Sunday, 1 December 2013

News: Saks Fifth Avenue Coming to Bloor Street

Hudson's Bay to convert Bloor Street store to Saks banner.

Hudson's Bay Bloor Street

Last week in an article in the Globe and Mail, Hudson's Bay Company CEO and majority owner Richard Baker confirmed new plans for the retailer's Bloor Street location. The article's author viewed a rendering which showed the store "sleekly redesigned, with a white fa├žade and large sheets of glass at the front. And it prominently displays a new name: Saks Fifth Avenue."

Baker said the Canadian flagship will be the second-largest Saks store in the world (after the New York City location) and at 342,000 square feet nearly twice as large as the nearby Holt Renfrew.

Prior to the conversion of Simpson's Queen Street into The Bay in 1991, the Bloor Street location was the retailer's Toronto flagship. Part of the Hudson's Bay Centre, the store opened in 1974 as the anchor tenant in a complex that includes a 35 storey office tower, a Marriott hotel, condos, and sits atop the city's busiest subway station Bloor-Yonge. The store currently carries a full assortment of departments including furniture, appliances, and a restaurant through six storeys of selling space.

The renovation is expected to cost up to $100 million as the store will need to undergo significant modification. The store currently has low ceiling heights and an awkward maze-like interior layout. A big positive is the store's location at a busy intersection and a huge boom in local development (the large 1 Bloor East is currently under construction across the street).

Baker confirmed that up to eight Saks stores are planned for Canada and that he is currently negotiating for space at Sherway Gardens and Yorkdale. Also on the drawing board is the potential conversion of The Room at Hudson's Bay to Saks departments. Recently HBC appointed former Harrods executive Marigay McKee to president at Saks, and she will help oversee the forthcoming changes at Saks.