based on measurements. 

It will be Passen’s first public showcase of its Passen Lounge concept, which is expected to be rolled out nationally as the company negotiates deals with landlords. Retail Insider featured an article on Passen in the spring of this year showcasing the technology. 

Passen partnered with a denim event at Oshawa Centre called Rebelle Rebelle for the pop-up. In early January, Passen will showcase its next lounge location at Square One in Mississauga. 

“Our mandate is to increase brand sales, reduce waste from returns, and to provide a fun, memorable, and valuable consumer experience,” says Passen in a release. 

Innisfree Opens 1st Canadian Storefront

Photo: Innisfree (Yorkdale)

South Korean ‘naturalism-oriented’ cosmetic brand Innisfree has opened its first Canadian storefront at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. A second location will open soon at CF Toronto Eaton Centre as the company kicks off its Canadian store expansion that will soon also include stores in the Vancouver area.

The 2,500 square foot Yorkdale Innisfree is located in the mall’s Nordstrom-anchored expansion wing across from Uniqlo and Muji’s large stores, and near other beauty and fragrance brands. L’Oreal-owned French fragrance brand Atelier Cologne is located next to Innisfree with Israel-based Laline being one storefront over. Across from Laline is a newly rebranded location for ‘Nature Collection’, a VDL-owned Korean beauty chain that was formerly known as ‘The Face Shop’. 

Innisfree partnered with brokerage CBRE for its Canadian stores expansion. The Yorkdale Innisfree lease deal was negotiated by Arlin Markowitz and Selina Tao. In Vancouver, CBRE’s Martin Moriarty and Mario Negris are handling negotiations in that part of the country as Innisfree prepares to enter British Columbia. 

Innisfree operates hundreds of stores globally and is part of the Seoul-based AmorePacific Corporation, which features 33 health, beauty and personal brands under its corporate umbrella. AmorePacific launched the Innisfree brand in 2002 and it now has stores in Asia, Australia and it recently expanded into the United States where it currently operates seven stores, with more to come. 

Hermes to Open Massive Vancouver Flagship Friday, September 13


French luxury brand Hermes will unveil its second large-format flagship concept in Canada this month with a new storefront at 717 Burrard Street. The store will span about 6,000 square feet over two levels with a similar amount of retail space as the Toronto Hermes flagship at 100 Bloor Street West that opened in November of 2017 (the Toronto flagship is housed in a leased space of nearly 13,000 square feet, including back-of-house and offices). 

Hermes’ investment in Vancouver signals confidence in the market, which has seen luxury flagships open to cater to affluent locals and tourists. Some of the luxury stores in the nearby Alberni Street ‘luxury zone’ see astronomical sales numbers, though some have said sales have softened a bit over the past year. 

The Hermes lease deal was negotiated by CBRE Vancouver under the guidance of Mario Negris and Martin Moriarty

The current 2,300 square foot Hermes location at 755 Burrard Street will be closed with the opening of the new two-level flagship at the southwest corner of Burrard Street and West Georgia Street. Cartier will replace Hermes after its parent company Richemont purchased the retail strata several years ago. Hermes will also be opening a new storefront this year on the ground level of the overhauled ‘Holt Renfrew Ogilvy’ in Montreal, and sources have said that a Toronto Yorkdale location could be in the works for the mall’s highly productive Holt Renfrew flagship. 

Canada Goose and Mackage Opens at West Edmonton Mall

Image: Canada Goose at West Edmonton Mall

Further to last weeks report on West Edmonton Mall in Retail Insider, Canada Goose and Mackage have opened units in North America’s largest shopping centre. The Mackage store reflect’s the brand’s beautiful store design that includes black marble that contrasts with warm woods. The store showcases Mackage’s fall/winter 2019/20 outerwear and fashion collections for both men and women, as well as accessories. 

Canada Goose also opened a 5,000 square foot store nearby, and is the second in Canada to feature a ‘cold room’ where visitors can test jackets in -25 degree temperatures (Edmonton’s ‘cold room’ is larger than the one in the Montreal flagship). Both Mackage and Canada Goose are located on the second level of the main run of West Edmonton Mall, which includes luxury brands Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co. as well as upscale retailers such as Coach and Michael Kors. UNTUCKit also recently opened nearby on the upper-level main run, and Matt & Nat is set to open nearby as well. 

Oberfeld Snowcap negotiated the UNTUCKit and Matt and Nat deals at West Edmonton Mall. Jeff Berkowitz of Aurora Realty Consultants negotiated the Mackage deal.

