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Mackage To Open Stores Across Canada


May 8, 2014


Montreal-based luxury outerwear brand Mackage will open stores in selected Canadian cities. The company has retained a real estate company to establish its brand across Canada. Despite being Canadian, its first and only free-standing store is in New York City...





Nordstrom Rack Launches Its 1st Website And Mobile App


May 8, 2014


This week, Nordstrom Rack simultaneously launched its new e-commerce website and mobile app. They are on a shared platform with HauteLook, Nordstrom's flash sale business. Both website and app facilitate Nordstrom Rack shopping, as well as participation in HauteLook flash sale events...





Vince Camuto To Open Stores Across Canada


May 7, 2014


American footwear retailer Vince Camuto will open store locations across Canada. The company has teamed up with a real estate firm to spearhead its Canadian expansion, focussing on major enclosed shopping malls. Construction has already begun on its first boutique at Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre, scheduled to open this summer...







Ogilvy Upscales By Adding Armani Collezioni Store


May 7, 2014


An Armani Collezioni boutique has opened on the third floor of Montreal's Ogilvy store. Armani is the latest addition in Ogilvy's endeavour to move increasingly upscale, before becoming a merged Ogilvy/Holt Renfrew store in 2017...





Yorkdale Creates A World-Class Luxury Wing


May 6, 2014


Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre has done what many thought was impossible, by adding world-class luxury stores to a suburban Canadian mall. Traditionally the domain of Canadian downtowns, Yorkdale has changed Canada's luxury game with an unprecedented number of new boutique announcements. Canada's first free-standing Bulgari, Moncler and Jimmy Choo stores will join other Canadian firsts, including David Yurman, Mulberry, John Varvatos and others. Adding to this is a Holt Renfrew store with several large luxury shops-in-store, creating an upscale shopping destination unrivalled in Canada...






Harry Rosen's CEO Receives Distinguished Retailer Of The Year Award


May 6, 2014


The Retail Council of Canada has selected Larry Rosen, Chairman & CEO of upscale menswear retailer Harry Rosen, as recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Retailer of the Year Award...




ANATOMY OF A STORE: Harry Rosen, Yorkdale


May 5, 2014


By Josh MacTate

No two Harry Rosen stores are the same - thanks to a free-thinking, guitar-playing, detail-driven designer named Mark Teixeira

THEY SOUND PRETTY GOOD — two dudes in their 50s, jamming on guitars at the Cherry Beach studios in downtown Toronto. It’s something they do together from time to time, swapping riffs for hours, taking musical ideas and seeing where they lead, getting inside each other’s heads. The guy with the left-handed Fender Strato caster is Larry Rosen, CEO of Harry Rosen Inc.; the other rocker is Mark Teixeira, the man who has designed each Harry Rosen store across the country since the early 1990s. Their most recent hit is the new, 30,000-square-foot flagship store at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto...



Retail News, Emailed Daily


May 5, 2014







Get Retail Insider emailed to you daily, Monday to Friday. Emails include our featured articles, as well as retail news and articles from other sources. Our emails are mobile friendly.









Hudson's Bay Marks 344 Years With Considerable Expansion


May 2, 2014


The Hudson's Bay Company turns 344 today, and it continues to make history. It made news when it bought American luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue, and it made further headlines by announcing its first two Canadian Saks locations. In its 345th year, Hudson's Bay will make further news with its planned store improvements, as well as further new store announcements...





American Girl Opens 1st Canadian Locations


May 2, 2014


Doll retailer American Girl's first two Canadian locations officially open tomorrow. Located in Vancouver and Toronto, its shops are within Chapters/Indigo stores. Though substantially smaller than their US locations, American Girl could make a big Canadian impact by opening as many as 15 locations by the end of next year...





Kleinfeld Bridal Opens 1st Canadian Location


May 1, 2014


Today marks the grand opening of Kleinfeld Bridal's first Canadian location, which is on the seventh floor of Toronto's flagship Hudson's Bay store. The first of its kind in the world, the 20,000+ square foot Kleinfeld also features a Maison Birks jewellery shop-in-store, specializing in diamond rings. Kleinfeld could open in other Canadian cities, if its Toronto location is a success. Given that it has already booked over 2,000 appointments, we may expect Kleinfeld to open more locations in Canada...




