Tuesday, 28 January 2014

News: Loblaws Confirms New Kensington Location

After much local opposition, grocer to open new small format store on College Street.

Rendering of The College at 297 College Street
Community group Friends of Kensington Market harnessed considerable public support against the proposal to bring Loblaws to a condo development at 297 College Street, a site 400 metres north of Kensington Market. The group cited the threat the supermarket would bring to local independent retailers.

Now Loblaw Companies Limited has confirmed that a new Loblaws will be part of a 15 storey condo building by Tribute Communities. The store will be 20,000 square feet and be housed on the second floor of the development named The College. Tribute called the planned store a "community-sized grocery store."

Loblaws has been eager to open new urban stores as it seeks to tap into a growing market of downtown condo dwellers. In fact one of the touted benefits of its recent acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart was the pharmacy chain's diverse network of stores including many urban locations. In addition to a massive new flagship at Maple Leaf Gardens, Loblaws recently opened a location at Queen and Portland Streets and announced the renovation of their St. Clair Avenue West store.

297 College Street
The College is planned for completion in 2016. Friends of Kensington Market have also been vocal opponents of a proposed Walmart store on Bathurst Street.

Monday, 27 January 2014

News: Saks Fifth Avenue Coming to Queen Street and Sherway Gardens

As part of $650 million deal, HBC has agreed to sell it’s flagship Queen Street store and adjacent office tower to Cadillac Fairview as it plans two Toronto Saks stores.

Cadillac Fairview and HBC announced the deal this morning which will see HBC continue to occupy the site as part of a leaseback arrangement. The deal will incorporate a multi-level 150,000 square foot Saks Fifth Avenue location into the existing Hudson’s Bay store (which is about 750,000 square feet in size). Cadillac Fairview owns the adjacent Toronto Eaton Centre.

HBC had previously reported its intention to convert the Hudson’s Bay Bloor Street store entirely to Saks Fifth Avenue, this plan has been shelved.

“We’re very pleased to announce this agreement with Cadillac Fairview, which clearly demonstrates the tremendous value of our dynamic real estate portfolio,” said Richard Baker, HBC’s Governor and Chief Executive Officer. “This sale-leaseback provides HBC with resources to deleverage and accelerate investment in our growth initiatives. We continue to explore other options to create additional value through the power and potential of our real estate assets.”

“The opening of our first Saks Fifth Avenue stores at Toronto Eaton Centre and Sherway Gardens brings Canadian shoppers the full array of luxury fashion collections and exceptional service for which Saks is renowned,” continued Mr. Baker. “We especially appreciate Cadillac Fairview’s strong commitment to the Queen Street location and adjacent Toronto Eaton Centre, providing us with the opportunity to be a major part of Toronto’s premier luxury shopping destination.”

The Globe and Mail is reporting that the lease agreement is for 25 years with a renewal option for just under 50. The transaction demonstrates how HBC is willing to unlock the substantial value of its real estate assets (it owns many of its flagship stores).

Saks Fifth Avenue will also open a full line store at Sherway Gardens, which is also owned by Cadillac Fairview.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

News: Nordstrom to open at Toronto Eaton Centre in 2016

American department store Nordstrom to occupy key retail site.

Sears Toronto Eaton Centre - Yonge Street Facade
This morning Cadillac Fairview confirmed the much speculated new tenant of the Sears location at Toronto Eaton Centre will be Nordstrom.

"We're excited to be coming to downtown Toronto at Toronto Eaton Centre," said Karen McKibbin, President, Nordstrom Canada in the official announcement. "We want to serve those who live and work downtown as well the many visitors to the city and think Toronto Eaton Centre is a great place to do so."

Construction will begin in March and will reconfigure the space into a three-level 213,000 square foot full line Nordstrom store. The new store will open in the fall of 2016 along with locations at Yorkdale Shopping Centre and Sherway Gardens. The first Canadian store opens this fall at Calgary's Chinook Centre, with locations in Ottawa and Vancouver opening in 2015.

