US-Based retail giant Nike has opened its first new concept flagship store in Canada at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. More locations are expected to follow as Nike continues with a store partnership with Israel-based retail fashion chain Fox-Wizel Ltd which already operates sports and beauty stores in Canada.
The Nike store was supposed to open in November of 2020 and it was delayed because of the pandemic. A report in Israel-based news publication Globes in September of 2019 announced that a 25,000+ square foot Nike store would be moving into Yorkdale. The now-open store occupies part of the mall’s former Home Outfitters storefront on the upper level as well as two main level retail spaces formerly occupied by Zara Home and Le Chateau.
The store’s interior features video screens and various departments. The main floor includes Nike fashions for women and kids as well as a service desk. A steel and glass central staircase leads to the second floor which includes men’s items, Air Jordan products and washrooms.
With an eye towards sustainability, the store features recycled flatpack fixtures, as well as details such as repurposed felt and rubber floor coverings and felt wall coverings as part of Nike Grind, a global sustainability program that helps transform manufacturing scrap and end-of-life shoes into recycled materials.
The Yorkdale store’s design was a collaboration between Nike Store Design in Portland, Oregon and BDP Quadrangle.
According to the 2019 news report, Fox-Wizel invested about $12 million in the construction of the new Nike store with a substantial amount of the financing coming from Yorkdale’s landlord, Oxford Properties. A ten-year lease for the store was reportedly signed with an option to extend it for five years. Annual revenues for the Yorkdale Nike store at the time were projected to be in excess of $20 million annually.
The Yorkdale Niketown is Fox-Wizel’s largest storefront in the world, containing an expansive assortment of Nike products including fashions as well as technology and gadgets. Fox-Wizel already operates several Nike stores in Canada through its subsidiary Fox Canada that also includes Israeli beauty chain Laline, which is also expanding aggressively into the Canadian market.
In 2017, Fox-Wizel signed an agreement with Nike Canada to set up a chain of stores in this country over a period of seven years. As a result, a chain of Nike stores have rapidly opened in Canadian cities. More large-format Nike stores are expected to open in major Canadian cities with targets including downtown Toronto and Vancouver.
While the brand opens standalone stores, Nike has been pulling out of wholesale partners in multi-brand retailers globally to focus on direct-to-consumer stores. It remains to be seen what happens in terms of distribution of Nike products in Canada in the future.
In years past, Nike operated Niketown locations in major cities globally, though the concept was scaled back. A Niketown location once occupied nearly 40,000 square feet of space at 110 Bloor Street West in Toronto, which is now part of a Brooks Brothers store in a commercial podium that will soon see a significant redevelopment.