Canadian Company Innovates Credit Card Comparisons


May 1, 2014


A Canadian company claims that it provides consumers the ability to search for, compare and apply for credit cards by converting every points, rewards, and miles program to a comparative cash value. The company, GreedyRates.ca, shows users how much each credit card can earn or save them based on their individual profile...




Ontario Tobacco Tax Increase Will Fund Organized Crime?


May 1, 2014


We found this claim interesting. The National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT) is warning the province of Ontario that an increase in provincial tobacco taxes will fuel Ontario's illegal cigarette industry, funding organized crime...




Do Rude Staff Boost Luxury Retail Sales? Yes, According To New Study


April 30, 2014


A new study finds that when it comes to luxury brands, rude sales staff are better for selling. This conclusion was drawn from research done by the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, at a time when Canada's luxury retail market is growing substantially...





Large Outlet Mall Coming To Winnipeg


April 30, 2014


Winnipeg will boast a 385,000 square foot outlet mall by the spring of 2017. Called 'The Outlet Collection at Winnipeg', the project is being developed by Ivanhoé Cambridge, Harvard Developments and Forster Projects...





Dior Homme Is Coming To Vancouver


April 29, 2014


Christian Dior's men's collection, Dior Homme, will be a featured shop within Vancouver's new flagship Dior store. Its men's collection, carried in dedicated boutique spaces, is available in only a handful of North American cities. Construction starts soon, with an expected opening date towards the end of this year...





The Best And Worst Things To Buy In May


April 29, 2014


By Lindsay Sakraida

You may have to skip Apple purchases this month, but it's the right time to fill your cart with spring apparel.

While it's officially been spring for some time now, it seems safe to say that with the month of May comes definitive spring weather. And as the temperatures heat up, so too do the deals! We combed through our shopping archives so that you can put that new-found active spirit to good use by hitting the malls (and surfing online, obviously) in search of the best buys in May. Read on for what you should, and should not, purchase this month...






Vancouver Is Max Mara's Top-Selling North American City


April 28, 2014


Vancouver is North America's top-selling city for luxury Italian fashion brand Max Mara, even surpassing sales in New York City. Vancouver also has the highest number of Max Mara stores of any North American city, with a sixth location scheduled to open next year...





Versace Yorkdale Update: Store Manager Wanted


April 28, 2014


Versace is hiring a manager for its new Yorkdale Shopping Centre store in Toronto. Yorkdale's Versace will be Canada's first free-standing location. Versace will locate beside Salvatore Ferragamo in the mall's 'luxury wing', which continually adds to its roster of upscale tenants...





Aritzia Looking To Open Stores In Saskatchewan


April 25, 2014


Vancouver-based womenswear retailer Aritizia is looking to open stores in Saskatchewan. A source tells us that the company is working with Avison Young to help locate retail space. Saskatchewan had Canada's highest retail sales growth in the first quarter of 2014...

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Jacob’s shuttering points to split in Canada’s retail industry




By Brenda Bouw | Insight – 18 hours ago

  • 9d1fe730-d6e7-11e3-ae51-a1fb54380bd9_06307499.jpg
    The Canadian Press - Jacob clothing store at the Toronto Eaton Centre, Toront, Ont., May 7, 2014. A sign advertising the the store's sales corner is front …more


Consumers who never shopped at fashion retailer Boutique Jacob Inc. may still be mourning its bankruptcy for what it signals for the future of Canada’s retail sector.

Jacob wasn’t a discount retailer, nor was it a luxury brand, but instead a middle player appealing to both budget and fashion-conscious women interested in its casual work attire and lingerie.

But the continuous bifurcation of the Canadian retail landscape – with high-end stores on one side and discounters on the other - is starting to tear apart the industry. That has negative consequence for companies such as Montreal-based Jacob.

“I think there will be more victims of this going forward, “ says Doug Stephens, founder of Retail Prophet.

“We are moving towards a market that will be more barbell shaped, where we have strong activity at the discount end … and luxury performing well on the other. It’s the vacuous middle of the market that’s struggling, and I suspect will continue to do so.”

