You can now buy a Louis Vuitton bag at La Maison Simons for the first time, though the bag won’t be new. Simons has partnered with two second-hand luxury retailers to carry a selection of merchandise in the Edito departments in four Simons stores as well as on Simons.ca.
SIMONS PARTNERSHIP WITH LXRANDCO & VSP CONSIGNMENT IS FIRST FOR CANADIAN RETAILER
Simons struck a partnership with luxury resellers LXRandCO and VSP Consignment on the initiative, which last week saw new collections rolled out at Simons’ stores at Place Ste-Foy in Quebec City, downtown Montreal, Square One in Mississauga, and at CF Rideau Centre in Ottawa.
Bag and accessory brands carried at those Simons stores as well as online include Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada, Hermès, and others. Women’s apparel brands include names such as Versace, Sonia Rykiel, John Galliano, Miu Miu, Saint Laurent, and Jean Paul Gaultier, among others.
Prices for some of the products found online are still in some instances into the thousands of dollars. An orange Hermès Birkin bag is priced at $18,995, while a Louis Vuitton ‘Sac Shopping’ can be had for $1,495. Some of the designer apparel is more reasonably priced. A vintage Oscar de la Renta dress is priced at $395, a Sonia Rykiel lace-up dress is priced at $295, and a Christian Lacroix jacket can be had for $375 on the website, for example.
Publicly traded LXRandCo was founded in Montreal in 2012 and operates concession spaces in Canada at 11 Hudson’s Bay stores in the Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Winnipeg markets. In the United States, LXRandCo operates locations at 11 Century 21 store locations — all are set to close with the recent bankruptcy of Century 21 which will result in its stores shuttering this fall.
VSP Consignment, which operates a physical store in Toronto as well as an e-commerce site, was founded in 2013. The retailer describes itself as the only large-scale resale company in Canada for luxury/premium fashion, with a ’sister store’ in Calgary called Vespucci which spans more than 10,000 square feet. For Simons, VSP Consignment curated an archive of fashions from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and early 2000s.
INTRODUCTION OF VINTAGE APPAREL PART OF SIMONS ECO-FRIENDLY INITIATIVE
The introduction of vintage clothing and accessories is part of an eco push on the part of Simons, which is on trend. Some brands carried at Simons have an eco-slant as part of the retailer’s ‘Vision’ initiative including products with recycled fibres, organic cotton and linen, natural dyes and other characteristics. CEO Peter Simons said in 2018 that he wanted to make his stores ‘net zero’ in terms of energy usage, which was first achieved with the retailer’s Galeries de la Capitale unit in Quebec City. Electric car charging stations were also installed in stores such as the Londonderry Mall Simons unit which opened in 2017.
The Edito departments at Simons stores were already known for carrying luxury brands, none of which were second-hand. Big names at Edito include Balmain, Moschino, Chloé, Dries Van Noten, Issey Miyake, Marni, McQueen, Nina Ricci, Vivienne Westwood, and others. In the spring of 2020, Simons was said to have had issues with credit insurance for deliveries and as a result, designer merchandise from Edito departments was moved online for clearance. As of this week, new designer products appear to have been added online at Simons.ca for the fall.
Simons was in a challenging financial situation which was made worse by store closures due to COVID-19. Peter Simons said in the summer that the retailer had regained profitability and that vendors would be paid on time. Among other challenges included Simons losing Canada Goose as a brand, with Simons selling millions of dollars of the pricey parkas annually.
The Quebec City-based large format fashion retailer is unique in the way it does business. Stores across Canada are architecturally unique and are unlike anything in North America. The majority of products carried in Simons’ stores are in-house labels, while the retailer also carries a range of mid-priced and luxury brands.
The ‘high-low’ shopping environment is said to result in higher sales for the in-house brands — after seeing a pair of $1,000 pants, the $79 version looks much more appealing for many. Carrying luxury brands also elevates Simons in the eyes of consumers, and there’s no retailer like it in the United States.
Simons was founded in Quebec City in 1840 and operates 15 stores across the country. Its first store outside of Quebec opened in October of 2012 at West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton. Simons now operates stores in the Vancouver market (Park Royal in West Vancouver), Edmonton (West Edmonton Mall and Londonderry Mall), Calgary (The CORE), Toronto (Square One in Mississauga), Ottawa (CF Rideau Centre and Promenades Gatineau), Montreal (downtown, Galeries d’Anjou, CF Carrefour Laval, Promenades St-Bruno), Sherbrooke (Carrefour de l’Estrie), and Quebec City (Place Ste-Foy, Galeries de la Capital and a standalone unit in Old Quebec City).
Stores average about 100,000 square feet and feature fashions for men, women and kids as well as for the home. A limited selection of footwear is available in stores — and unlike a department store, Simons lacks beauty departments.