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Found 7 results

  1. Can Richard Baker reinvent The Bay? MARINA STRAUSS From Monday's Globe and Mail NEW YORK — Richard Baker, the new owner of retailer Hudson's Bay Co.,mingled with the New York fashion elite as the lights dimmed for designer Peter Som's recent show, offering opinions and taking a close look at the latest in skirts and dresses. It's a stark contrast to previous HBC owner Jerry Zucker, who HBC insiders had a hard time picturing with fashionistas in New York. But Mr. Baker, who made his name in real estate, knows it is time for a new approach at the struggling retailer. “As an entrepreneur I'm not necessarily fixated on how things were done in the past,” says Mr. Baker. “We function and we think much more like a specialty retailer rather than a department store retailer. A specialty retailer is much more nimble and willing to adjust to the environment than department stores, historically. Department stores, frankly, haven't changed a whole lot in 100 years.” His Purchase, N.Y.-based equity firm, NRDC Equity Partners, has snapped up a string of dusty retailers, among them HBC's underperforming Bay and Zellers. The Bay operates in the department store sector which is on the wane, squeezed for years by specialty and discount chains. Zellers struggles in a low-priced arena dominated by behemoth Wal-Mart Canada Corp. The need for a makeover is clear: The Bay's sales per square foot are estimated at merely $142, and Zellers', $149 – a fraction of the estimated $480 at Wal-Mart Canada. At Lord & Taylor, which also lags some of its key U.S. rivals in productivity, Mr. Baker has had some success in its efforts to return to its high end Americana roots. But the 47-store chain is feeling the pinch of tight-fisted consumers and, late last month, he unveiled a shakeup at the top ranks of his firm's $8-billion (U.S.) a year retail businesses to try to shave costs. Still, he is pouring money into the chains in other ways, quickly distinguishing himself from Mr. Zucker, who died last spring. While the former owner had named himself CEO despite his lack of merchandising experience, the new owner has handpicked a team of seasoned merchants at the senior levels of his retailers. And while Mr. Zucker shunned publicity and focused on more mundane, although critical, matters, such as technology to track customer demand, Mr. Baker enjoys the limelight. Now he is betting on the fragile fashion sector as an engine of growth. Last fall he set up Creative Design Studios (CDS) to develop designer lines for Lord & Taylor, now, HBC and, eventually, retailers around the world. Mr. Baker is “looking at every one of the properties with a different viewpoint,” says Walter Loeb, a former member of HBC's board of directors and a consultant at Loeb Associates in New York. “He has new ideas. He doesn't want to keep Hudson's Bay in its present form.” Nevertheless, “this team has taken over a not particularly healthy business,” says Marvin Traub, a former executive at Bloomingdale's who runs consultancy Marvin Traub Associates in New York. “They know and understand the challenges. It will take some time to fix them.” What Mr. Baker looks for in retailers is faded brands that have the potential to be revived. Early this year, NRDC acquired Fortunoff, an insolvent jewellery and home décor chain. The synergies among NRDC's various retailers are tremendous, says Gilbert Harrison, chairman of New York investment bank Financo Inc., which advises Mr. Baker. So is the value of the real estate. At HBC, it is estimated to be worth $1.2-billion, according to industry insiders. That's just a little more than the equivalent purchase price of the retailer itself. Lord & Taylor's real estate was valued at $1.7-billion (U.S.) when Mr. Baker acquired the company in 2006 – about $500-million more than he bought it for. “Initially I thought, good luck,” says Mr. Gilbert. “He's bought this in one of the most difficult retail environments that we've seen for 20 or 30 years. … “But he's protected his downside because the basic real estate values of Lord & Taylor and, now Hudson's Bay, certainly help prevent tragedy.” Mr. Baker likes to tell the story of buying Lord & Taylor for its real estate, and then on the way to signing the deal noticed how well the stores were performing. Like most other U.S. retailers, Lord & Taylor has seen business slow down recently. But its transformation to appeal to the well heeled had begun even before Mr. Baker arrived. It had dropped an array of tired brands, such as Tommy Hilfiger and Nautica, and picked up trendier labels, among them Coach and Tracy Reese. Mr. Baker encouraged the strategy of expanding and upgrading higher margin designer handbags and footwear. Ditto for denim wear and funky styles in the women's “contemporary” section under hot labels such as Free People and Diesel. “My job is to understand that we need to get the best brands in the store.” But he also saw the opportunity to bolster margins by stocking affordable lines in the form of CDS brands, with a focus now on Black Brown 1826 men's wear line. “I thought there was a void in the market for exactly the kind of clothes that my friends and I wear, at a right price. Why should we pay $150 for a dress shirt?” he asks, holding up one for $69. Now Mr. Baker wants to borrow a leaf from the Lord & Taylor playbook for HBC. He wants to introduce better quality products with higher margins, and plans to add his design studio merchandise to the stores early next year. Besides the details, he sees a whole new concept for the big Bay department stores. It would entail shrinking the Bay, possibly introducing Lord & Taylor within the stores, and adding Zellers in the basement and Fortunoff jewellery departments upstairs, with office space at the top. Lord & Taylor would serve to fill a gap in the retail landscape between the Bay and carriage trade Holt Renfrew, he says. For discounter Zellers, he seems to take inspiration from Target Corp., the fashionable U.S. discounter, by putting more focus on branded apparel. But he's not averse to selling parts of the business, or real estate, if the right offer came along either. “We're always available to sell things at the right price, or buy things at the right price.”