For example, he’s betting Sears Canada may only have a few years left, and chains such as The Gap, Banana Republic and Club Monaco (all owned by the same company), may also be in trouble.

The middle class in Canada is shrinking, he says, and that’s creating more of a two-tier retail market. Consumers either want a screaming deal at a discount store, or to overpay at a luxury store for a big brand and high-end shopping experience.

“That middle-income earner that used to be such a vital and important part of the economy is disappearing slowly,” he says. “Basically, the U.S. market is playing out in Canada.”

Canadian retailers are already starting to position themselves for the change. He points to Hudson’s Bay, which recently bought U.S. luxury retailer Saks.

“I think we’ll see more of that,” Stephens says.

Target’s troubles in Canada are also a bad sign, but Stephens says that’s more an execution problem on the part of the U.S. discount chain. There was a lot of hype before they entered the Canadian market last year, but once they opened their stores, consumers found bare shelves and prices that weren’t as cheap as anticipated.

“It’s a classic case of over-promising and under-delivering,” he says. “They really underwhelmed Canadians.”

Part of the issue is that, when Target was eyeing Canada years earlier, the economy looked a lot better as compared to the U.S., which was walloped in the 2008-09 recession.

Canada’s economy bounced back a lot quicker from the global economic downturn, but growth here has stagnated since.

At the same time, competition is the retail sector is intensifying. Walmart Canada is investing in a multibillion expansion across the country and Amazon.ca has aggressively expanded its offerings to Canadian online shoppers. The increased competition is also causing a wave of consolidation across the sector, including Loblaw’s takeover of Shoppers Drug Mart and Sobey’s purchase of Safeway’s Canadian assets.

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Altough from the USA, this site looks at a lot of the urban planning issues regarding retailing







The Urban Retail Institute™


Your source to an insider's perspective on urban retail



The Urban Retail Institute has been founded to promote sustainable urban retail for historic and new city centers, with the general goal of providing for the goods and services needed and desired by their residents, workers and visitors.



The URI offers a platform for learning about new trends, research, history and an industry insider's understanding of all aspects of urban retail planning, development, operations and management. The institute is targeted for architects, concerned citizens, developers, educators, financial institutions, policy makers, retailers, students and urban planners.



A wide range of urban retail topics are reviewed including: architecture, big box retailers, department stores, cinemas, grocery stores, entertainment, lighting, independent stores, leasing, lifestyle centers, new urbanism, malls, merchandising plans, national chains, neighborhood centers, parks, parking, restaurants, streetscape, store planning, resorts, urban planning, visual merchandising and zoning policy.



The URI offers educational workshops, white papers, research and peer review for urban retail development and planning,



The URI recently sponsored The Economics of Urbanism, a symposium in Birmingham, Michigan on March 20, 2014. Speakers included James Howard Kunstler, Stefanos Polyzoides, Yaromir Steiner, Peter Allen, James Tischler, Dan Gilmartin and Susan Mosey.



Look for the URI on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

Contact us: [email protected]

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The Urban Retail Institute™



Worth Reading



Principles for Urban Retail Planning & Development

by Robert J. Gibbs, ASLA



Publication Date: January 3, 2012



"...Extraordinary: Gibbs has popped the hood and taken apart the engine of commercial design and development, showing us each individual part and explaining fit, form and function."

—Yaromir Steiner, Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Steiner + Associates



"...the most comprehensive and expansive book ever written on the subject of Retail Real Estate Development. Gibbs is by far the most prominent advocate for reforming retail planning and development in order to return American cities to economic and physical prominence."

–Stefanos Polyzoides, Moule & Polyzoides Architects & Urbanists



American Vitruvius:

The Architects' Handbook of Civic Art

By Werner Hegemann & Elbert Peets



Architecture Choice or Fate

By Leon Krier



Charter of the New Urbanism

Region Neighborhood District & Corridor

By Congress for the New Urbanism



Form-Based Codes

By Daniel G. Parokey, Karen Panolek & Paul Crawford



J.C. Nichols & The Shaping of Kansas City

By William S. Worley


New Urbanism & Beyond

By Tigran Haas



Retail Development

By The Urban Land Institute



Sustainable Urbanism

By Douglas Farr



Sprawl Repair Manual

By Galina Tachieva



Ten Principles for Developing Successful Town Centers

By The Urban Land Institute



The New Civic Art

By: Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyperk & Robert Alminana



Threshold Resistance

A. Alfred Taubman



Threshold Residtace is the physical and psychological barrier that stands between a shopper and the inside of the store" -Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker



