Japanese retailer Uniqlo will open a unique storefront this month in Toronto’s Financial District. The 8,157 square foot space, which will remain open until at least October of 2020, will see a monthly rotation of different items from Uniqlo’s ‘LifeWear’ line.
Uniqlo will locate on the concourse of the retail podium of First Canadian Place, in a retail space formerly occupied by US-based fashion retailer Express. The store opens the morning of Wednesday, October 16 following a renovation of the retail space.
Uniqlo’s LifeWear line includes a range of ultra light down, seamless down, BLOCKTECH, fleece, and flannel, along with jeans and knit items. LifeWear is described by Uniqlo as being “innovative, high-quality clothing that is universal in design and comfort.”
Each month, the First Canadian Place Uniqlo store will see product shift to showcase different “key products,” according to Uniqlo. It’s the first time that Uniqlo has opened such a store in Canada.
The new First Canadian Place store will offer Uniqlo’s ‘All-Product Recycling Initiative’ where customers can drop off gently used Uniqlo clothing in bins for donation to people in need. Uniqlo’s 12 other Canadian stores also provide the opportunity for clothing donations.
Consultancy Beauleigh has been strategizing the retail mix at First Canadian Place, as well as the adjacent retail component of the Exchange Tower. Known for its white marble interiors and glossy marble and stone flooring, First Canadian Place continues to add new retailers and food & beverage concepts under the direction of Beauleigh, which has been working with various retail properties across the country. In May of 2019, a Chatime Atealier opened on the concourse level, providing an elevated experience for the chain known for its bubble tea. In September, a dermatology clinic opened in the centre. This month, fashion retailer Vassi will double in size as it relocates to its new space, and a new concept Forno Cultura will join it. In the first quarter of 2020, Montreal-based women’s fashion retailer Maska Mode will also open at First Canadian Place.
In the adjacent Exchange Tower retail concourse, an elevated Tim Hortons concept store opened to fanfare as it was a first of its kind for the company. Last month, popular food concept Mad Radish opened at the Exchange Tower and last week, a pop-up for Toronto-based women’s fashion concept Thursday’s opened as well. In December, Retail Insider reported that well known French retailer Ladurée will open a 680 square foot location in the Exchange Tower, which will become a draw with features such as grab-and-go coffee and other food items as well as catering and office delivery.
Uniqlo’s First Canadian Place storefront opens after the retailer opened its 12th permanent store at West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton. That store was Uniqlo’s first outside of the greater Toronto and Vancouver markets, and marks a national expansion for Uniqlo that is also expected to soon announce its first location in Montreal.
Uniqlo entered the Canadian market with two stores in Toronto in the fall of 2016. In September of 2016, Uniqlo opened its first Canadian flagship, spanning 33,400 square feet, at CF Toronto Eaton Centre. A 30,000+ square foot Yorkdale Shopping Centre Uniqlo store subsequently opened in October of 2016, in the mall’s Nordstrom-anchored expansion wing. The CF Toronto Eaton Centre flagship recently expanded further by about 4,500 square feet when it added Canada’s first ‘UT’ shop selling the brand’s popular limited edition t-shirts.
Uniqlo’s first store in the BC Lower Mainland opened in October of 2017 at Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby, in a 20,630 two-level space. That was followed by the opening of a 17,900 square foot location at Guildford Town Centre in Surrey in March of 2018, and then with an 11,570 square foot store at CF Richmond Centre in suburban Vancouver.
Uniqlo opened its 10th and 11th Canadian storefronts in the Greater Toronto Area. In March of 2019, the retailer opened a 12,000 square foot store at Oshawa Centre east of Toronto, which was followed by the April opening of a 15,000 square foot location at Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket.
Jeff Berkowitz of brokerage Aurora Realty Consultants is handling Uniqlo’s search for retail space in Canada and negotiated all Canadian lease deals on behalf of the retailer. In September of 2016, Uniqlo Founder and CEO Tadashi Yanai told Marina Strauss of the Globe & Mail (who recently announced her retirement) that Uniqlo could eventually operate as many as 100 stores in Canada.