  2. http://lapresseaffaires.cyberpresse.ca/economie/quebec/201101/06/01-4357544-montreal-manque-de-studios.php?utm_categorieinterne=trafficdrivers&utm_contenuinterne=lapresseaffaires_LA5_nouvelles_98718_accueil_POS14
  3. Le propriétaire de Lord & Taylor Une firme de New York pourrait acquérir La Baie d'Hudson http://argent.canoe.com/lca/infos/canada/archives/2008/07/20080710-075109.html ARGENT Le propriétaire de Lord & Taylor a entamé des discussions en vue d'acquérir la Compagnie de la Baie d'Hudson, une transaction qui, selon certaines sources, pourrait permettre à la chaîne de magasins à rayons américaine de s'implanter au Canada. La firme NRDC Equity Partners of Purchase, de New York, qui possède la chaîne de 47 magasins aux États-Unis, détient déjà une participation de 20% dans HBC, à qui appartient les magasins La Baie, Zellers, Home Outfitters. Le chef de la direction de NRDC, Richard Baker, a mentionné lors d'une conférence récente qu'il envisageait d'ouvrir des magasins à l'extérieur des États-Unis et que le Canada figurait parmi les pays considérés. «Cet acheteur potentiel m'a semblé très déterminé à aller de l'avant», a dit une source informée de discussions récentes avec HBC. Ni M. Baker ni les dirigeants de HBC n'ont voulu commenter l'information mercredi. La destinée de HBC repose entre les mains de la famille de Jerry Zucker, un milliardaire américain qui a acheté le détaillant canadien pour 1,1 milliard de dollars en 2006, mais qui est décédé en avril. Sa veuve, Anita Zucker, a par la suite pris les commandes de l'entreprise. Depuis, la famille a dit vouloir continuer d'exploiter la compagnie, fondée en 1670, ce qui n'a pas empêché plusieurs observateurs de l'industrie de croire qu'elle pourrait changer d'idée. Si elle se concrétise, l'acquisition de HBC par le propriétaire de Lord & Taylor consacrerait le mariage de deux des plus anciens acteurs dans le domaine des chaînes de magasins généralistes. Dans la dernière décennie, cette industrie a été durement touché par la concurrence féroce des magasins spécialisés et des chaînes à bas prix comme Wal-Mart. De leur côté, tant HBC que Lord & Taylor déploient tous deux beaucoup d'efforts depuis environ deux ans afin de rajeunir leur image. Mercredi, des sources citées par le site web Women's Wear Daily affirmaient que la firme NRDC était déterminée à acquérir HBC.
