According to the Toronto Star, Quebec-based department store La Maison Simons is actively seeking real estate in the Toronto area. The recent sale of store leases by Sears Canada has provided a point of entry for Simons in two of the most coveted shopping centres in the region.
Last week Sears announced that as part of a continuing strategic review of its real estate assets it has decided to sell its Yorkdale and Square One store leases back to the mall landlord (the malls are co-owned by Oxford Properties and the Alberta Investment Management Corp.). The $191 million deal will result in the stores closing in March of next year. The retailer also sold an option for their Scarborough Town Centre location (which the landlords have 5 years to exercise for $53 million).
“In this case, we were presented with an opportunity that gives us a significant financial benefit without changing our plans to improve the business and make Sears more relevant to Canadians,” said Sears Canada President and CEO Calvin McDonald. Sears previously sold store leases back to mall operator Cadillac Fairview, which facilitated the entry of Nordstrom into Canada starting in 2014.
Simons confirmed that they are interested in the spaces being vacated by Sears at Square One and Yorkdale. Last year the retailer opened its first location outside Quebec at Alberta’s West Edmonton Mall and an additional location is planned for Ottawa’s Rideau Centre. The retailer is known for its mixture of on-trend fast fashion and high-end designer brands.
Also, at this week’s Annual General Meeting of the Hudson’s Bay Company, CEO Richard Baker welcomed the competition of both Nordstrom and Simons saying it benefits HBC and would rather have them as neighbours than embattled Sears.