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Brief: Mexx Re-Entering Canada, Hudson’s Bay Adds Brands

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Mexx Returns to Canada in Walmart Partnership

Dutch fashion brand Mexx has relaunched in Canada after all stores closed in early 2015. This time it’s part of a partnership with Walmart which is stocking the Mexx brand in many Canadian stores as well as at Walmart.ca.

Taking inspiration from working at home and ‘cocooning’, Mexx developed a line of soft, comfortable, stylish fleece separates for women for the holiday season. More Mexx styles will be launched in partnership with Walmart Canada in 2021 including a range of apparel for both men and women. Prices have been kept affordable to keep in line with Walmart’s product offerings.

In March of 2018 we reported that Mexx was planning on re-entering Canada by opening standalone stores in the 2,150-3,230-square-foot range — smaller than Mexx’s former stores which were typically 8,600 to 13,000 square feet in size. That expansion ended up not coming to fruition.

Mexx operated more than 100 stores in Canada before the brand closed up shop in 2015. Mexx was founded in 1986 and Canada became one of the brand’s top markets. When the company went bankrupt in 2014, there were only 11 Mexx stores in the United States.

PHOTO: AVENGERS STATION

Yorkdale Unveiling 25,000-Square-Foot ‘Avengers’ Entertainment Centre Next Week

On Friday November 20 Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre will unveil an Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. themed entertainment centre in the mall. The initiative, launched by Paquin Entertainment Group and Victory Hill Exhibitions, will be open for several months with a first batch of tickets going on sale into January 2021. It’s part of an initiative to drive foot traffic to the mall and is a change from the Mattel family entertainment centre that was announced for the space in July of 2019.  

The multi-room museum-like Avengers experience will be dedicated to the the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ featuring original props and costumes from popular films, including Captain America’s shield, Iron Man’s various suits of armour and Thor’s hammer. Electronic displays will be found throughout the exhibit. Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. has had previous pop-ups in cities around the world including London, Seoul, Paris, Singapore, Beijing, Chongqing and Bangalore. The Toronto installation will be the first to feature a Black Panther exhibit. 

A retail store, which will not require an admission purchase, will feature limited edition items and exclusive merchandise such as limited edition t-shirts, hoodies, jackets, collectable posters, toys and others. Various FUNKO, Beast Kingdom, Hasbro, TY, Diamond Comics toys and graphic novel products will be carried as well as licensed toys, games, action figures, and accessory products. A “very special collaboration with Roots Canada” will also be featured. 

Given record-breaking cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, it’s unclear how much foot traffic the exhibit will get in the coming weeks. The exhibit and retail space will enforce COVID-19 related health and safety protocols including regular cleaning, hand sanitizer stations and limiting the number of guests allowed in at a time.

YORKDALE LEASE PLAN VIA OXFORD PROPERTIES

It’s unclear what will happen to the 25,000-square-foot space at Yorkdale long-term, given that Avengers will occupy the space for a bit over two months. In 2019, Mattel announced that it would be opening its first family entertainment centre in a press release. At the time Mattel didn’t reveal that Yorkdale would be the location for what would have included Barbie, Mega Construx and Hot Wheels brands targeting children ages 4-10 with immersive, hands-on play and entertainment experiences. Mattel was to have opened in the spring of 2020 in partnership with iP2Entertainment which would have brought family game nights, experiential retail and food/beverage options.

It’s also unclear if the Mattel deal is off the table for good — in early 2020 Eataly was said to have been scoping out the 25,000 square foot Yorkdale space after opening its first location at the Manulife Centre in downtown Toronto in November of 2019. Yorkdale’s landlord Oxford Properties was also set to open a National Geographic interactive centre at Square One in Mississauga this year and in the spring, construction signage was spotted by readers.

Exterior of Furla Store at Toronto Premium Outlets. Photo: Jorge Cabrera
Exterior of Furla Store at Toronto Premium Outlets. Photo: Jorge Cabrera

Furla Opens 2nd Canadian Store at Toronto Premium Outlets

Upscale Italian brand Furla has opened its second Canadian storefront at the Toronto Premium Outlets near Toronto. It follows the opening of Furla’s first Canadian store in October of 2019.

