LensCrafters Unveils 1st State-of-the-Art Canadian Flagship Store in Toronto’s Yorkville Area [Photos/Interview]


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LensCrafters, one of the largest optical retail brands in North America, has opened its new and first flagship store in Canada in Toronto at 33 Bloor Street East in the Bloor-Yorkville shopping district.

The company said the opening will further position LensCrafters as a modern optical retail leader of exclusive brands and reinforce the company as a trusted eyecare and eyewear authority in the region.

Alfonso Cerullo

“As LensCrafters continues to expand in the US and Canada, we look forward to advancing the brand this year with the rollout of our new flagship store in Toronto,” said Alfonso Cerullo, President & GM of LensCrafters, North America. 

“Appealing to the well-known local shopping hub on Bloor Street, the store will reflect the effortless integration of design and technology, giving customers a more individualized experience that allows them to easily browse the vast luxury assortment of both optical and sun frames. At the end of the day, we want to be a top destination in the community when it comes to finding the best vision care solutions that resonate with our customers and help people express themselves while seeing well at the same time.

“We are very happy about it. It is really beautiful. The team is very excited. We have the doors open. The customers are coming and we have been accepted in the community.”

LensCrafters Bloor Street (Image: LensCrafters)

LensCrafters was founded in 1983 and currently operates over 1,000 stores in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. It has about 90 stores in Canada. 

The newest flagship store is close to Toronto’s high-end fashion destination on Bloor Street and is part of LensCrafters’ continued North America expansion plans. The company opened its first two flagship stores in New York City in 2020 and two more in San Francisco in 2021 and Palo Alto last year.

“Toronto is one of our major markets and Bloor Street was a location and area we were trying to target for awhile because of course it’s a high premium retail area and for LensCrafters this is part of the target market that we want to try to get a position,” said Cerullo.

“LensCrafters in terms of vision, in terms of strategy, we want to be the high quality optical retailer and the experts of the community.”

LensCrafters Bloor Street (Image: LensCrafters)

The company said the new elevated flagship will encompass the latest advanced digital technology and state-of-the-art design blending eye-catching finishes to create a dynamic customer journey. From quality eye exams to shopping for the perfect frame, the new location will showcase an expanded selection of designer eyewear styles and brands that include Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, Persol, Versace, and Prada. 

“The flagship will leverage a wide range of tools to afford customers more opportunities to meet their needs for a premium in store experience. Customers will be able to digitally explore the wide variety of EssilorLuxottica collections and brands, customize Ray-Ban and Oakley frames, and virtually try-on any frame thanks to the Virtual Mirror technology through LensCrafters’ Smart Shopper interactive in store tool,” said the company.

“The collection of luxury optical and sun styles along with superior lens design and technology by Essilor, will give the brand a larger footprint in the eyewear market. The new flagship will be equipped with high-resolution digital screens and LED-walls displaying eyewear and campaigns to allow customers an immersive experience around the brand’s offering. An added focus will be given to the storytelling of prescription lenses through interactive applications installed both on iPads and touch screens, leveraging the see-through technology to simulate lens features and effects for better vision.

When asked if he sees more flagship stores in Canada, Cerullo replied: “For now, I think we may have another couple of opportunities overall in Canada. They are not short term. I think it’s more on the medium term. Consider them for this type of premium, high-end real estate areas, from when you start looking for locations that you like and when the store is built and you open, you can probably spend a couple of years overall,” he said.

The eyewear and eyecare industry in Canada has become a very competitive one in recent years with global brands setting up shop in the country.

“I believe that you cannot be successful by definition on everything. You should define your target, your piece of the cake where you really want to make an impact,” said Cerullo, adding LensCrafters wants to position its banner as the leader in the medium to higher class space.

“For this type of demographic, for this type of consumer, we want to really make sure that we are going to be the leader . . . We want to be the high quality optical retailer and trusted expert of the community that we serve. So in that community we want to make sure in all the things we’re doing that there’s no doubt for everything about the sight where you want to go for an eye exam.”

LensCrafters Bloor Street (Image: LensCrafters)
LensCrafters at 33 Bloor Street East (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Cerullo said the retailer has presence in both shopping centres and streetfronts with most of its stores in malls.

However, in the future, he said a big part of the company’s investment is in relocation and remodelling of existing stores. He said the strategy is to also make a small shift to more stores in the future being streetfront or outside malls.

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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