Sears Toronto Eaton Centre - Mall Entrance
"We are excited to welcome Nordstrom to Toronto Eaton Centre," said Wayne Barwise, Executive Vice President, Development, Cadillac Fairview. "Over the past three years we've spent $120 million in enhancements to Toronto Eaton Centre. This second phase of redevelopment will include an additional $400 million. We are delighted to have Nordstrom be part of this exciting venture as we continue to bring a premier urban retail shopping experience to the city."

Sears announced last year that they would be vacating their Toronto Eaton Centre store in February as part of a $400 million sale of store leases to Cadillac Fairview. Sears obtained the site with its acquisition of Eaton's in 1999 and has operated it as a Sears for over a decade with mediocre results.

Nordstrom will occupy the main level as well as the second and third floor, according to WWD. The lower level will be divided into other retail (a second lower level was similarly reallocated after Eaton's closed). The lower level features a central area dubbed the "Well" where escalators feed into the rest of the store. This could provide an interesting point of entry from the lower level into the new Nordstrom.

Sears Toronto Eaton Centre - Lower Level "Well"
Sears will continue to occupy the upper floors where it maintains its corporate offices. The embattled retailer sold their 222 Jarvis Street head office to the Ontario government in 2007 and converted the upper levels at their Toronto Eaton Centre location into office space. Sears was reportedly paying annual rent of $1 a square foot. This legacy lease was inherited from Eaton’s which co-developed the site with landlord Cadillac Fairview. The store has been steadily shrinking since opening in 1977 as a nine level 1,000,000 square foot Eaton's flagship.

[Click here for the official press release.]

Monday, 13 January 2014

News: Designer Duty Free Lands at Toronto Pearson

New boutiques from Gucci, Ferragamo, and Burberry now open at Canada's busiest airport.

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) and retail partner Nuance Group (one of the world's largest travel retail operators) recently opened an expanded collection of duty free luxury shops at Toronto Pearson.

As part of the development Nuance introduced their global branding and Duty Free Store concept, their first in North America. The concept includes branded mini boutiques creating the feel of a high-end shopping centre. Nuance has developed the boutique format in many key travel retail markets including a substantial presence at London Heathrow.

“We are excited about the opportunity to further develop the duty free program at Toronto Pearson”, said Richard Rendek, CEO Nuance North America in an official announcement. “Working closely with the airport, we have designed a shopping experience that will meet local needs. I am confident that our joint efforts will enable us to make a difference in creating a truly outstanding retail environment with a local touch. We look forward to delivering a world-class duty free offering to passengers travelling through Toronto Pearson.”

The luxury brand boutiques are now open at Toronto Pearson's Terminal 1 (International/Non-U.S. Departures). Boutique selections include leather goods, accessories, fine jewellery, and watches. Brands include Burberry, Coach, Ferragamo, Gucci, Montblanc, Omega, and Tumi.

Nuance continues to manage the regular duty free retail offerings at Toronto Pearson, including beauty, alcohol and tobacco products. Last year the GTAA extended the duty free retailer's contract at the airport for a further five years. Toronto Pearson is Canada's busiest airport and handled 35 million passengers in 2012.

[Images via Toronto Pearson]

News: Is Holt Renfrew Staying at Sherway Gardens?

Original Sherway Gardens expansion rendering
When Sherway Gardens announced a massive renovation in 2012 it appeared that Holt Renfrew planned to remain at the mall. The Sherway expansion is adding 250,000 square feet of shops and services (including a Nordstom department store), a new food court, and a three level 1,200 spot parkade.

A rendering released with the renovation announcement showed the Holt Renfrew store incorporated and enveloped by the expansion at the mall's north end.