The Toronto Premium Outlets location features an assortment of Furla bags and accessories at discounted prices. Furla was founded by the Furlanetto family in 1927, and it continues to remain family-owned. The company produces various product categories that include leather goods such as handbags and shoes, as well as an expanding category of accessories that include eyewear, jewellery, and watches. Furla’s headquarters are in Bologna, Italy, in a historic 18th-century villa. In 2015, the company opened a five-storey tall ‘Palazzo’ in central Milan.

Montreal-based licensee Halcyon Brands is behind the Furla brand expansion in Canada. Jeff Berkowitz of Aurora Realty Consultants negotiated the Toronto Premium Outlets lease and is working on a Canadian store expansion that could see Furla stores in several major Canadian markets. Furla is seeking retail spaces between 1,000 square feet and 1,500 square feet on high streets as well as in major shopping centres.

Mastermind Toys in Hudson's Bay. Photo: David Pike
Mastermind Toys in Hudson’s Bay. Photo: David Pike

Hudson’s Bay Adding Brands and Departments

Hudson’s Bay is making some changes that include adding 35 new brands to its stores this fall/winter. That includes Club Monaco as well as kid-focused showrooms and pop-ups for brands such as Mastermind Toys.

Canadian founded, Ralph Lauren-owned fashion brand Club Monaco has found a presence at Hudson’s Bay stores for the first time. Dedicated Club Monaco departments launched earlier in the month at 21 Hudson’s Bay stores as well as on Hudson’s Bay’s e-commmerce thebay.com.

Men’s and women’s fashions are carried in the stores and online with a focus on comfortable fitting clothing — something more people are buying especially as many are still working from home. That includes hoodies, cashmere sweaters, comfortable pants, and other items Club Monaco has become known for. Club Monaco was founded in 1985 in Toronto and has a storied history in Canada. The brand has stores in Canada as well as in select global markets.

Screenshot of Hudson's Bay website showing Club Monaco offerings.
Screenshot of Hudson’s Bay website showing Club Monaco offerings.

Hudson’s Bay has also introduced baby-focused showrooms at 26 stores across Canada. Items for baby showers, preparing for a first child or upgrading nurseries and other products such as Graco strollers, Bugaboo play cribs, growth and development activities from LeapFrog, nursery furniture, decor, and more. Consumers can buy in-store and have purchases shipped to their homes.

Toronto-based Mastermind Toys has also opened pop-up stores at Hudson’s Bay stores including Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre and CF Sherway Gardens. Both boutiques are about 1,000 square feet and offer Mastermind Toys’ signature gift wrap.

Exterior of new Hugo Boss Store at CF Carrefour Laval. Photo: Hugo Boss
Exterior of new Hugo Boss Store at CF Carrefour Laval. Photo: Hugo Boss

Hugo Boss Opens Standalone Men’s Store in Suburban Montreal

Upscale German fashion brand Hugo Boss has opened a 3,028-square-foot storefront for men at CF Carrefour Laval near Montreal. The store is part of Hugo Boss’ direct-to-consumer push which includes standalone stores as well as an e-commerce site that launched this year.

The Laval Hugo Boss men’s store features general and comfortable seating areas arranged to make the product stand out. Granite flooring is used throughout the space. Digital elements such as the latest brand-related campaign videos and fashion shows will also be prominently displayed on a digital LED screen. The store is located between retailers B2 and La Vie En Rose and is a short walk from the mall’s Harry Rosen store. CF Carrefour Laval is home to several upscale retailers such as Montblanc and Mackage.

Exterior of new Hugo Boss Store at CF Carrefour Laval. Photo: Hugo Boss
Interior of new Hugo Boss Store at CF Carrefour Laval. Photo: Hugo Boss

“The opening of this location was envisioned prior to the onset of the global pandemic shutdown. We are thrilled that we are still able to open as planned with our Fall Collection. The Greater Montreal Area has always been a strong market for the Boss Brand. The Province’s culture and lifestyle is a perfect match with the Brand’s European heritage. We are excited to showcase an enriched, modern assortment curated for the new world, where elegant and smart are blended beautifully with sporty and casual. We are here to serve the community of Laval to dress for success!” Says Endre Pech, Managing Director for Hugo Boss Canada.

