Adidas Launching ‘Halo’ Concept Stores in Canada: Interview with President Alim Dhanji [with Renderings]

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The new concept ‘halo’ store by retail sportswear giant Adidas is closer to opening its nearly 13,000-square-foot space at the CF Toronto Eaton Centre, joining 69 stores worldwide with the unique initiative.

Alim Dhanji

Alim Dhanji, President of Adidas Canada, said the halo store concept has been in the market for many years. 

“The inspiration behind the halo store opening this summer for us will be the brand’s best expression and it brings diversity, credibility, sustainability through product, design, experience all under one roof,” he said.

Future Adidas Halo Store at CF Toronto Eaton Centre (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Adidas at CF Toronto Eaton Centre (Renderings: Adidas)

Lesley Hawkins, VP Retail for the company, said the store is on the first level at the bottom of the escalators in the mall where the prior Urban Planet space was located.

Lesley Hawkins

“This is really our opportunity to offer consumers the latest innovations in footwear and apparel. But beyond that, it’s also an opportunity to tell the stories of our Toronto communities and we have a lot of different communities throughout the Greater Toronto Area,” said Hawkins. “And our ability to engage with those communities through this store, we will be doing that through a digital print shop. We actually have a Toronto City shop which will have unique Toronto inspired products that will be available there. 

“There will also be a community meeting space. Throughout the whole store you will see a lot of digital touchpoints and this will really allow the consumers to really experience a fully immersive journey with very much a sustainability lens . . . and throughout the store you’ll find that there is space for every member of the family whether you’re looking for some products and some experiences of what the true heritage of our brand, with our original collection, or there’s a very interactive young athlete area or quite frankly the ultimate fan zone space as well.

“There is a lot for everybody in all corners of the store.”

Adidas at CF Toronto Eaton Centre (Renderings: Adidas)

Adidas opened its first halo store in New York City on 5th Avenue in 2016, and have subsequently opened many halo stores in key cities around the world including Dubai and London most recently.

Currently the company has 29 locations in Canada from coast to coast. The locations are a mixture of being in shopping centres, street fronts and strip malls.

“As we look at  our opportunities within Canada and we look at specific trade zones within Toronto as being a key city for us and Vancouver as a key city for us, we looked for areas that had high density but also a meaningful opportunity for us to connect with our consumers and the Eaton Centre provides that opportunity of bringing together high traffic as well as we get lots of tourism within the Eaton Centre,” said Dhanji.

“It created a perfect opportunity for us to connect with our consumer.”

Adidas at CF Toronto Eaton Centre (Renderings: Adidas)

Hawkins said the new halo store will open towards the end of June.

“It will be branded with the Badge of Sport logo that you would normally see both inside the store, on the front facade and also there’s an exterior facade as well. Internally, we refer to it as a halo store but it really is a brand store,” she said.

Dhanji said when the company looks at its overall fleet of stores globally and designing the type of experience it wants to deliver to consumers, the retailer thinks about ‘halo’ as being a full expression of its brand.

“As we think about concepts and what Canada has today and what we’re bringing to market as we expand our fleet, we’re also revitalizing our existing fleet and that’s bringing new store concepts to life within Canada. So that includes the original collection which really does showcase our heritage of the brand. We’re going to be looking at Sneaker Collect for that true sneakerhead and also very excited with our Terrex brand for the outdoor enthusiast and that’s going to be a first for North America. So really excited about bringing the full range of concepts for the Canadian consumer to experience with Adidas,” he said.

Adidas at CF Toronto Eaton Centre (Renderings: Adidas)

Hawkins said the retailer’s other new stores this year will be a blend of brand concept, premium factory outlets and a new concept it will be unveiling in the near future.

“We will be opening more stores this year throughout the country. Another additional four stores,” said Hawkins. “And there will be more retail growth over the coming years which halo will be one of the concepts that we’re going to bring to life. And there will actually be multiple different concepts that we will bring but halo really is our pillar concept. It really does offer that premium, immersive experience.

Dhanji said the brand is excited about the opportunity in Canada for Adidas to continue to grow. 

“Consumers are demanding a truly omnichannel experience. We will be expanding our retail footprint over the next four years. What we want to do is ensure that we’re in the right place at the right time for the right consumer,” he said.

“The consumer is looking for an omnichannel experience where it’s seamless for them to navigate online but also have an experience touch point within our stores and offer that seamless ability to order and pick up or return in store. We’re certainly with the expansion of our fleet going to be able to deliver more of that omnichannel capability.”

The CF Toronto Eaton Centre Adidas location has a number of positions available for the Opening Team, including Visual Merchandising, Back of House, and Part Time & Full Time Retail Sales Associates. Interested applicants can visit Careers.Adidas-Group.com for more information.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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