Holt Renfrew Confirms Calgary Store to Stay Open with Long-Term Lease Renewal at the CORE

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Despite continued challenges in the downtown retail market, iconic Canadian brand Holt Renfrew is showing its confidence in Calgary with a long-term lease renewal at the CORE shopping centre in the heart of the city.

“We are very happy to commit long-term to downtown Calgary because this store and people are an important part of our business. The changes are going to be exciting and Calgarians will benefit by being able to choose from even more of the best fashion, beauty and lifestyle products from around the world and right here in Canada,” said Sebastian Picardo, President and CEO, Holt Renfrew, in a statement.

The 149,000-square-foot Calgary store originally opened in 2009 and employs more than 275 people. The four-level store includes a top level not currently used for retail sales space.

Officials did not say how long the renewal of the lease is for.

(Image: Entuitive)
Photo: Francine Ma/Google

The CORE, owned by real estate company Ivanhoé Cambridge, is part of a 2.1 million-square-foot mixed-use office and retail complex.

“We enjoy being engaged with our community and have been involved in many initiatives in the city. It’s exciting to be part of the revitalization of our downtown. We built the current store over 14 years ago to last and remaining in the heart of downtown will help to improve the vibrancy of our great city. Our team loves building new relationships and are very grateful for our existing customers who have been so loyal to us over these many years,” said Debra Kerr, Vice-President Retail West, Holt Renfrew. 

“We’re really, really happy to be staying downtown and investing in the community here. We want to be part of the revitalization of downtown and we’re proud of our core. Our customers and our employees, they love the store. We want to grow here. It’s a beautiful store. We built it to last. So a renewal makes sense for us. We’re really excited to still be downtown.”

3rd floor mall entrance from the CORE into Holt Renfrew Calgary (Image: Entuitive)
Photo: Victor Law

Kerr said the downtown is a draw of any major city.

“We’ve made a presence here. Fourteen years ago when we came here, when we moved to this location, we really made a stance in the market. And I think that being in the heart of any city, the downtown has to have that energy. We keep close to our customers. We’re very connected to the relationship that we have,” said Kerr.

“We have a lot of really personalized relationships and we built them long term. They really think it’s important for us to be downtown. So do our employees. They love working in the core. And I see the downtown revitalization here. I think that we need to be part of that.

“We’re looking at lots of new expansions within the store and lots of new brands. We’re excited about the downtown. We’re excited about the future. When we look at our future here, I think it’s a bright one for Holt Renfrew in Calgary.”

Holt Renfrew Calgary (Image: Entuitive)

As part of the renewal, Holt Renfrew will be making some further upgrades to the store elevating the customer experience for Calgarians, the company said.

“Some of the enhancements include adding over 25 more of the world’s best fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands for customers to enjoy. An expanded World of Gucci boutique and La Prairie beauty shop are among some of the exciting developments that will be happening later this year in the Calgary store,” said the company.

The street level Gucci concession is expected to house ready-to-wear for men and women as well as categories including bags, footwear and accessories. Sources said that this could preclude the rumoured move by Gucci to open a standalone Calgary location at CF Chinook Centre.

Other street level concessions include a Chanel boutique that opened in the summer of 2020, as well as boutique spaces for Hermes, Prada, Loro Piana, Celine, Tiffany & Co.

“We are thrilled to renew our partnership with Holt Renfrew at the CORE. A relationship that started in 1992 with 30,000 square feet of floor space has grown today to 149,000 square feet. We are proud of our association with Holt Renfrew as it continues to contribute to the distinctive character of the CORE as a unique and vibrant urban community hub in downtown Calgary,” said Ruby Paola, Vice President, Leasing, Canada, Ivanhoé Cambridge, in a news release.

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. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I’m certain this decision by Holt Renfrew to stay in downtown Calgary has prompted a huge sigh of relief among the city’s municipal and downtown business leaders, especially when they look to the north and see what has happened to downtown Edmonton where the news has been mostly bad for years now. Holt Renfrew and The Bay (even in its diminished state) are the two retail anchors holding the line against Calgary’s suburban uber-mall to the south, Chinook Centre which has successfully followed the Yorkdale model by intensifying its real estate and attracting upmarket brands. If those two business were to decide to leave, as they already have in Edmonton and Winnipeg, the dominoes would fall. Calgary’s city centre could defy the odds and continue its slow recovery from coronavirus shutdowns, vacant offices, and the flight to suburbia.

  2. This is a really good sign. I was worried for a while since from my impression Calgary’s HF doesn’t seem to hold enough foot traffic compared to Vancouver or Toronto. Sales are totally different story but regardless I am happy to hear they are expanding!.

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