BRIEF: Another Aussie Retailer to Enter Canada, Alberta Liquor Retailer Placed into Receivership

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Australian Stationery Retailer “Smiggle” Plans to Expand to Canada in Late 2019: Known for their bright and colourful pens, pencils, notebooks, erasers, and backpacks (to name a few), Australian stationery retailer, Smiggle, is looking to expand their business to Canada later this year.  According to an article from RetailNews, the Canadian launch will give the brand crucial exposure to a “key North American market”.

Smiggle is the latest Australian brand looking to make the transcontinental transition to Canada.  Australian brands appear to be gravitating towards Canada; brands like Bailey Nelson (eyewear) and Forever New (womenswear) are working on establishing their Canadian presences.  Retail Insider recently reported on Silk Laundry opening their first storefront on Montréal.  Beauty brand Aesop, founded in Melbourne, has a handful of brick-and-mortar stores as well as wholesale accounts with retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue and Holt Renfrew, with plans this year for stores in Calgary and Ottawa.  Similarly, popular Australian sunglass brand, Quay Australia, can be found in stores like Nordstrom in Canada.

In addition to Canada, Smiggle intends to expand into more international markets like South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates.  Smiggle will partner with Amazon Europe to make their product line available in France, Italy, Germany, and Spain; they are also in talks with Alibaba to further expand their e-commerce presence.

Danish Accessories Brand “PILGRIM” To Open 1st Pop-Up in Canada at Quartier Dix30: Just in time for Mother’s Day, Danish accessories brand PILGRIM will pop-up at Quartier Dix30, suite 160 from May 7th – May 19th. This is the first ever pop-up in Canada for the brand.  Canadians can browse their collection of jewellery, watches, sunglasses, and can also build a personalized necklace at the Charm Bar.

PILGRIM has operated in Europe since 1983; their products have been available in Canada for the last two years and are sold in 71 countries worldwide.  ‘’The pop-up is meant to give our Canadian clientele an authentic in-store experience. We want them to try our products and really be immersed into the Pilgrim world. ‘’ – Roxane Champagne-Duval, VP and co-owner of Pilgrim North America.

The brand will be expanding their Canadian retail distribution; their products will soon be available at the Hudson’s Bay in Yorkdale Shopping Centre.  Additionally, one can shop the PILGRIM range on their Canadian e-commerce platform, and at Canadian retailers like: La Maison Simons, Addition-Elle, SwimCo, and Indigo.  The company also has over 300 stockists across the country.

Is the pop-up indicative that PILGRIM will open permanent stores in Canada?  

Three Retail Spaces Come Available in Toronto’s Yorkville: Arlin Markowitz, Alex Edmison, Jackson Turner, and Teddy Taggart of brokerage CBRE are listing three prime new retail spaces in Toronto’s upscale Yorkville area. All three are located near the intersection of Avenue Road and Yorkville Avenue.

A 1,131 square foot space at 135 Yorkville Avenue is located next to upscale and edgy retailer CNTRBND across from the Yorkville Avenue entrance to Yorkville Village and the five-star Hazelton Hotel. The highly visible space is steps away from Chanel, Christian Louboutin, Off-White and Kiton, as well as a recently opened Brunello Cucinelli store and soon-to-open Versace and Stone Island.

A 2,550 square foot retail space on the second floor of a mixed-use building at 200 Cumberland Avenue is available. The tower above features some of the neighbourhood’s most expensive condominium units that will be occupied soon, including several full-floor units with a penthouse assessed at about $30-million, according to the developer.

A 2,708 square foot ground-level retail space at 21 Avenue Road, which is divisible, is also at the base of a new tower development. It boasts frontage onto Avenue Road with more than 22,000 pedestrians and 23,000 vehicles passing by daily. Nearby restaurants include Morton’s Steakhouse, Cibo Wine Bar, and Il Posto.

