1Japanese Variety Retailer Daiso to Enter Canada with Corporate Stores
Popular value-priced Japanese variety retailer Daiso is expanding into Canada this year with its first corporate store set to open this spring in downtown Vancouver. It’s part of a national store rollout for Daiso in Canada which signals a positive outlook for brick-and-mortar retail generally.
Daiso’s first corporately-owned Canadian store will open at 810 Granville Street, a few doors south of Robson Street, in a 4,700-square-foot space formerly occupied by books and gift retailer ‘Indigo Spirit’. CBRE Vancouver’s Urban Retail Team negotiated the lease deal under the guidance of Mario Negris, Nolan Toigo, and Martin Moriarty.
In Canada, Daiso once had a franchised store that operated for years at the Aberdeen Centre in the Vancouver suburb of Richmond. That store was converted to an Oomomo nameplate last year as that Vancouver-based Japanese variety retailer continues with its own store expansion throughout Canada.
Daiso will compete with a range of similar variety retailers that have entered the Canadian market in recent years including Miniso, Mumuso, Yoyoso, Ximivogue, and others. They are competing for market share carrying a range of household goods, clothing, jewellery, cosmetics and beauty products, toys, and other small goods. Other chains continue to expand which means Canada could see a saturation point in the coming years. At the same time, Chinese retailer Miniso has closed many of its Canadian stores amid controversy.
2Montecristo Jewellers to Open Store in Vancouver’s Downtown ‘Luxury Zone’
Vancouver-based multi-brand luxury jeweller Montecristo has begun construction on a new store in a prime location in Vancouver’s ‘Luxury Zone’. The store at 1037 Alberni Street replaces the Italian Kitchen restaurant that relocated nearby in 2017.
The space has sat empty since then, and Montecristo Jewellers is said to have secured the lease while letting the space sit vacant for nearly four years. CBRE’s Vancouver Urban Properties Group, under the direction of Mario Negris and Martin Moriarty, negotiated the deal.
Montecristo jewellers was founded by entrepreneur, Pasquale Casano, in 1978 with a storefront at Victoria Drive and East 41st Avenue. Rolex became an important brand a year later. The company eventually opened a flagship store at 852 W. Hastings Street at the corner of Hornby Street in a heritage building. The retailer operates a storefront at the busy Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby. An Oakridge Centre location recently shuttered for the mall redevelopment, and that location was recently replaced with a storefront at CF Richmond Centre.
Brands carried at Montecristo’s flagship include Breguet, Blancpain, Corum, Glashutte, Harry Winston, Longines, Omega, Mikimoto, Roberto Coin, Wellendorf, and others. Rolex and Bulgari were once carried in the store before both brands opened downtown storefronts (Bulgari’s being inside of Holt Renfrew). The Metrotown location carries Pomellato and Bulgari and the CF Richmond Centre store features a Rolex area.
Montecristo will compete with Birks which operates a storefront at the southeast corner of Hastings and Granville Streets, and expanded in 2019 by opening standalone Graff and Patek Philippe boutiques in the Luxury Zone on W. Georgia Street. Various mono-brand jewellery boutiques are located in the Alberni Street Luxury Zone including Tiffany & Co. and Hublot, with Cartier to join them later this year.
In March of 2019, the South China Morning Post reported that Montecristo Jewellers would have to pay a significant tax bill after it was found that the retailer was helping international visitors avoid paying sales tax by classifying certain sales as “exports” by arranging delivery to customers at Vancouver International Airport before boarding flights out the country. The scheme was attributed for about 30 percent of sales with as many as 300 annual deliveries.
Pasquale Casano also owns a third of Toronto-based beauty brand Deciem, whose founder Brandon Truaxe died tragically in January of 2019. Casano’s ownership is being sold to Estée Lauder according to an exclusive report on Tuesday in WWD — beauty Behemoth Estée Lauder owned a third of the company and announced a bid for the entirety of Deciem, which has stores in the Toronto and Vancouver markets as well as in selected global markets.
3Rabba Opens a Paramount Butcher Counter in Mississauga
Rabba Fine Foods describes it as a “scaled-down version” of a Paramount restaurant, featuring take-home menu items from the Middle Eastern restaurant chain. It also includes Halal poultry and deli options, complemented by an assortment of Paramount dips and spreads.
“Our business is in a constant state of flux and we’re happy to find in Paramount Fine Foods a partner that is nimble and, at the same time, committed to quality products and service,” said Rabba Fine Foods CEO Rick Rabba. “We’re determined to help our customers in whatever way we can and expanding this partnership with Paramount is an example of that commitment.”
In 2012, Paramount launched its Paramount Butcher Shop division and serious expansion began throughout North America in 2015, followed by entry into the Middle Eastern and European markets in 2016. It describes its offering as a blend of “premium cut meats to go with premium quality restaurant recipes from the Paramount Fine Foods restaurants”.
Retail Insider reported in December that Rabba and Paramount were partnering to open a prepared food offering called Rabba Kitchen — By Paramount in Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood. The company said it plans to roll out the concept in other stores in the near future.