Why We Buy

By Paco Underhill

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The Urban Retail Institute™



Industry News



Brooklyn's Fulton Mall Faces Changes



Downtown Brooklyn's Fulton Mall is -- or at least was -- a free-wheeling, almost carnivalesque discount shopping mecca that no one could invent even if they tried...Crusing the 17-block strip, I puzzled over the odd combination shops dotting the blocks: one sold sneakers, perfume, cellphones and ball caps; another offered jewelry, tattoos, electronics and T0-shirts. Finally, a harried handset salesman explained the deal: these stores are four or five small businesses in one, each leasing a short stretch of counter space. Even then, the rent's not cheap. It's not uncommon to pay $5,000 a month for a 10-foot counter span. There are all kinds of makeshift arrangements...If stores like this can thrive, it's likely thanks to the mall's astonishing pedestrian traffic. Sitting amid 14 bus and subway lines, Fulton Mall sees roughly 45,000 shoppers passing through at midday. You could probably sell hairfball futures here and find a few takers...



Will the old-school businesses survive amid the new chains? Happily, there may be some of what consultant types like to call synergy. At Koko Shoes, for example, you can still have a pair of white satin slippers custom-dyed to match your gown. Owner Young Lee showed me his most recent job, a pair of pumps dyed peacock blue. His customer had left her dress behind so he could match the color; it was from the new H&M store down the block. The final word has to come from Dr. Rory Cohen. Tucked away on the ghostly sixth floor of Fulton Mall's Art Deco Macy's, Dr. Cohen still serves as the department store podiatrist; he's a vestige from days when the location housed the flagship Abraham & Straus, a full-service department store complete with a butcher and grocery. He marvels at the changes on Fulton Mall. In five years, he predicts, "You won't recognize it."



But will that be good for his business? Dr. Cohen, it appears, is a wise man. "I don'tk now," he says. "Only God knows."



Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323309404578615830264908080.html?mod=dist_smartbrief







China Opens City-Sized Shopping Mall, With Fake Sun

By Tim Hornyak, as published in CNet July 3, 2013

If you don't care about authenticity, The New Century Global Center has everything you could want, including an artificial Mediterranean village.



The New Century Global Center building opened recently in Chengu, a city of more than 14 million people in southwest China's Sichuan province. It's described as "the world's largest standalone structure" by Chinese officials and is 328 feet high, 1,640 feet long, and 1,312 feet wide.



The cavernous structure will feature a mix of retail outlets, a 14-screen movie theater, a university complex, offices, hotels, a water park called Paradise Island, a skating rink that's big enough to host international competitions, a pirate ship, 15,000 parking spots, and even a fake Mediterranean village.



New Century Global Center



Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57592085-1/china-opens-city-sized-shopping-mall-with-fake-sun/





The Most Expensive Shopping Streets In The World

Cushman Wakefield Ashley Lutz| Nov. 14, 2012

Hong Kong has overtaken New York City as the most expensive shopping area in the world, according to Cushman & Wakefield.



Retailers located in the booming luxury area of Causeway Bay paid an average of $2,630 per square foot for the 12-month period between June 2011 and June 2012, a stunning increase of 34.5 percent over the previous year. Other shopping areas in Hong Kong are also booming thanks to an estimated 30 percent sales growth. Tourists and mainland residents are helping drive demand for luxury handbags, watches and jewelry.

New York City, Paris and Tokyo also saw growth. London's Bond Street slipped off this year's list on weak national demand. New York and San Francisco are some of the first cities to benefit from the slowly-improving U.S. economies. That means that rents in the highly attractive East 57th Street area remained among the world's highest. Hong Kong is the gateway city for many brands looking to enter Asia. With a growing number of mainland tourists and booming demand from locals, more retailers are looking to open in the region.