Subsequently Holt Renfrew announced the construction of a large new flagship at Mississauga's Square One. Reportedly the retailer wanted to expand their Sherway Gardens location but was not able to reach a deal with mall landlord Cadillac Fairview. It was assumed by many that the Sherway Gardens store would be slated to close but no announcement was made.

Revised Sherway Gardens expansion rendering
A revised rendering is now displayed on the mall's renovation website. The rendering shows the mall's northern expansion stopping at Holt Renfrew, with the retailer's exterior largely unchanged. It appears to confirm that for the moment Holt Renfrew is poised to keep their Sherway Gardens location.

[Renderings via Sherway Gardens]

Sunday, 12 January 2014

News: Kleinfeld Bridal Says Yes to Toronto

Famed New York bridal salon prepares for Canadian debut.

Kleinfeld appointment station at Canada's Bridal Show
Last spring Hudson's Bay announced it had sealed a deal to bring acclaimed New York based Kleinfeld Bridal to its Queen Street store. The bridal emporium has become famous as the setting for the hit TLC reality show Say Yes to the Dress, where brides search for their perfect wedding dress.

Kleinfeld's Hudson's Bay location is scheduled to open in May and will offer over 20,000 square feet of wedding gowns, accessories, jewellery, and shoes. Its new home on the seventh floor of the Queen Street store (which once housed storage and an appliance department) will include 16 fitting rooms, an outdoor terrace, and a Maison Birks boutique.

Kleinfeld introduced itself to Toronto brides with a booth at Canada's Bridal Show last week. It featured a selection of dresses and allowed brides to book appointments for a consultation. Appointments are key to the Kleinfeld experience and can now be made via the website kleinfeld.ca (a microsite on the Hudson's Bay website). When making an appointment the bride is required to create a profile which allows the Kleinfeld consultant to prepare for their appointment, which will last about 90 minutes. Brides are encouraged to bring inspiration photos and share their ideas.

Hudson's Bay hopes the addition of Kleinfeld Bridal will further cement its bridal presence and strong gift registry. They have exclusive rights to the brand in Canada and if the Toronto launch is successful may launch additional locations in other cities.

Hudson's Bay Queen Street also includes the recently renovated Arcadian event venue, popular with weddings. Kleinfeld will be exhibiting at The Wedding Room show, presented by Hudson's Bay at Arcadian February 22nd-23rd.

[Image via Kleinfeld]

Saturday, 11 January 2014

News: Sobeys Introduces Sobeys Extra

Canada's second largest grocery chain opens Sobeys Extra, a new larger format 58,000 square foot store in Burlington.

Sobeys Extra
The new Sobeys Extra replaces a smaller store and will be used as a potential model for more locations across the country. Sobeys Extra will differentiate itself by offering an in-store chef, a wellbeing counsellor, a cheese expert, a natural food department, and special events.

"The grand opening of the first Sobeys extra is a significant milestone in our journey to bring better food to all Canadians," said Marc Poulin, President & CEO, Sobeys Inc. in an official release. "Our new store concept offers customers an inviting atmosphere of food discovery while also offering many extras that will help customers to eat better, feel better and do better.

The store has an increased emphasis on produce, a large bakery, and an expanded section of prepared meals at Sobey's Kitchen (including oven baked pizza, a sushi bar, and a roast beef carvery.) The store's naturals department (the aisles are colour coded in light green) features over 4,000 organic foods, natural healthcare products, gluten-free items, and vitamin supplements. A special events centre will host events by a team of food and health experts.

Sobeys Extra
Sobeys recently signed celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to represent the chain and promote its ethos of "better food for all." The campaign includes a national advertising, new products, and in-store signage focusing on healthier food options.

The Canadian grocery sector has been in a period of tremendous pressure and consolidation. Sobeys recently acquired Safeway stores in Western Canada, Metro is closing some stores while converting others to Food Basics, Loblaw announced its purchase of Shoppers Drug Mart, and all grocers are bracing for intense competition from an expanding Walmart and new entrant Target.

[Images via Sobeys]