BRIEF: Diptyque to Enter Canada with Stores, Prada Opens Montreal Women’s Boutique

French Luxury Fragrance and Candle Brand ‘Diptyque’ Expanding Into Canadian Market

Exterior of Diptyque store in Paris. Photo: Diptyque
Exterior of Diptyque store in Paris. Photo: Diptyque

Pricey Paris-based fragrance and candle brand Diptyque will be making moves into the Canadian market this year with plans for multiple locations after securing a brokerage for the expansion. Diptyque is seeking boutique-sized storefronts on urban streets and shopping centres and is part of a direct-to-consumer expansion for the brand.

Diptyque was founded in 1961 by interior designer Christiane Gautrot, theatre set designer Yves Coueslant, and Desmond Knox-Leet, a painter. The brand, which sells fragrances, candles & home, skincare, and home decor, has stores globally as well as an expansive distribution in upscale retailers. Prices can be steep — candles are typically priced in the $50-$100 range depending on size, with some more expensive ones approaching $500. Diptyque fragrances are typically well over $100 and a room spray was priced at $92 on a Canadian retail website.

The company is seeking retail spaces in malls and on streets. Mall locations will ideally be in the 600-700 square foot range with street front stores occupying as much as 1,000 square feet. Jeff Berkowitz of Aurora Realty Consultants is the contact for the Canadian expansion.

In the United States, Diptyque has more than 20 stores in major markets with a mix of street and mall stores in upscale locations. Some stores are on luxury streets while others are located a bit off the beaten path in trendy places close to affluence. The next two US locations to open will be in the Los Angeles area at The Palisades and The Grove retail centres.

Given where Diptyque is located in the United States, one might expect the brand to look at locations for stores in Toronto at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Bloor-Yorkville, and possibly the ‘West Queen West’ area. In Vancouver, Diptyque might be at home downtown on or near Alberni or Robson Streets, Gastown or even West 4th Avenue in Kitsilano. In Montreal, Diptyque could be interested in addresses such as Rue de la Montagne between the Ritz and Holt Renfrew Ogilvy, Sherbrooke Street West in Westmount, Old Montreal or possibly Avenue Laurier which has a compelling retail mix near wealthy households.

The Diptyque brand was introduced to Canada via wholesale channels, with retailers such as Holt Renfrew, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue featuring the brand in Canadian stores. The multi-brand retailers are expected to retain distribution despite the direct-to-consumer brick-and-mortar expansion, given the success of the brand and the importance of that channel. Diptyque has not yet launched a Canadian website, though it would be expected to do so once its expansion is confirmed as early as fall/winter 2021.

Interior of new Prada store in Montreal's Holt Renfrew Ogilvy. Photo: Maxime Frechette
Interior of new Prada store in Montreal’s Holt Renfrew Ogilvy. Photo: Maxime Frechette

Prada Unveils Women’s Fashion Boutique Concession at Holt Renfrew Ogilvy in Montreal

Exterior of The Hudson's Bay store in Oakridge Centre. Photo: The Oakridge Centre
Exterior of The Hudson’s Bay store in The Oakridge Centre. Photo: The Oakridge Centre

Italian luxury brand Prada recently opened a boutique space for women on the third floor of Holt Renfrew Ogilvy in Montreal. It joins a Prada bag and accessory boutique on the main floor of the store as well as a women’s footwear boutique concession on the second floor and a men’s concession on the fifth floor.

Plans for a Miu Miu boutique (owned by Prada), also on the the third floor of Holt Renfrew Ogilvy, have been put on hold according to Retail Insider’s Montreal correspondent Maxime Frechette.

Prior to closing in the summer of 2020, the former Holt Renfrew store at 1300 Sherbrooke Street West also featured a Prada boutique space in its store. Prada operates standalone flagship stores in Toronto at 131 Bloor Street West and in Vancouver at 1099 Alberni Street. Prada operates concessions at Holt Renfrew in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal, as well as at Saks Fifth Avenue in downtown Toronto which is dedicated to bags and accessories.

Hudson’s Bay Shutting Oakridge Centre Store Until 2024

Rendering of newly-renovated Oakridge Centre. Rendering: Oakridge Centre
Rendering of newly-renovated Oakridge Centre. Rendering: Oakridge Centre

Hudson’s Bay is shutting its Oakridge Centre store in Vancouver on Wednesday, March 24, as the shopping centre sees an incredible multi-year redevelopment that will create a new city centre for Vancouver. When the shuttering of the rest of the mall was announced in the summer, Hudson’s Bay said that it was planning on keeping its store open indefinitely despite the rest of the mall being shut until the project is finished in 2024.

When the store reopens in three years as planned, it will be in a new space north of the existing store spanning about 142,000 square feet over two levels. The new store will aim to meet the needs of future shoppers with enhanced digital elements with in-store displays tied to the company’s expanding website offerings. It’s part of HBC’s plans to modernize its operations while shifting focus to online channels — though at the same time, the future of the department store business with 88 stores is uncertain and we’ll report back with updates as they become available.

A clearance sale at the Oakridge Bay store is ongoing.

