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BRIEF: All National Sports Stores Shutting, Off-Price Retailer Century 21 Looks to Enter Canada

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1
Canadian Tire to Close National Sports Store Chain Amid New Competition

Photo: National Sports
Photo: National Sports

Canadian Tire announced Thursday that it will shut all 18 of its value-priced National Sports store locations in Canada as part of an effort to become more efficient. It comes as competitors begin to expand, including UK-based JD Sports, which is entering the Canadian market this year.

The 18 National Sports locations are all in Ontario, with most of them occupying space in strip malls and big box centres. The retailer also has a store in downtown Peterborough as well as at the popular Erin Mills Town Centre in Mississauga.

Canadian Tire is making efforts to transition employees of National Sports to other Canadian Tire banners, including Canadian Tire stores, Mark’s, Party City, and sports-focused FGL Group (which operates under banners Sport Chek), Atmosphere, Sports Experts, Pro Hockey Life, and Trio Hockey. Fourth Quarter revenue and profits at Canadian Tire rose significantly with net income totalling $488.8 million ending January 2nd, up from $334.1 million a year earlier. Revenue was $4.87 billion, up from $4.32 billion a year earlier.

Competition in the sporting good retail space is heating up in Canada as French chain Decathlon continues to expand its Canadian operations by opening stores. UK-based JD Sports is also entering the market this year with more details to follow. At the same time, some chains have struggled including former Vancouver-based cooperative MEC, which filed for bankruptcy protection last year and was acquired, as well as Quebec company SAIL which filed and shuttered its Sportium chain of superstores in that province.

Century 21 Logo
Century 21 Logo

2
Retailer ‘Century 21’ Eyes Canadian Expansion Following Summer Bankruptcy

Exterior of Costco location. Photo: Costco
Exterior of Costco location. Photo: Costco

Popular New York City-based off-price retailer Century 21 is reportedly looking to enter the Canadian market amid a global store expansion following its bankruptcy over the summer and the shuttering of all stores. The timeline for the Canadian expansion is unclear as the retailer prepares to open its first new store following the filing in Busan, South Korea.

The Busan Century 21 store will span nine floors and about 100,000 square feet, according to an exclusive report this week in WWD. The store will open in August with a branded facade. It is unclear if Canadian luxury vintage accessory retailer LXRandCo will be part of the mix as was the case with the former Century 21 stores.

Entrepreneurs Al, Ralph, and Sonny Gindi founded Century 21 in New York City in 1961 and the company expanded to multiple locations. After failing to recover disaster insurance, the company filed for bankruptcy over the summer and its remaining stores shut in early December (Century 21 will litigate). The Gindi family and a silent partner bought the intellectual property rights for Century 21 in November for USD $9 million with plans to revive the concept. Industry veteran, Marc Benitez, has been appointed President of the new company and will spearhead the expansion.

According to the WWD report, Mr. Benitez said that Century 21 is targeting Canada, China, Hong Kong, Europe, Australia, and South America for stores in the coming years. An expansion into the United States is also planned at the “right time” with a Manhattan flagship being part of the mix, either on 34th Street or in the Times Square area. It has not yet been established what the company’s real estate strategy might be in terms of choosing locations for Canadian storefronts.

3
Costco Shuts In-Store Photo Departments

Seattle-based large-format membership club Costco shut all of its in-store photo departments last weekend and is now directing costumers to its photo services still available online. Customers are no longer able to get passport photos, ink refills, photo restoration service, or video transfer service in-store.

Online, the Costco website offers home/office delivery of photo/metal/acrylic prints, enlargements, posters, stationery, photo greeting cards, canvas, photo books, calendars, and business printing, among other services.

Changes to Costco’s offerings reflect changing technologies amid a new digital age. Costco has 102 stores in Canada with a highest per capita penetration in Alberta. The company’s annual sales in Canada surpassed $28.5 billion last year, with 13 million square feet of space and 34,000 employees.

4
Amazon and Global Optimism Announce Addition of 20 New Signatories to The Climate Pledge

Aura at College Park. Photo: Aura at College Park
Aura at College Park. Photo: Aura at College Park

Amazon and Global Optimism have announced the addition of 20 new signatories to The Climate Pledge. Coming from all over the world, they include: ACCIONA, Colis Prive, Cranswick plc, Daabon, FREE NOW, Generation Investment Management, Green Britain Group, Hotelbeds, IBM, Iceland Foods, Interface, Johnson Controls, MiiR, Ørsted, Prosegur Cash, Prosegur Compañia de Seguridad, Slalom, S4Capital, UPM, and Vanderlande.

With the addition of the new signatories, 53 companies across 18 industries and 12 countries have committed to working toward net-zero carbon in their worldwide businesses — which in aggregate has the potential to significantly reduce corporate carbon emissions. The 20 new signatories represent diverse economic sectors, ranging from energy to agricultural and financial services, and although each organization is at a different stage in its journey to net-zero carbon emissions, all are committed to The Climate Pledge’s ambitious goal of meeting the Paris Agreement 10 years early.

Signatories to The Climate Pledge agree to:

• Measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis.

• Implement decarbonization strategies in line with the Paris Agreement through real business changes and innovations, including efficiency improvements, renewable energy, materials reductions, and other carbon emission elimination strategies.

• Neutralize any remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable, real, permanent, and socially beneficial offsets to achieve net-zero annual carbon emissions by 2040 — a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement’s goal of 2050.

Each company is implementing science-based, high-impact changes to its business to help decarbonize the value chain, including innovating in circular economy, deploying clean energy solutions, and mobilizing supply chains to reach net-zero by 2040.

“As the U.S. takes an important step forward in the fight against climate change by officially rejoining the Paris Agreement this week, I am excited to welcome 20 new companies to The Climate Pledge who want to go even faster,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO.

5
Former Hard Candy Gym Space in Toronto for Sale

Map of the 4th floor of Aura at College Park. Image: Cushman and Wakefield
Map of the 4th floor of Aura at College Park. Image: Cushman and Wakefield

On behalf of Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation No. 2421 & 2446, Cushman and Wakefield has announced the sale and lease opportunity for the 4th floor retail space within the Podium at Aura Condos, located at 382 Yonge Street in Toronto.

The Property provides the investor, user, or tenant with an opportunity to acquire and/or occupy a vacant 40,000-square-foot existing retail unit, intended for fitness and wellness concepts, in one of the country’s most densely populated and rapidly-growing urban areas.

Located right at the corner of Yonge and Gerrard Streets, the unit was formerly well known for Madonna’s Hard Candy Fitness, Later Crunch Fitness. The space hosts 19-foot-high ceilings and windows and includes unit 1, level 2 of Toronto Standard Condominium Plan No. 2421. The purchasing price is set at $22,000,000.00, with additional rent estimated at $10.50 per square foot. Available for demise and/or reconfiguration for either a purchaser or leasee, the 4th floor unit is located in the same retail podium and shares the same elevator bank as Marshalls (3rd floor), Bed Bath and Beyond (2nd floor), RBC, BMO (ground floor).

Aura is currently the tallest residential building in Canada, at 79 stories with over 1,000 units and not only does this part of Downtown Toronto capture the highest population density in Canada, it also arguably defines the country’s flagship retail epicentre, featuring some of the best brands in the world.

Retail Insider recently reported on SIR Royalty Income Fund‘s announcement regarding the closure of all three restaurants within the Aura centre — Scaddabush Italian Kitchen & Bar, Reds Midtown Tavern, and a Duke’s Refresher & Bar. Given the current operating environment and uncertain future prospects, SIR decided to exercise its options and return the property to the landlord.

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