The 2012 Average Annual Rents/square foot:

#10 Tokyo's Omotesando: $972/sf

#9 Tokyo's Ginza: $1,057/square foot

#8 New York City's Madison Avenue: $1,100/sf

#7 New York City's East 57th Street: $1,100/sf

#6 Paris' Avenue des Champs Elysées: $1,129/sf

#5 Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui: $1,547/sf

#4 Hong Kong's Central: $1,856/square foot

#3 New York City's Times Square: $2,100/sf

#2 New York City's Fifth Avenue: $2,500/sf

#1 Kong's Causeway Bay: $2,630/sf



Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-most-expensive-shopping-streets-2012-11?op=1#ixzz2LrKAoAMb



Quantifying Downtown Detroit's Comeback



By Richard Florida As Published in Atlantic Cities Feb 20, 2013

When people talk about the resurgence of urban America — the shift of people, jobs and commerce back to downtowns and center cities — they're usually talking about a narrow group of elite cities like New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Boston, and San Francisco. That's why a report [PDF] released this week on the transformation of downtown Detroit is so interesting. It documents the ongoing regeneration of a decent sized swath of the city's urban core.



Detroit's Greater Downtown spans 7.2 square miles (reflected in the title of the report). It runs across the city's riverfront* from the central business district to trendy Corktown, home of Slows Bar B Q and Astro Coffee; Mies van der Rohe's verdant Lafayette Park and Rivertown, north to the Eastern Market, Detroit's farmer's market; the Cass Corridor , with arts institutions; Midtown, home to Wayne State University, up Woodward Avenue to Tech Town and New Center (see the map below).







The report draws on new and unique data from local surveys as well as national data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey and other national sources. It is the product of a partnership between the the Hudson-Webber Foundation, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, the Downtown Detroit Partnership, Midtown Detroit, Inc., D:hive, and Data Driven Detroit.



The report draws on new and unique data from local surveys as well as national data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey and other national sources. It is the product of a partnership between the the Hudson-Webber Foundation, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, the Downtown Detroit Partnership, Midtown Detroit, Inc., D:hive, and Data Driven Detroit.

The Greater Downtown corridor has a population of 36,550 people or 5,076 people per square mile. It might not be not downtown Manhattan, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, or Philadelphia, but it compares favorably to other Midwest city-centers, like downtown Minneapolis, with 3.4 square miles and 28,811 people; downtown Pittsburgh at 1.3 square miles and 4,064 people; and downtown Cleveland at 3.2 square miles and 9,523 people. Of these downtowns, only Minneapolis has greater density than Greater Downtown Detroit.



Greater Downtown forms the Detroit region's commercial, educational, and entertainment hub home to major higher ed, arts and cultural institutions, its football and baseball stadiums and hockey arena, and several hundred restaurants, bars and retails shops. Each year, 10.5 million people visit the Greater Downtown area, according to the report.





Elizabeth Rose stands in the first branch of coffee emporium 'Roasting Plant' outside New York, in downtown Detroit on January 25.; (Right) Entrepreneurs Brian Doig and Cyndi Lareau ®, work on their web businesses in the [email protected] building in downtown Detroit on January 25. (both by Rebecca Cook/Reuters)



While Greater Downtown is more affluent than the city as a whole, it lags behind other urban centers. The average per capita income of Greater Downtown residents is $20,216, considerably higher than $15,062 for the city as a whole but behind the nation ($27,334) as well as other urban centers like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.



Residents of Greater Downtown are also more educated than the city as a whole (see table below). College educated residents between the ages of 25 and 34 made up eight percent of the population for Greater Downtown compared to just one percent for the city as a whole, three percent for the state of Michigan, and four percent for the nation. More than four in ten young adults (42 percent) in Greater Downtown were college-educated, compared to 11 percent for the city, and higher than both the state and national rates of 29 and 31 percent, respectively.



Still, one of the most interesting findings from the report is that Greater Downtown is considerably more racially diverse than the city as a whole. Even in the fabled Motor City, downtown's regeneration is being driven at least in part by people looking to live more sensibly and efficiently, with less dependence on the car. The report highlights this trend providing the results of a survey of pedestrian and cycling activity across Greater Downtown's six main districts (see table below).


