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BRIEF: J. Crew Exits Canada, DUER Relocating Flagship from Downtown Eastside to W. 4th

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1
J. Crew Shuts Remaining Canadian Stores After 10 Year Run

Exterior of previous J. Crew store in the CF Toronto Eaton Centre. Photo: Retail Insider
Exterior of former J. Crew store in the CF Toronto Eaton Centre. Photo: Retail Insider

American fashion retailer J. Crew has shut its remaining stores in Canada after a multi-year retreat. J. Crew entered the Canadian market in 2011 and had stores in several major markets.

In September of 2020 we reported that J. Crew’s last full-priced Canadian store was still operational at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. That location has since shut permanently. We also reported that J. Crew was operating outlet stores at McArthurGlen Designer Outlets near Vancouver, Vaughan Mills near Toronto, Toronto Premium Outlets in Halton Hills, Outlet Collection at Niagara near Niagara Falls, and at Tanger Outlets in Ottawa. Those all appear to have shuttered permanently as well.

In September, J. Crew shut two street-front flagship stores including a unit at 110 Bloor Street West in Toronto as well as at 1088 Robson Street in Vancouver. That followed a prolonged set of closures.

Listen to “The Weekly” podcast by Retail Insider where Craig, Lee and Dustin chat about the J. Crew shuttering of all remaining Canadian stores as well as Starbucks closing numerous Canadian stores.

For years, J. Crew operated a small network of stores in Canada in markets including Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, and Ottawa. A store at West Edmonton Mall closed several years ago and in 2018, units at CF Rideau Centre and CF Chinook Centre also shuttered. Other J. Crew units that closed included at CF Fairview and CF Markville in Toronto, CF Market Mall in Calgary, and CF Sherway Gardens in Toronto. A store at CF Toronto Eaton Centre shut down in early 2019 and was replaced by Lululemon in 2019.

The Yorkdale location was the first J. Crew store to open in Canada in August of 2011, and it was the last one to close. Canadians can still shop online for J. Crew clothing according to the retailer’s website. J. Crew also has stores throughout the United States.

Canada’s retail fashion landscape is changing, with competitors Banana Republic and the Gap also shutting stores across the country. More chains could go under and in the years to come, new brands will likely replace them.

J. Crew filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States in May of 2020 and exited bankruptcy in September. The filing allowed J. Crew to gain a better financial foothold by turning USD $1.6 billion into equity by putting lenders in charge of the company.

Exterior of new DUER store in Kitsilano. Photo: DUER
Exterior of new DUER store in Kitsilano. Photo: DUER

2
DUER to Relocate Vancouver Flagship from the Downtown Eastside to Kitsilano

Vancouver-based performance apparel brand DUER has announced plans to open a new flagship store at 1755 West 4th Avenue in West Vancouver. It will replace a storefront that opened at 118 West Hastings Street in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside area in the spring of 2016.

The 2100-square-foot Kitsilano store is set to open in May 2021, and will feature a modern interior and experiential elements like DUER’s signature performance lab — an area with swings and bikes where customers can test the function of DUER products through movement.

The building was listed by CBRE Vancouver Urban Properties Group under the direction of Martin Moriarty and Mario Negris.

DUER designs performance apparel for men and women which is considered ideal for everyday wear, commuting, and adventure. Unique gusset technology in all DUER pants offers movement with minimal restriction.

DUER will continue to operate four shops in Vancouver in Toronto, Calgary, and Denver. The retailer also has plans to expand with new branded spaces in additional US markets later in 2021. Retail Insider reported on the opening of the Calgary DUER store in June 2020.

DUER products are currently sold through more than 700 global retail partners including REI and Nordstrom.

3
In Memoriam: Saul Korman 

Photo Provided: Saul & Shawn Korman

Highly respected Toronto-based retailer Saul Korman passed away on Sunday at the age of 86. Mr. Korman, known to many as the ‘Duke of the Danforth’ was the founder of upscale menswear retailer Korry’s located in the city’s Greektown area. 

Korry’s was founded in 1952 and is located at 569 Danforth Avenue and the store carries a range of upscale brands. He was known for his radio ads on five stations — advertising helped drive success for the business over the years. 