  4. Where to buy now We tell you exactly which neighbourhoods are set to skyrocket in value. MONTREAL A small slice of Europe on this side of the big pond, Montreal has been dubbed Canada’s sexiest city. With a jam-packed festival season that includes the highly rated Just For Laughs comedy festival and the Festival International de Jazz, along with an array of local boutiques, restaurants and bistros, Montreal offers something for everyone—as long as you can find a job. While the national unemployment rate hovers at around 7%, Montreal’s unemployment rate sits at 8.2%. Still, the city saw a 4% rise in its population from 2011 to 2012 and announcements of inner-city rejuvenation—including the new McGill University Health Centre—are helping bolster property prices. Real estate is still cheap compared with other major Canadian cities—the average price of a home on Montreal Island is $481,386, and if you broaden the boundaries and look at the Greater Montreal Area, including the North and South Shores, the average home price is $324,595. “It’s comparatively cheaper than say Toronto or Vancouver, but we also battle to attract jobs,” explains Jeffrey Baker, a realtor with Royal LePage Dynastie. The best real estate opportunities right now are on the island itself. First on our list is the Rosemont/La Petite Patrie area, known locally as Little Italy. “This area is very, very hot,” says Baker. A big reason is that the neighbourhood is on the northern border of the Le Plateau/Mont-Royal area—a vibrant, popular and expensive place located near downtown. “Rosemont/La Petite Patrie isn’t a Plateau want-to-be,” says Baker. “It has its own distinct character. But many people who start out renting in Plateau end up buying here.” In fact, this is what Matthew Taylor, 50, and his 40-year-old Rosa De Leon did earlier this year. “We bought in mid-December after living and renting for 20 years in Plateau-Mont-Royal,” says Taylor, a CEGEP teacher at Dawson College. While the couple originally wanted to purchase in Plateau, they found they were priced out of the market. “Everything we looked at within our budget was far too small for a family of four,” says Taylor. That’s when the couple started looking at other neighbourhoods, eventually settling on a duplex in La Petite Patrie. “We really love checking out the local restaurants,” says Taylor. They aren’t the only ones. In the last three years, as the neighbourhood has become popular with buyers, prices have zoomed up 23%. “This is a high density area with lots of picturesque homes,” Baker says. In recent years many older textile buildings were converted into lofts, explains Amy Assaad, a Royal LePage Heritage realtor. This provided great first-time buyer opportunities, while helping to gentrify the neighbourhood. If the average property price of $468,000 is a bit daunting, consider our next top neighbourhood of Villeray/Saint Michel/Parc-Extension. Directly to the north, this large area has a population of 142,000 residents. The main draw is the neighbourhood’s affordability. Average property prices are more than $100,000 cheaper than neighbouring communities and the area is experiencing dramatic growth. “Lots of condo conversions are taking place in this community,” Assaad says. David Schneider, a Sutton Group Immobilia realtor and history-buff, explains that historically the neighbourhood has been one of the poorest urban communities in Canada. “Cheap rents meant students have been living here for decades. This, in turn, has made the area cool.” The third neighbourhood in our Montreal ranking was South-West (also known as Sud-Ouest). Homes in this area are 11% cheaper than the average Montreal Island home, but area prices have appreciated 40% in the last three years. “I’ve been buzzing about this neighbourhood for the last five years,” says Schneider. “Property values here are undervalued.” It’s an opinion shared by Nikki Tsantrizos, 29, and her partner, Steve Lavigne, 34. Two years ago, the couple started looking in the St. Henri district of South-West for a place to buy. “We’d rented in the area for 10 years and despite being a rough area, just loved it.” That was two years ago. Now, a full reno later, the value of their home has risen 40%. “When we bought there were strip clubs, hotdog stands and poutine shops,” says Tsantrizos. “Now these have been replaced by trendy cafes and boutiques.” But despite being close to downtown, the canal and the Atwater Market, this area’s reputation has been marred by social housing projects. Even so, recent developments are starting to put the community on the map. For instance, a high-tech hospital—slated to open in 2015—is prompting speculation on future home prices. Two other neighbourhoods to consider are Verdun and LaSalle—both on the southern tip of the island. While Verdun is an older neighbourhood (originally settled by the Irish) it’s got a lot of potential. Despite a three-year appreciation of 22%, families may be leery of the area, given its high crime rate. Still, with its close proximity to the canal, downtown, the Métro (Montreal’s subway system) and Concordia University, it’s only a matter of time before the area experiences true gentrification. Homes in LaSalle are also rising, with an 11% increase in the last year alone. “Though it’s much more suburban than the other four neighbourhoods—and not as well-served by transit—it provides a less dense community that’s very family-oriented,” Schneider says. It’s also a place known for having some of the best shopping in the city. http://www.moneysense.ca/property/buy/where-to-buy-now-2
