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Kiehl’s to Shut 1/3 of its Canadian Stores as it Focuses on Ecommerce and Multi-Brand Retail Distribution

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L’Oréal-owned, New York City-based beauty and skin care brand Kiehl’s will be shutting eight of its 24 Canadian stores this year as part of a shift for the company to its online channel, while also beefing up retail partnerships.

As part of the shift, Kiehl’s will increase its focus on its direct-to-consumer online channel at kiehls.ca as well as its retail partnerships that includes distribution at Sephora, Hudson’s Bay, Nordstrom, Holt Renfrew, and Saks Fifth Avenue stores in Canada. We reported in August of 2018 that Kiehl’s had struck a multi-year partnership with multi-brand beauty retailer Sephora, for the first time, greatly expanding Kiehl’s distribution in Canada.

The announcement of the coast-to-coast Kiehl’s store closures come at a time when many other retailers are also evaluating store locations, all with the aim of reducing costs by exiting costly leases. The geographic regions where Kiehl’s stores will close include the Greater Toronto Area, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton, London, and Halifax.

Two standalone Kiehl’s stores in the Greater Toronto Area will close permanently this year. That includes a street front store at 2518 Yonge Street, north of Eglinton Avenue in an affluent part of the city, as well as a Kiehl’s location at the Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket.

The two soon-to-close Montreal stores are located at the CF Carrefour Laval and at Quartier DIX30. In the Vancouver area, the Kiehl’s store at Coquitlam Centre, which opened in August of 2017, will be the only location to close in British Columbia as part of the announcement.

The only standalone Kiehl’s store in London, Ontario, will shutter at CF Masonville. In Edmonton, the West Edmonton Mall Kiehl’s store will close, leaving only one location in the city at Southgate Centre.

Publication Halifax ReTailes, which was first to report on the eight store closures, reported last week that the Kiehl’s location at the Halifax Shopping Centre will be closing permanently.

Kiehl’s will continue to operate 16 locations in Canada. In southern Ontario, Kiehl’s will operate at CF Toronto Eaton Centre, 407 Queen Street West (the first in Canada which opened in 2004), Yorkdale, CF Sherway Gardens, Square One, and Mapleview Centre. In Quebec, Kiehl’s will continue operating one store in downtown Montreal at 760 Ste-Catherine Street West. In the Vancouver area, Kiehl’s stores staying open include a street front store at 1021 Robson Street, Metropolis at Metrotown, CF Richmond Centre, Guildford Centre and at Vancouver International Airport. In Calgary, Kiehl’s has stores at CF Chinook Centre and CF Market Mall, and the Edmonton market will be served by a single unit at the Southgate Centre. Stores at CF Rideau Centre in Ottawa as well as CF Polo Park in Winnipeg will also remain open for the time being.

During the pandemic, Kiehl’s has innovated with the launch of its Kiehl’s Koncierge, which offers personal virtual consultations including real-time live chat and video chat functions. The technology was developed in partnership with Kinetic Commerce, a retail technology and design firm that aims to help retailers unify their digital and physical experience.

In February of 2017, Retail Insider wrote a feature story on Kiehl’s, which at the time, was looking to expand further into Canada. Already, the company had 23 stores and was preparing to announce the Coquitlam Centre location. Interestingly, brand awareness for Kiehl’s was strongest in Western Canada back then, according to the company’s Canadian General Manager, Alexandre Ratté. The Vancouver market in particular was considered to be strong.

In November of last year we reported that L’Oreal was also shutting all of its NYX Cosmetics stores in Canada — the brand entered Canada with a splash in 2015 and was expected to be a huge success with its expansive assortment of colour palettes.

L’Oreal opened the first standalone location for its upscale perfume label Atelier Cologne at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre in the spring of 2018, and it remains the only storefront in this country. Plans were in place to open more than one location in Canada with Vancouver being targeted for a store, as well as downtown Toronto.

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Editor-in-Chief of Retail Insider and President/CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton, and consultant to the Retail Council of Canada. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

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