Interior of Brioni store that is set to leave Holt Renfrew Ogilvy. Photo: Maxime Frechette
Interior of Brioni store that is set to leave Holt Renfrew Ogilvy. Photo: Maxime Frechette

Brioni Exiting Holt Renfrew Ogilvy, Off-White Comes to the Store

Exterior of Uniqlo store. Photo: Uniqlo
Exterior of Uniqlo store. Photo: Uniqlo

A sales associate at Holt Renfrew Ogilvy in Montreal informs Retail Insider that the Brioni space in the store will be shuttering due to low sales. It is not yet known what will replace it on the 40,000-square-foot, fifth-level men’s store that opened in the spring of 2019. The pricey brand has yet to gain significant traction in Canada with limited distribution that includes the Holt Renfrew Men store at 100 Bloor Street West in Toronto and at Holt Renfrew in Vancouver — it appears that Harry Rosen dropped the brand recently after carrying it in the Vancouver and Montreal stores.

Luxury brand The Row is also said to have exited Holt Renfrew Ogilvy’s men’s floor. At the same time, Virgil Abloh-designed luxury streetwear brand Off-White now has a presence on the men’s floor for the first time, adding to an already robust designer offering.

Uniqlo Announces 2nd Montreal-Area Store Opening Date

Map of CF Carrefour Laval with red arrow indicating retail space set to house new Uniqlo store.
Map of CF Carrefour Laval with red arrow indicating retail space set to house new Uniqlo store.

Popular Japanese retailer Uniqlo has announced that its second Montreal-area store, located at at CF Carrefour Laval, will open on Friday, March 26. The 20,000-square-foot store, replacing a Renaud Bray book store, follows the opening of a 40,000-plus-square-foot, downtown Montreal Uniqlo storefront at the Montreal Eaton Centre.

For those not wishing to enter the store, a click-and-collect service is being implemented. Between March 8 and March 23, customers will be able to order online and and pick things up for free prior to the store’s grand opening.

The CF Carrefour Laval Uniqlo store will be the 15th location in Canada. Uniqlo opened its first store in Canada at CF Toronto Eaton Centre in Toronto, followed by Yorkdale. Uniqlo now operates eight stores in the Greater Toronto area, four in the Vancouver area, one at West Edmonton Mall that opened last year as well as the downtown Montreal flagship.

Jeff Berkowitz of Aurora Realty Consultants represents Uniqlo as broker in Canada and he negotiated all of Uniqlo’s store leases in Canada.

Exterior of Scarborough Town Centre. Photo: Scarborough Town Centre
Exterior of Scarborough Town Centre. Photo: Scarborough Town Centre

Oxford Properties to Support Government Vaccination Efforts

Exterior of Le Marché du Store. Photo: Le Marché du Store
Exterior of Le Marché du Store. Photo: Le Marché du Store

Oxford Properties is continuing to support the fight against COVID-19 by donating space at Scarborough Town Centre shopping centre to host a Toronto Public Health COVID-19 vaccination clinic. By collaborating with the City of Toronto and Toronto Public Health, this clinic will help support the Canadian national vaccination effort and serve its local community.

Oxford has also joined the REALPAC initiative to donate space in convenient, accessible commercial real estate buildings with public transit and parking options. The vaccination centre at Scarborough Town Centre will be the second at an Oxford shopping centre. The first community vaccination clinic in an Oxford shopping centre opened at DIX30, in Brossard, Quebec, in January.

“Due to their size, accessibility and experience of our property management teams in safely handling thousands of visitors daily, our shopping centres can play an important role in getting the vaccine as quickly and safely to as many Canadians as possible,” said Bradley Jones, Head of Retail, Oxford Properties. “Supporting community vaccination efforts allows us to play our part in the collective response against COVID-19 and give back to the communities which we are so proud to serve.”

Further locations will be announced by municipal public health agencies in the coming weeks as part of larger community initiatives.

Le Marché du Store Announces Increased Base Salary & Creation of 250 Permanent Jobs in Quebec

Le Marché du Store has announced that it is now guaranteeing a base salary of 15$ per hour to all its Design Consultants. This measure is part of a process to value careers in the retail industry, while the company announced at the same time the creation of 250 permanent full-time positions in the province of Québec, a 34% increase of its workforce. 

“By guaranteeing a minimum wage of 15$ per hour, the average salary of our consultants increases to 40210$ per year, with commissions and bonuses. We want to provide stability to our current and future employees in order to demonstrate that they are building a true career,” says Zachary Shiller, in charge of all Quebec operations. 

The stability of these roles is also demonstrated by the paid training program offered to all new Design Consultants, lasting from four to six months, as well as through career development programs offered in-house. 

Le Marché du Store, which has seen tremendous growth in sales over the last four years (between 12 and 31% annually) is hiring people who will offer the famous Red-Carpet service within its showrooms and its Shop-at-Home service. 120 of these new permanent full-time positions are part of the online sales department, Head Office and plant, all located in Montreal. The company is also finalizing the upcoming opening of 3 new stores in the Greater Montreal area, creating about 30 jobs.

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