Hugo Boss launched its Canadian e-commerce site in August of this year. In September of 2019, Hugo Boss unveiled a Canadian flagship store at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. It replaced a flagship on Toronto’s Bloor Street West which was not performing up to standard according to sources.

Hugo Boss operates stores across the country including the greater Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal markets. The brand also wholesales in retailers across the country including Holt Renfrew, Harry Rosen, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Hudson’s Bay, and others.

Exterior of Reitmans at West Edmonton Mall. Photo: Reitmans
Exterior of Reitmans at West Edmonton Mall. Photo: Reitmans

Reitmans Opens New Store at WEM After Turbulent Year

Canadian women’s apparel and accessories brands Reitmans has opened a new location at West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton. The store is located in a premium spot on the second floor of the mall and features Reitmans’ full range of products in all categories including women’s tops, bottoms, dresses, lingerie, sleepwear and HYBA activewear. Customers can find their styles in inclusive sizes ranging from 0 to 22, XXS to 3X, in Tall, Regular, and Petite.

“We are thrilled to be back at the West Edmonton Mall and to open our fifth store location in Edmonton”, said Jackie Tardif, President of the Reitmans brand. “While we are investing in our online channel to adapt to the rapid growth we have experienced in ecommerce activities over the past few months, we also continue to strategically evolve our brick and mortar network in Canada as we believe in the importance of being rooted in the communities we serve”.

The new 5,200-square-foot Reitmans is designed using a combination of wood elements, with white fixtures to complement the warm wood tones. The store features the La Conciergerie service by appointment, with in-house experts offering one-on-one personalized styling sessions tailored to customers’ needs. The menu of service offerings can be found in the store or online.

This WEM Reitmans opening comes after a difficult year for the brand that saw store closures and bankruptcy.

In May, Reitmans obtained protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to “facilitate its operational, commercial, and financial restructuring” as it reacts to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Shortly thereafter, in June, the brand closed all its women’s Thyme Maternity and Addition Elle stores in the country, as well as chopping its workforce by about 1,100 employees in its retail stores and about 300 employees at its head office in Montreal.

Nordstrom holiday offerings. Image: Nordstrom
Nordstrom holiday offerings. Image: Nordstrom

Nordstrom Canada Invites Customers to Make Merry this Holiday Season

Nordstrom’s 2020 Holiday website launched in October with an optimistic call-to-action that focuses on gift giving, convenient services, and festive experiences (in-store and online) to make the season joyful.

The company encourages customers to “Make Merry” with moments of connection which occur through gift exchanges, expressions of love, and the time we share with family and loved ones throughout the Holiday season. With elevated curbside services — such as Curbside Surprise & Delight and complimentary curbside gift wrapping — to extensive gift guides to an array of holiday events, Nordstrom is rounding off a difficult year in high spirits. New deals will be added to Nordstrom’s offerings daily in the lead up to the holiday season.

To learn more visit nordstrom.ca

Screenshot of new MUJI online store.
Screenshot of new MUJI online store.

MUJI Canada Launches Online Retail in Canada for the 1st Time

Japanese lifestyle brand MUJI has debuted its first online shopping platform for Canadian customers. With the introduction of ecommerce, MUJI’s Canadian customers will have a new and convenient option for ordering MUJI’s home goods, clothing, and other essentials directly to their homes. As part of the initial launch, MUJI Canada’s online store features 250 of the brand’s most popular homeware products, including reusable face masks, 2021 planners, and new gel ink pen colour sets, in addition to 50 items of clothing and accessories. MUJI intends to continue adding stock to the online store in the coming months, with the goal of having MUJI Canada’s entire product line available to order in 2021.

“We are so excited to launch our first ecommerce platform in Canada, and we know that our customers will appreciate having a new way to shop for their favorite MUJI products,” said Toru Akita, President of MUJI Canada. “While we are starting with a limited number of products and shipping to two provinces, we have ambitious plans to bring all of our items to customers across Canada in the near future.”

Currently, shipping is limited to Ontario and British Columbia, but MUJI intends to expand the shipping area in the near future. Customers will also have the option to order online and pick up in-store.

Visit MUJI Canada at www.muji.ca.

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