• As in other cities, Detroit's downtown urban transformation has surfaced a variety of issues. This past summer, Karen Dumas, former press secretary to Mayor Dave Bing, asked if Detroit was losing its fabled grit and becoming too suburban, highlighting the tensions arising with the influx of new, more affluent residents. "On one hand, you see a 'new' Detroit. Young, white, educated and employed are the characteristics of those who are taking a chance on the city. They stand in stark contrast to native Detroiters — most of whom are African-Americans and many who are undereducated and unemployed — who have stayed and stuck it out over the years, through challenge and controversy."

•And while Greater Downtown has seen considerable process, large swaths of the city remain terribly distressed. "We're a long way from gentrification," Kurt Metzger, director of Data Driven Detroit, the source of much of the data for the report, told the Detroit Free Press.

•I will be looking in more detail at these important issues in the upcoming Detroit installment of my ongoing series on America's class-divided cities.


Richard Florida is Co-Founder and Editor at Large at The Atlantic Cities. He's also a Senior Editor at The Atlantic, Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, and Global Research Professor at New York University. He is a frequent speaker to communities, business and professional organizations, and founder of the Creative Class Group.



Big-Box Backlash: The Rebirth of Mom-and-Pop Shops

BY Diana Ransom|January 28, 2013|



Big-Box Backlash: The Rebirth of Mom-and-Pop Shops

David Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal of Warby Parker plan to this year open their first standalone store in New York's SoHo neighborhood.



Call it a retail revival. After getting crushed by big-box stores during the 1980s and 1990s, mom-and-pop shops are enjoying something of a rebirth among U.S. consumers. Thanks to a little thing called the internet and the ubiquity of computing devices, consumers don't have to settle for more commoditized versions of their groceries, clothing or housewares. Between the corner coffee shop selling its dark roast across the U.S. and cheesemongers detailing the delights of Rogue River Blue to out-of-state shoppers, consumers can access the neighborhood store even if they move.



"Being online gives shops the opportunity to reach the world rather than just the tourist trade and local shoppers," says Marshal Cohen, a retail analyst at the Port Washington, N.Y., market researcher NPD Group. "Mom-and-pops have reached out and are using online in a real way that works." While the internet has long promised to serve as a vehicle for democratizing industries like retail, that appraisal is only now starting to add up. Online sales accounted for 5.2 percent of total retail sales in the third quarter of 2012, according to the latest reading from the U.S. Department of Commerce, which tracks the category. That was up 17.3 percent from the same quarter a year earlier. By contrast, total retail sales over the period rose by only 4.6 percent.



"You have a whole generation of people brought up on the internet," says Richard Sylla, an economics and entrepreneurship professor at New York University's Stern School of Business. "I remember I had students saying you should check out Amazon." So while the days of being able to walk to the local butcher shop for your meat, the produce guy for veggies and the bakery for a loaf of rye may be over forever, that relationship -- along with the kind of customized service prized by smaller shops -- is still available today. And as consumers' appetites for small-store goods grows, so too are the companies' footprints.



Not only did Etsy recently give more than 100 online shop owners an opportunity to showcase their wares in real life at the store's holiday pop-up shop in New York City, six-year-old online men's clothier Bonobos announced in April that it would sell its line to retail-powerhouse Nordstrom. Similarly, the once online-only glasses-maker Warby Parker this year expects to open up its first wholly-owned retail location in Manhattan. The three-year-old outfit has experimented with other physical-retail concepts including: pop-up shops, showrooms in select cities and even a mobile-sales vehicle, fashioned out of a yellow school bus.



So why the shift to offline? "We expect that online sales to take share overtime," says Warby Parker co-founder David Gilboa. "But if the vast majority of people who buy glasses do so through brick-and-mortar stores, it makes sense for us to cater to them."



Big Box Backlash The Rebirth of Mom and Pop Shops

Just last year, Murray’s Cheese underwent a major redesign of its website. Owner Rob Kaufelt calls the shift "vital."



In essence, going online when you're offline and offline if you're online is a hedging strategy. "It's like having a portfolio of stocks and bonds," says Murray's Cheese store owner Rob Kaufelt, who just last year ushered in a major redesign of the company's site. "You're never sure if anything is going to tank. . . Some things might do better one year, relatively speaking to the others."