Longtime friend Norman Katz, VP of Sales & Marketing at Maple Leaf Displays, remembers Mr. Korman fondly over the 25 years that they knew each other. “I began my career in the men’s apparel industry,” said Mr. Katz. “Saul was a mentor to me, and his passion for the menswear industry touched many people in Toronto and well beyond. He taught me to be professional and nice to everyone while having fun with what you’re doing. He also stressed the importance of working hard…Saul would schmooze with customers, vendors and media. He did it all!”. 

Norman Katz explained how Saul Korman’s radio ads would draw a significant number of people to his store from Toronto and even other parts of the province to meet the man behind the ads. “I was fortunate enough to witness this when Saul asked me if I could help out in the summer for a couple of weeks because he was short staffed. People from as far away as Oakville, Hamilton, Stoney Creek, Barrie, and other regions throughout the province came into the store and asked ‘Where is this Saul Korman guy? I want to shake his hand and say hello’…well they did that and guess what, they did not leave Korry’s without buying something. Saul would say to them you came this far to meet, let me show the latest fashion trends that would look great on you.” 

“When I’d come into the store, Saul would ask ‘Norman, how are you and the family doing these days?’ Saul truly cared and was a gentlemen, and will be missed by many. 

Exterior of Anytime Fitness location. Photo: Anytime Fitness
Exterior of Anytime Fitness location. Photo: Anytime Fitness

4
Anytime Fitness Appeals to Provincial Leaders to Permit the Reopening of Essential Businesses

Spot It mapper taking photos for the site. Photo: Spot It
Spot It mapper taking photos for the site. Photo: Spot It

As the COVID-19 lockdowns continue to ravage small businesses across Canada, owners of independently-operated Anytime Fitness locations across the country are sending letters to provincial leaders and health officials in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec — where health clubs remain closed — inviting them to work together with the health club industry to establish province-approved safety and sanitation protocols that permit these essential businesses to reopen.

“We appreciate the difficult challenges the provinces have faced when deciding whether certain industries must close or remain open,” said Stacy Anderson, president, Anytime Fitness. “However, the continued closure of gyms due to COVID-19 is an obstacle to Canadians’ ability to maintain physical and mental health. The data is clear that health clubs and fitness centres — which, unlike restaurants and retail locations, are membership-based, controlled environments not open to the general public — are safe when safety and sanitation protocols are followed.

“In fact, we know that the Anytime Fitness locations currently open across Canada — such as in British Columbia — have shown that following safety and sanitation protocols neutralizes the risk of infection in their facilities while continuing to allow them to provide essential exercise and wellness services for their members.

“So we join our Canada franchise owners in respectfully urging provincial leaders where health clubs are closed to work together with us to safely get back open as soon as possible. Come to the table and tell us what it will take.”

While all in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19, it is becoming more apparent that lockdowns are having long-term and devastating effects on Canadians’ livelihoods and mental wellbeing. Many are suggesting reassessing control measures and permitting Canadians to reinstate some aspects of their old lives, with being able to attend the gym high on that list.

5
Spot It Launches Independent Mapper Program to Streamline In-Store Shopping

Example of Spot It app on Smartphone. Photo: Spot It
Example of Spot It app on Smartphone. Photo: Spot It

On a mission to innovate the in-store shopping experience, Waterloo Region-based retail technology company Spot It has further adapted their in-store mapping solutions to include an independent Mapper program. With proper compensation being offered based on each new store being mapped or updated, Spot It is assisting Canadians in providing a fairly compensated gig economy opportunity and expanding their store maps across the country.

In order to significantly increase the number of stores mapped across the Spot It platform, the retail tech company has opened their Mapper applications. Becoming a Mapper allows those who are able to continue in-store shopping to earn a suitable wage while helping their community.

Launched in May 2020, Spot It has designed detailed plans for one’s shopping trip before entering the store, allowing shoppers to reduce browsing time and potential points of contact with other shoppers. Additional features, such as the user-to-user sharing framework allows users to share shopping lists, checklists, recipes, and home projects. The newest update also included a checklist feature, which auto-populates a map of items needed for specific initiatives or occasions such as items in high demand for local food banks.

