This year is already starting off strong with five international brands opening first-to-Canada stores in January of 2022, and more on the way. Brokers are saying that this could be a banner year as retail becomes more global and Canadian cities are a target.
It’s encouraging news and shows confidence in the market as brands look to major cities to enter the Canadian market. We recently tallied a total of 21 international brands that entered Canada in 2021 by opening stores, including a breakdown of launch cities where Toronto was the primary focal point last year.
In January of this year, several international brands have opened first-to-Canada stores. Swedish designer/manufacturer of roof racks/carriers Thule opened its first Canadian storefront at Park Royal in West Vancouver. We reported that Vancouver-based retailer Rack Attack was opening the store in a retail space with an expected December opening date extended into January.
In Vancouver as well, Paris-based fashion and music brand Maison Kitsuné opened a combined retail space and café in the city’s Gastown area, marking the first location for the popular brand in Canada. More locations are expected to open with the Toronto market expected to be a focus.
With two international brands already opening first-to-Canada stores in the Vancouver area this month, the city only needs one more opening to match the three openings seen in 2021. We reported earlier this month that the greater Toronto area was home to 13 of the 21 international brands that entered Canada last year by opening stores.
In Ontario, three international retailers opened first-to-Canada stores over the course of January 2022. That includes US-based Carlo’s Bake Shop which opened its first Canadian location in the Port Credit area of Mississauga with more locations to come. At Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre, New York City-based Marc Jacobs opened its first Canadian storefront in the mall and more are said to be on the way — the new store concept features a price point on bags similar to what one might find at Hudson’s Bay. And in St. Catharines Ontario, a first Canadian location for Nigeria-based grocery chain Prince Ebeano opened in the city this month as well.
Brokers are telling Retail Insider that several more international brands are already confirmed to be entering the Canadian market by opening storefronts. We’ll reveal these throughout the year as we continue to report on the industry. It’s an encouraging sign for the retail industry which was clobbered by the pandemic. Consumer confidence is coming back and some retailers, including luxury brands, are in some cases seeing higher sales now than in 2019.
Already, we know that retailers such as Lafayette 148, Anne Fontaine and Paris Baguette will all be opening first-to-Canada locations on Bloor Street West in Toronto. We’ll be discussing other brands such as Acne Studios and Diptique which among others will open first stores this year as well.
Retail Insider will be tallying international retailers entering the Canadian market in the coming months as well as other retailers opening and expanding in this country. We will be showcasing this in a new portal that will be part of the must-read Retail Insider the magazine which is launching this spring, with more details to follow.