Kaufelt adds that another reason to beef up a company's website is social media and overall online communication. "It's both about ecommerce and marketing your brand. As we expand, we spend more and more time with the fun stuff -- more videos, blogs, entertaining things become increasingly vital," says the entrepreneur who purchased the Greenwich Village cheese shop in 1991. Meanwhile, giant retailers are feeling the pangs of progress. Between same-day delivery and "showrooming," internet businesses with lower-overhead expenses are cutting into their larger counterparts' margins and, in some cases, pushing companies out of business.



Among other examples, the once mighty bookseller Borders Group filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011, while Sears Holdings Corp., the parent of Sears, Roebuck and Co., in April moved to sell off properties and business units under the weight of declining sales. Also in April, Best Buy announced that it would shutter 50 stores, as customers flock to lower-priced online competitors.



To stave off a similar fate, traditional retailers have been experimenting with pricing strategies and even opening their doors on holidays once viewed as sacrosanct. In addition to opening on Thanksgiving to receive early Black Friday shoppers, retailers including Target Corp. and Best Buy also offered to match competitors' prices during the overheated holiday-shopping season. In January, Target announced its plan to implement a year-round price matching program. "Capitalism is creative destruction," says Sylla. "Old models get outmoded, and new models come in and take over."



While the jury is still out as to whether smaller shops like Murray's Cheese and Warby Parker could one day pose a larger threat to their giant counterparts, one thing's for certain: Catering to consumers wherever they are -- and in a robust, customized way -- is a key growth strategy. "Online a decade ago didn't even represent 4 percent of [total retail] sales," says Cohen. In most categories today, he notes that online represents 16 percent of retail sales or more. "Think what will happen with smartphones in two years. . . You have to shoot it at where the target will be, not where it is now."



Warby Parker's Gilboa agrees: "The future of our business and the future of all retail will have some online component and offline component." Plus, he adds, "We'll look nothing like a LensCrafters."







Content copyright 2014. URBANRETAILINSTITUTE.COM. All rights reserved.

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May 16, 2014

by Retail Insider


Breuninger, Düsseldorf, Germany. Photo: Liganova



By Steven P. Dennis


“Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

- Mark Twain*


Media reports highlight the dramatic shift of spending from traditional stores to e-commerce. Industry analysts and pundits predict the demise of brands with substantial investments in retail real estate. We live in an increasingly virtual world, they say, and those with deep roots in the physical realm are starting to look more and more like dinosaurs.


The transformation of shopping fueled by all things digital is profound with no signs of deceleration. The crazy little thing called the internet is changing virtually (pun intended) everything. But anyone who thinks that brick and mortar stores are going away has it wrong. Here’s why.




Photo: Breuninger


Brick and mortar retail can enhance the value proposition. Physical retail offers many important advantages–the ability to see and try on products, instant gratification, face-to-face customer service, social interaction and so on–that digital selling cannot readily replicate.

Purchase events matter. There is a reason that e-commerce penetration in many product categories remains low. Where the risk of buying online is perceived as high (apparel, many big ticket items), direct-to-consumer shares remain in the single digits. Brands like Zappo’s have innovated in customer service to overcome some of e-commerce’s limitations, but long-term growth potential is modest. In fact, e-commerce darlings like Bonobos, Nasty Gal and Warby Parker have begun to broaden their reach–and address flattening growth–by opening physical stores. Plenty of products–particularly perishables and low-priced items–also have underlying economic reasons why direct selling volume will remain constrained.

Consumer segments matter. Great customer intimate brands embrace the notion of treating different customers differently. When you do this, you understand the different needs, wants and behaviours of varied customer types. Depending on the product and the particular consumer, the purchase journey may begin and end at a physical store. For others, they will never set foot in a brick & mortar location. Others will research online and buy in store. You get the idea. Your mission is to understand the role your physical locations play in being intensely relevant and remarkable for the customers you need to attract, retain and grow. Then build out and customize the experience accordingly.



The blended channel is the only channel. Stop thinking channels and start thinking about a consistent, integrated customer experience for your brand. Other than products and experiences that can be delivered completely digitally, the majority of retail purchases are influenced by both the digital and physical realms. More and more data is emerging to confirm this. Your mileage will vary, but silo-ed thinking, organizations, incentives and metrics confuse, rather than illuminate.