Toronto’s Yorkville area continues to transform with new retailers being added. The area will continue to see increased foot traffic with the addition of Eataly at the Manulife Centre, a 25,000 square foot Apple Store at 1 Bloor Street West, and the renovation and expansion of Holt Renfrew’s Bloor Street flagship store.

For more information on any of these three listings, contact Arlin Markowitz at: 416-815 2374 or

IKEA Expands Task Rabbit Services to Calgary and Edmonton Locations: The true test of strength in any relationship is how well you work together while assembling IKEA furniture.  Now you can sit back with a drink and a snack and watch as an IKEA TaskRabbit does the work for you! The Swedish furniture giant announced that they have expanded their partnership with TaskRabbit to their Calgary and Edmonton Stores. 

TaskRabbit is an on-demand network connecting users with “Taskers” to perform everyday home improvement tasks.  IKEA acquired the service in September 2017 to further elevate their service and maintain their competitive edge in the market.  Shoppers in Calgary and Edmonton can now take advantage of their in-home assembly and mounting services.  Furniture can be assembled in-home, as early as the day after purchasing; services are priced as a flat rate per type of furniture and start at $32.

Following the acquisition by IKEA, Canada is TaskRabbit’s first new country market and is also available in Toronto and Vancouver.  Shoppers looking to employ IKEA’s TaskRabbit services can click here, or receive a no-obligation quote from an IKEA co-worker in-store.  

Nordstrom Launches Men’s Fashion Collaboration With “” Available at CF Pacific Centre Location: Nordstrom has teamed up with Japanese publishing house,, to curate a selection of collectible vintage pieces by designers like Helmut Lang and Raf Simons.  The limited-run pop-up will be showcased at the Nordstrom in Vancouver’s CF Pacific Centre until May 30th, 2019. It will also be shown at the Nordstrom Men’s Store in New York City as well as Nordstrom’s Downtown Seattle flagship.  

The collaboration with is the third in a series of projects entitled “New Concepts” by Sam Lobban, Vice President of Men’s Fashion for Nordstrom.  Previous “Concepts” include 001: Out Cold, and 002: Dior.  “I’m a longtime fan of both Helmut Lang and Raf Simons, and it was Raf’s fall 2005 collection that first introduced me to the world of designer menswear. It connected with me personally and had an enduring effect on my style,” said Lobban. “I love the idea that through’s books, and now Concept 003, we can make these pieces accessible to everyone where previously they were reserved for just a few.”

Some special pieces included in the curated selection are: a fishtail coat from Raf Simons’ fall 2005 collection as well as a David Bowie top from the 90s; a painted denim jacket from 1996 by Helmut Lang.  During this pop-up, Nordstrom will exclusively launch 1986 – 2005, a two-volume digest that details the work of Helmut Lang, published by

A recent report in WWD states that Vancouver’s Nordstrom store is now a top performer in the entire company (with revenue rumoured to be somewhere in the $300-million range annually).

Alberta-Based Liquor Retailer Placed Into Receivership: According to an article from Insolvency Insider, Solo Liquor Stores (based in Calgary, AB) was placed in receivership on May 1st, 2019.  Solo Liquor Stores was founded in 1996 and grew to become the largest private liquor retailer in Alberta, and the company held more than 40 locations across the province. 

The application was filed with the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, with the company owing approximately $29.5 million.  The article states that Solo Liquor Stores experienced substantial cash flow issues for a number of months and defaulted on their loans to ATB Financial and Crown Capital.  In accordance to an agreement with ATB, Eight Capital was brought in to run a sales process for the business but it did not result in a transaction.

In order to recoup the projected losses in an efficient and cost-effective approach, ATB decided to appoint a receiver.  The Court approved FTI Consulting Canada’s appointment as receiver. [Insolvency Insider Website]

Retail expert and consultant, Julia Marchionda, is a graduate from both the University of Toronto and Humber College. She spent most of her educational career honing her skills in critical thinking, marketing communications, and finding her unique voice in her writing. With tenures in several areas of retail under her belt, Julia has lead teams in achieving sales goals and allowed herself to become consumed in understanding retail business.  

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