  5. NRDC Equity buys Hudson's Bay MARINA STRAUSS Globe and Mail Update July 16, 2008 at 1:32 PM EDT Upscale U.S. department store chain Lord & Taylor is about set up shop in Canada. The company that owns Lord & Taylor bought Hudson's Bay Co. on Wednesday and will convert up to 15 of its key Bay department stores to the U.S. retailer's name. The move marries the two oldest department store retailers in North America, and will create an $8-billion (U.S.) merchandising powerhouse for the new buyer, NRDC Equity Partners of Purchase, N.Y. It will combine HBC's Bay, Zellers, Home Outfitters and Fields chains with NRDC's Lord & Taylor and Fortunoff, the jewellery and home decor chain. “By acquiring Hudson's Bay Co. along with previous acquisitions Lord & Taylor and Fortunoff, we will have an unprecedented opportunity to recreate the retail landscape in North America,” said Richard Baker, chief executive officer of NRDC. The newly expanded holding company will be called Hudson's Bay Trading Co. “Enormous potential exists by upgrading the offerings at both the Bay and Zellers and by bringing Lord & Taylor, Fortunoff and CDS into the mix.” CDS, or Creative Design Studios, produces fashion lines. The deal, for an undisclosed amount, comes just three months after the death of Jerry Zucker, the South Carolina businessman who acquired HBC in early 2006 for $1.1-billion and took it private. Mr. Zucker began to make changes at the chains, moving the Bay more upscale and adding new brands to the mix, while renovating Zellers stores and expanding Fields. Last summer, he appointed his chief lieutenant, Robert Johnston, as president of HBC. He was promoted to chief executive officer in April and succeeded Mr. Zucker on his death. Now Mr. Baker, who becomes the 38th governor, or chairman, of HBC, is investing $500-million into the combined new company and is set to put his own stamp on the retailer. Mr. Baker is already familiar with HBC, having sat on its board of directors since 2006. NRDC owns what is believed to be about 20 per cent of HBC. He said in a statement he plans to convert the Bay's most high-profile 10 to 15 stores to Lord & Taylor. It's a high-end U.S. fashion department store chain that was bought by Mr. Baker's holding company in 2006 and has since enjoyed a turnaround under his watch. It has also moved to more high-end fashions after closing some of its weaker outlets, leaving it with 47 stores. HBC has about 580 outlets in all. Lord & Taylor will serve to fill a gap in the Canadian retail landscape between the Bay and the carriage trade Holt Renfrew, Mr. Baker said. He wants to put greater focus on branded apparel at discounter Zellers, he said. He plans to improve its customer service and, in the future, roll out new 125,000-square-foot prototype stores. He will also bring Fortunoff to Canada, both as standalone stores and within the Bay. And he wants to expand NRDC's Creative Design Studios, selling its branded collections throughout North America and internationally. Its brands include Peter Som's eponymous collection as well as the Kate http://www.reportonbusiness.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080716.whbcstaff0716/BNStory/Business/home
  6. http://blog.buzzbuzzhome.com/2013/02/montreal-condo-market-optimism.html While the age-old rivalry between Toronto and Montreal has pitted the cities’ hockey teams and arts scenes against each other, there’s another set of bragging rights up for grabs. Which metropolis has the better condo market? Toronto may have mind-boggling number of new units coming on the market, but Montreal is no slouch when it comes to construction crane sightings. We previously reported on the flurry on new builds in Quebec’s largest city and now there are new numbers to make the case for the Montreal boom. Despite concerns about the market overheating, Property Biz Canada pinpointed some optimistic stats coming out of the Quebec Apartment Investment Conference: About 7,726 condo units will be delivered by 2016 in the downtown area, which includes Old Montreal, Griffintown and the Lachine Canal. Of those units, 64 per cent (or 4,658 suites) have already been sold or reserved, leaving 2,568 units left to be sold in the next four years (or 642 a year). According to Debbie Lafave, senior vice president of Baker Real Estate, investors make up 50 per cent of buyers of downtown Montreal condos, compared to the higher percentages suggested for Toronto. Some developers suggested that rental apartment buildings likely aren’t being built since rents in Montreal are too low and construction and land costs are too high to justify their construction. And condos are the most affordable means of entry-point into the Montreal market for first-time buyers. With a condo boom in Canada’s two largest cities, we can’t help but wonder: which city will see the steadiest gains and sales in the future?