Canada Goose operates five stores in Canada including locations at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Montreal on Ste-Catherine Street, Calgary’s CF Chinook Centre, Vancouver’s CF Pacific Centre. Two more will open soon at CF Sherway Gardens in Toronto as well as at the Cascade Shops in Banff, Alberta. Sources say that Canada Goose will announce a storefront at CF Toronto Eaton Centre in a retail space currently occupied by Apple, which will relocate downstairs into a substantially larger retail space this fall/winter. 

Peloton Secures Permanent Mink Mile storefront


New York City-based fitness company Peloton, known particularly for its luxury stationary bicycles that live-stream spin classes, has relocated its Bloor Street location in Toronto into a more permanent space. Peloton opened its first Canadian location at 130 Bloor Street West in a space formerly occupied by Hermes in October of 2018 which was intended to be a pop-up. The new storefront has opened at 151 Bloor Street West and the deal was negotiated by Arlin Markowitz  of CBRE Toronto. 

In Canada, Peloton has six retail spaces in shopping centres in Ontario and Alberta. That includes Greater Toronto locations including Bloor Street, Yorkdale Shopping Centre, CF Sherway Gardens and Square One in Mississauga. In Alberta, Peloton showrooms are located at West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton and at CF Chinook Centre in Calgary. At least one Vancouver location is said to be under negotiation, with details to follow. 

Foodtastic Acquires Quebec-Based Chocolato

Chocolato (Image: L2 CONSTRUCTION)

Foodtastic Inc., the Quebec-based franchisor of several marquee restaurant concepts, recently acquired Quebec-based Chocolato. Chocolato is known for its 20 dipping choices made from 100% pure high-quality chocolate, and it also serves dessert pizzas, fondues, handmade chocolates, drinking chocolate, ice cream and gelato, as well as other sweets. The first Chocolato opened on boulevard du Versant-Nord, in Sainte-Foy (Québec) in August 2015. There are now 22 locations in Quebec that include stand-alone stores, mall kiosks and express counters.

Foodtastic operates 58 restaurants under 11 banners, including Au Coq, La Belle et La Boeuf, Monza, Carlos & Pepe’s, Souvlaki Bar, Nickels, Vinnie Gambini, Blossom, Gatto Matto and Bacaro Pizzeria, as well as Big Rig Brewery and Big Rig Restaurants (Big Rig), which it added to its portfolio earlier this summer.

Founded by entrepreneurs Peter Mammas, Lawrence Mammas and Jacques Gaspo, Foodtastic is a leader in the restaurant franchising business with $125 million in annualized sales. Its recent growth is fuelled by a $47-million investment in December 2018 from Restaurant Royalty Partners and the Chocolato acquisition is part of Foodtastic’s vision to accelerate growth through new and existing brands. Foodtastic is working with Tony Flanz of Think Retail for its Canadian expansion except in the Quebec market, where Richard Gareau is working with the company. David Cantor of Cantor Realty Corp. is representing the brand for Ottawa.

Chick-fil-A Opening 1st Canadian Location Friday

Chick-fil-A at Yonge & Bloor (Image: Craig Patterson)

Popular US-based chicken-focused restaurant concept Chick-fil-A will officially open its first Canadian location on Friday at 709 Yonge Street at the corner of Hayden Street in Toronto’s Bloor-Yorkville Area. The corner retail space is part of the First Capital Realty-owned 1 Bloor East mixed-use complex that is anchored by Nordstrom Rack and a McEwan grocery store

Chick-fil-A occupies about 4,400 square feet of retail space on the ground floor of the Yonge/Hayden intersection, offering exposure to thousands of pedestrians and vehicles daily. It’s also connected to Canada’s busiest subway station. Michael Calderone and Bryce Dymond of Urban Reform Realty Inc. Brokerage represented Chick-fil-A in the lease deal with First Capital Realty with Eric Sherman negotiating the deal on behalf of the landlord. 

The restaurant chain is the third largest American fast-food restaurant and it’s growing quickly. The company is headquartered in College Park, Georgia, and was founded as the ‘Dwarf Grill’ in 1946 prior to changing its name to Chick-fil-A in 1967. The company operates more than 2,300 restaurants in the US and is planning a significant cross-Canada expansion as it gains brand awareness. 

We got a chance this week to sample the menu and see the expansive space which was built by BUILD IT by Design. We learned that most Chick-fil-A locations are franchised and that most franchisees only operate one location. A cross-Canada expansion is expected for Chick-fil-A after testing the waters in the Greater Toronto Area.



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