Currently displaying store maps of over 100 stores across Ontario, with 500 plus searchable items within each map, the Spot It platform is accessible to users through its website and new mobile app. Spot It is now focusing its attention on the Vancouver market.

For more information about the platform, mobile application, developing features, and to apply to be a Mapper, visit www.maps.spotitmapping.com.

Models wearing The Jacket of Hope designed by TH Fashion. Photo: TH Fashion
Models wearing The Jacket of Hope designed by TH Fashion. Photo: TH Fashion

6
TH Fashion Launches The Jacket of Hope

Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business logo
Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business logo

With International Women’s Day coming up, Toronto-based TH Fashion is launching The Jacket of Hope as part of its 2021 capsule collection.

Produced and operated by an all-female team — the Jacket of Hope is on a mission to unite strong women worldwide and is designed to make women feel safe, powerful, and confident. Instead of looking back, the Jacket of Hope will inspire you to move forward and dress your best.

The Jacket of Hope is armoured to keep you guarded through COVID-19 with a detachable mask feature and emergency gloves built into the sleeve. Additionally, owning the Jacket of Hope has other incredible benefits, including its innovative Spanflex line of recycled luxury performance fabrics and UPF protection.

A portion of proceeds from each sale will be donated directly to charitable initiatives. The Jacket of Hope retails for $398 with the option to add a $50 charity donation to the New Start Foundation for youth mental health and addiction services to bring attention to how this pandemic has affected us as a society, not just physically but also mentally.

7
LNG Canada and Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business Support Indigenous Female Entrepreneurs

Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) has announced new patron member, LNG Canada, as the sponsor for both the Indigenous Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund and the 2021 Indigenous Women in Leadership Award.

LNG Canada represents one of the largest energy investments in the history of Canada. Under construction in Kitimat, B.C., on the traditional territory of the Haisla Nation, the LNG Canada liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility is delivering substantial economic benefits to Indigenous and local communities, businesses, the province, and the country. Once complete, the facility will deliver the lowest carbon intensive LNG in the world, helping to address global climate change.

In addition to LNG Canada’s commitment to keeping safety, economic, environmental, and community interests top of mind in their business model, CCAB’s President and CEO, Tabatha Bull, acknowledges their dedication to economic reconciliation and Indigenous women’s economic empowerment.

“Securing financing is one of the biggest challenges for Indigenous women entrepreneurs who often lack access to loans and financial institutions, property for collateral, and credit. We are thrilled that LNG Canada is taking meaningful steps to support Indigenous women entrepreneurs and help grow the Indigenous economy.”

CCAB Patrons are innovators who have made the commitment to bridge the gaps between Indigenous–owned businesses, Indigenous economic development corporations, and corporate Canada.

Nominations for the 2021 Indigenous Women in Leadership Award are open until February 12th, 2021 and more information about the Indigenous Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund will become available at ccab.com in the coming weeks.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Saying that the location that DUER is leaving in Gastown as being on the Downtown Eastside is classist and incorrect. You state the address is on West Hastings, keyword being West, therefore not on the East Side. Reporting like this adds nothing to the stigmatized community of people that live in this area.

    • Tim, I’m not sure if you’ve been to Vancouver, but the general boundaries of the ‘Downtown Eastside’ span several blocks west past Carrall Street, which is the east/west divider in that part of the city (Ontario Street splits east/west addresses south of False Creek). The greater Downtown Eastside, according to city maps when I have done consulting work, extends to Richards Street which technically includes the 400 block of West Hastings Street. And 118 W. Hastings is technically in the ‘Victory Square’ section of the Downtown Eastside, which is a broader area encompassing about half a dozen neighbourhoods ranging from mixed-use retail to industrial zones.

      It’s a shame that you have such a negative opinion of the term ‘Downtown Eastside’. Indeed parts of the area have faced social challenges over the years, but the Downtown Eastside does include some great areas including Gastown and Chinatown as well as other areas that I’m sure will improve with time (the pandemic has been brutal to the area generally). I encourage people not to paint the area of the city with one brush when they have a negative association with a name. The Downtown Eastside in Vancouver is a diverse area with a wide range of incomes and resident types.

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