Brief: Ralph Lauren Sells Club Monaco, Hudson’s Bay Takes 15% BIPOC Pledge

Ralph Lauren Sells Club Monaco Brand 

Photo: Somerset Collection

New York City-based Ralph Lauren announced Thursday that it sold its Club Monaco subsidiary to private equity firm Regent LP. Club Monaco was founded in Toronto in 1985 and Ralph Lauren acquired the brand in 1999. Regent is expected to expand the Club Monaco brand with details to follow. 

“Club Monaco is a beloved brand with a modern style, loyal customer base and long runway for growth,” said Michael Reinstein, Chairman of Regent. “We see tremendous opportunity for Club Monaco and are excited to leverage our retail and e-commerce expertise to build upon the strong brand that the Ralph Lauren team built over two decades of stewardship.”

The deal is expected to close at the end of June and the purchase price wasn’t disclosed. Polo Ralph Lauren paid about USD $52 million for Club Monaco in 1999 as well as an additional $35 million for debt. 

Beverly Hills-based Regent owns several other fashion brands including Montreal-founded lingerie retailer La Senza. 

Club Monaco was founded in 1985 by Joe Mimran, Saul Mimran, and designer Alfred Sung.  Club Monaco is known for its well designed casual clothing. Club Monaco operates stores throughout Canada primarily in shopping malls and the retailer also has several street front and outlet stores. Club Monaco also has stores in the United States, UK, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, South Korea, and Sweden.

We recently reported that Club Monaco had shut its flagship store at 157 Bloor Street West in Toronto. Club Monaco also recently opened a storefront at the CF Carrefour Laval shopping centre near Montreal. 

Hudson’s Bay Takes 15% Pledge for BIPOC-Owned Brands

Photo: Hudson’s Bay

Hudson’s Bay announced Thursday that as of this fall, at least 15% of all new brands purchased for its stores and will be BIPOC-owned or designed. That includes designers that are Black, Indigenous or otherwise deemed ‘of colour’. 

Hudson’s Bay is the first department store in Canada to commit to the Pledge. And as part of the Pledge, the retailer will also be reviewing its internal business organization to ensure, by 2022, 15% or more of the design talent for owned brands are BIPOC, and will work toward supporting the onboarding, growth and success of emerging BIPOC brands.

“As one of the country’s leading corporate citizens, Hudson’s Bay has a responsibility to drive equity and inclusion in Canada,” says Iain Nairn, President & CEO of Hudson’s Bay. “Our commitment through the Fifteen Percent Pledge is part of a holistic change to how we do business, and will hold us accountable to providing opportunity and delivering products that are representative of the diversity of our customers, associates and communities.”

“We’re excited to welcome Hudson’s Bay as the first Canadian department store to take the Pledge and commit to investing in BIPOC businesses,” said Aurora James, founder of the Fifteen Percent Pledge. “As a Black business owner and proud Canadian, it’s encouraging to see this iconic brand take a pivotal step toward driving equity across retail. This is the first time Hudson’s Bay has made a commitment like this in its 350-year history, and we hope their dedication and leadership encourages other international retailers to support brands that are representative of their diverse populations.”

The 15 Percent Pledge was founded in 2020 by Aurora James (creative director of fashion label Brother Vellies) and is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit advocacy organization urging retailers to allocate 15 percent of their shelf-space to Black-owned businesses. In Canada, the Pledge was extend to Indigenous people and people of colour. A total of 22 companies to date have signed on — the first was Sephora in the US and Indigo was the first retailer in Canada. 

Foodtastic Acquires Montreal-Based Vegan QSR Chain Copper Branch 

Photo: Copper Branch

Montreal-based restaurant franchisor Foodtastic announced Thursday that it has acquired vegan QSR chain Copper Branch

“Copper Branch is the largest Vegan restaurant brand in the world, and we are happy to welcome it into the Foodtastic Family” said Peter Mammas, President and CEO of Foodtastic. “We look forward to working with all our new franchisees and emerging through this pandemic with a revitalized leader in the plant powered restaurant space. This acquisition is consistent with our strategy of acquiring quality Canadian brands with growth potential.”

The acquisition will allow for an expansion of Copper Branch into new markets. “”This relationship will enable us to move more quickly and efficiently to bring Copper Branch’s brand to a new global customer base while driving improved operational efficiency and resources for our franchisees,” said Trish Paterson, CEO of Copper Branch.

Foodtastic says that it is looking to aggressively grow its brand in Canada as well as Internationally. Over 40 new locations expected to open in the next 36 months. Foodtastic is the franchisor of multiple restaurant concepts including, Second Cup, Au Coq, La Belle et La Boeuf, Monza, Carlos & Pepe’s, Souvlaki Bar, Nickels, Rotisseries Benny, Chocolato, Big Rig, Bacaro, Rotisserie Joliette, Tommy Café, Gatto Matto , La Chambre and L’Gros Luxe. Foodtastic has over 370 restaurants and $390 million in annual sales.

Tony Flanz of brokerage Think Retail is a point of contact for Foodtastic real estate leasing. 

Adidas Opens Highly-Experiential Store at The Amazing Brentwood Near Vancouver 

Adidas at The Amazing Brentwood (Photo: @the.amazing.brentwood)

Sportswear retailer Adidas has opened a new store in North Burnaby’s The Amazing Brentwood. The store was designed and installed by construction specialist JacTy and features key elements such as a bottle refill staton wall which incorporates ocean topography made from glossy acrylic pieces and encourages the use of reusable water bottles.

Additionally, all vinyl used for in-store graphics in the fitting rooms, the lounge, and on columns is made from a PVC-free material and all decorative wood furniture is FSC Certified, meaning the timber used to produce the furniture came from a forest which has been evaluated and certified as being managed according to the correct social, economic, and environmental standards.

Despite the chaos associated with COVID-19, The Amazing Brentwood has managed to attract some big players to its mall over the past year, including Sporting Life and Nike. 

Adidas operates stores and outlets across Canada in major markets and also has wholesale accounts in various retailers. Adidas is starting to pull out of multi-brand retailers in favour of its own stores, as has been the case for many brands. This trend is picking up during the pandemic. 

Division Twelve Furnishings Opening Toronto Showroom at Keilhauer

Photo: Division Twelve

Toronto-based furniture manufacturer Division Twelve is opening a 600 square foot shop-in-shop this fall at Keilhauer at 1450 Birchmount Road. The Toronto space will feature a dedicated wall-mounted vignette with two furniture drops, anchored with the brand story in the back. The overall design will incorporate custom graphics that will present the company’s expansive 20+ colour offering. 

Division Twelve’s first showroom is now open at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, and a location in New York City at 200 Lexington Avenue will open this fall. All three locations were designed by Toronto-based Figure3

“Reflecting the brand personality, our goal was to create a delightful and memorable experience for visitors,” says Mardi Najafi, Director of Retail Design for Figure3. “Working with the small showroom footprint, we utilized the space efficiently to display the furniture in a playful and inspiring way; an Instagrammable environment to attract attention across all channels.”

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