4RW&CO. Spring 2021 Campaign Features CBC Dragons, Small Businesses, and a Partnership with TED
Canadian retailer RW&CO. is celebrating the beauty and resilience of the entrepreneurial spirit with its new Spring 2021 campaign.
Manjit Minhas and Lane Merrifield of CBC’s Dragons’ Den helm the campaign as mentors alongside 13 entrepreneurs from coast to coast. Furthering their commitment to community and innovation, the brand is also debuting a content hub in partnership with global organization, TED. The collection launched on February 22, 2021 in all RW&CO. stores across Canada and online at rw-co.com.
RW&CO. Spring 2021 “Ready to Reimagine”: The Future is Bright
This season, RW&CO. is paying tribute to local entrepreneurs who are daring to reimagine and reinvent their businesses for today’s realities. Supporting innovation, quality, and community has always been integral to RW&CO., so sharing its platform with other businesses was a natural fit.
“There is no better time to lead with purpose, test passion-driven concepts, inspire with creativity, and empower with community,” says Michele Slepekis, VP of Marketing at RW&CO. This is an initiative near and dear to the proudly Canadian brand – after all, RW&CO. started as a small, family-run Quebec venture too.
Manjit Minhas and Lane Merrifield are sharing the spotlight with 13 other Canadian founders including:
- Liz & Lottie (Gift Shop) – Heidi Blanchette & Nikaila Maas, AB
- Sphere Optometry (Optometrist) – Danielle Gordon, AB
- Swoon Cards (Dating Card Game) – Savannah Golding & Reza Houshmand, BC
- Mala The Brand (Candles) – Melody Lim, BC
- Honam Naturals (Natural Cosmetics) – Naana Daniels, ON
- Yoga Tree Studio (Yoga Studio) – Debbie Fung, ON
- S.P.A.R. Training (Gym) – Kevin Selman, QC
- Comptoir Blind Tiger (Restaurant) – Mathieu Menard, QC
- Quality Cuts (Barbershop) – Will Biney, QC
- Café Pista (Coffee Shop) – Maxime Richard, QC
- Milijours Studio (Jewelry and Leather Goods) – Marie-Anne Milijours, QC
“My biggest inspiration has to be those entrepreneurs I watched see this challenge, pivot their business, and are more successful than ever as a result,” says Merrifield on his fellow ambassadors.
RW&CO. Reimagines Workwear
Clothing for the Next Normal Embodying Spring by revitalizing the brand’s classic workwear DNA, the new collection is inspired by customers’ ever-evolving needs for versatility, ease, and comfort without sacrificing style. Both living and working at home is a reality for many for the foreseeable future, and this is reflected in the new collection with growing loungewear, casual, and versatile offerings.
RW&CO. Partners with Ted
The campaign is also the perfect springboard for a year-long partnership between RW&CO. and global organization TED. TED passionately believes in “the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives, and ultimately, the world”, echoing RW&CO.’s commitments to innovation and community. Beginning in March 2021, TED will further amplify these shared values through ‘Always on the Rise’, an RW&CO.-branded hub on the TED website that will feature content tailored for the RW&CO. community, giving customers a front row seat to globally-renowned speakers through TED Talks.
5Accurate Shoe Sizing From Home Using Only a Smartphone
Computer vision startup, Xesto, has announced the launch of Xesto Fit, the first and only 3D foot sizing app that uses a smartphone to recommend shoe sizes across 150 brands.
The startup, which came out of the University of Toronto, has developed the technology to allow customers to scan themselves within 1.5mm accuracy in the comfort of their own home using their own iPhone FaceID camera. The customer takes four photos of each foot and in under a minute, Xesto creates 3D reconstructions of their feet. Xesto Fit allows shoppers to select their own size across 150 brands and growing, all free of charge. Xesto’s sizing app can be accessed directly from the App Store.
“Xesto will change shopping forever with smartphone cameras the way Uber changed transportation with GPS. Today’s 3D smartphone cameras are more powerful than ever, but their applications have been limited to unlocking phones, emojis and augmented reality filters. Xesto will turn your phone into a fitting room without you leaving your home.” said Sophie Howe, CEO of Xesto.
E-commerce purchases are expected to increase by 160 percent post pandemic, and as online sales increase, fit related returns increase as well. These returns decrease retailers margins while increasing waste. Xesto Fit reduces the environmental cost of e-commerce by sizing users accurately using an Apple device. The online footwear industry sees returns of approximately 40 percent and approximately 80 percent of online returns are due to poor fit, making the lack of personalized sizing tools a leading sustainability problem in the fashion industry. Xesto Fit eliminates size uncertainty, thus reducing the environmental impact of e-commerce.
Xesto was selected for the first Canadian Women Only Trade Delegation to South Korea in 2020, awarded Toronto’s Best Startup in 2019 (Timmy Awards), and in 2017 was named one of the 10 Canadian AI Start-Ups to Watch by Nuadox.
The app is available in the App Store and via Xesto’s website. To download the app or learn more, please visit https://xesto.io