Browns Shoes to Return to Toronto’s Bloor Street with New Storefront

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Montreal-based footwear retailer Browns Shoes is returning to Toronto’s Bloor Street after closing a store nearby about four years ago. The new Browns store will be on a busier stretch of Bloor Street near Holt Renfrew, and it will become a draw for the area that otherwise lacks footwear retailers.

The new Browns Shoes store will span nearly 4,300 square feet at the base of the 60 Bloor Street West office tower. Browns will be between Alo Yoga at 60 Bloor and and the Holt Renfrew flagship which occupies much of the ground floor at 50 Bloor Street West.

Eric Ouaknine

Eric Ouaknine, Vice President of Retail at Browns Shoes, said that the new Bloor Street store will feature a totally new and unique store concept that would include 20 foot ceilings, and custom finishings throughout. Customers will be able to enter the store from within the lobby of 60 Bloor, as well as from Bloor Street itself.  “We’re excited to be back on Bloor Street, in what we feel is one of the busiest stretches of commercial real estate in Canada”, Ouakine said.

Rendering of the new Browns Shoes store at 60 Bloor Street West in Toronto. Image supplied.

The store will house Browns’ in-house brands as well as various other brands ranging from athletic to designer. In recent years Browns Shoes has focused more on its own core brands, maintaining quality and design, while also carrying a range of complementary brands that have attracted loyal shoppers.

Browns will be a welcomed addition to the Bloor-Yorkville area, which has only a handful of footwear retailers. Current footwear retailers in the area include a Ron White store at the Manulife Centre and a JP Fortin store at the Yorkville Village shopping centre (formerly Hazelton Lanes), as well as La Canadienne which replaced a Kate Spade store in 2021. Holt Renfrew also features a sizeable footwear offering in its adjacent women’s store and nearby men’s store, while some multi-category specialty retailers in the area are also carrying shoes.

Browns Shoes has recently been expanding and relocating stores while also opening new ones. The company could have a further opportunity for growth, given Nordstrom’s recent exit from Canada. It’s estimated that Nordstrom’s Canadian footwear sales were about $150 million across its six full-line stores. Given the lack of competition in Canada, Browns has the opportunity to gain further market share.

Future Browns Shoes on Bloor Street (Image: Craig Patterson)
Future Browns Shoes (Far Left), Holt Renfrew (Centre) and Future Arc’Teryx at the Holt Renfrew Centre on Bloor Street (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Browns has had a presence in the Bloor-Yorkville area since the 1970s. Its first store was at the Hazelton Lanes shopping centre. In 2008 it relocated to 110 Bloor Street West where it remained until just before the pandemic. Higher foot traffic at the new 60 Bloor store is expected to result in higher sales.

Various footwear retailers have vacated Bloor-Yorkville over the past decade, including Stuart Weitzman, Davids Footwear/Capezio, Speccio, Tanya Heath, Town Shoes, Shoe Warehouse, and others.

Oberfeld Snowcap represents Browns Shoes as brokerage in Canada.

We’ll follow up on this story when Browns opens its Bloor Street store.

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Publisher & CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Advisor at the University of Alberta School Centre for Cities and Communities in Edmonton, former lawyer and a public speaker. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

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