Frictionless commerce is essential. Let’s be blunt: there’s more heat than light in the discussion of omni-channel capabilities. Strategically, the key is to hone in on how to be differentiated, relevant and remarkable for the customers you wish to serve. And then you must root out the sources of friction in your customer experience. With more consumers going back and forth between digital and physical channels in their decision journey, if you don’t make it easy to do business with you chances are there is a competitor who is ready to pounce.

Mobile adds value to physical retail. When e-commerce was either sitting at your home or office surfing the web, the distinction between digital and brick & mortar really meant something. Now with consumers untethered and having increasingly powerful devices with them 24/7, mobile becomes the great integrator–and makes the distinction between e-commerce and brick & mortar less relevant all the time.




Photo: Breuninger



Seismic changes ARE impacting retail. With the exception of companies in the early stages of maturity, most retailers need fewer stores and many of the stores they have will need to be smaller. But assuming that physical retail is going away any time soon is just plain wrong. The tendency to isolate e-commerce and brick & mortar performance is equally misguided.


Amazon and a handful of best-in-class e-commerce companies will continue to thrive. And new pure play digital models will undoubtedly emerge to captivate consumers and gobble up share.

But there is plenty of business to be done in physical stores. Less, but still plenty. And most of the growth in what is counted as e-commerce is not a shift to online-only brands, but rather to brands that have cohesive omni-channel strategies. ThinkNordstrom and Macy’s so far. For them, stores are assets, not liabilities. But the way brick and mortar retail drives consumer engagement and loyalty is morphing quickly.


These emerging winners follow a simple but compelling formula:


  • More focused.
  • More differentiated.
  • More relevant.
  • More remarkable.
  • More personalized.
  • More integrated.
  • See you in the blur.

* This isn’t, apparently, the actual quotation, but one that has become part of his folklore.

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Retail in flux


Jacob’s closing puts spotlight on challenges to fashion business. But as stores on Ste-Catherine are boarded up, new players crop up



MAY 16, 2014




Commercial space for rent in 2 buildings at 453 and 455 Ste. Catherine St. west in Montreal, on Monday, May 12, 2014. There is a lot of retail vacancy on Montreal’s main shopping street.


Photograph by: John Kenney , The Gazette




MONTREAL — For more than two years, 10,000 square feet of prime retail space smack in the heart of downtown Montreal has been vacant. A massive “À louer” sign takes up the full second storey window, advertised by Oberfeld Snowcap, the third broker to have the contract for the lease.


This week, a deal was finalized for the prominent property, a relocation for a downtown retailer, said Sylvain Charron, Quebec vice-president of real estate for Oberfeld.


The store, former flagship for U.S. retailer Esprit, is at 900 Ste-Catherine St. W., across the street from Place Montréal Trust. The rent for the property was originally $1.2 million annually, with another $450,000 in taxes.


While Charron can’t reveal the retailer or the rent, he said the deal is in the same ballpark.

It’s a bit of good news for Ste-Catherine St., which has been looking down in the dumps. Plenty of other prime spots remain for rent on Montreal’s main shopping drag: recently, Mango, at the corner of Metcalfe has closed, Mexx shuttered one of its two large multi-storey shops, and soon enough, Jacob’s flagship at the corner of Drummond St. will leave another gaping hole in the wake of the Quebec-based fashion retailer’s announcement May 6 that it is liquidating and closing all 92 boutiques in Canada.

“It’s not pretty on the street right now,’’ one real estate source said.

Charron said rents have indeed been falling, noting rents that were $180 to $200 a square foot a few years ago have dropped to $150 or so.

Real estate retail figures are few. Leasing companies say they are working on gathering statistics. Executives at the big commercial leasing companies say the situation is stable, or perhaps just a bit worse than last year.

"It’s not pretty on the street right now"

André Poulin, president of the downtown business association Destination Centre Ville, agrees there are more vacancies this year than last. And observers have noted that other commercial arteries like St-Denis St., Laurier Ave. W., and St-Laurent Blvd. also have substantial vacancies.

Said one downtown clothing store manager: “Right now, it’s a sad state of affairs. It’s tough,’’ he said, adding there is not a lot of choice or luxury in Montreal stores.

Retail is an industry that adapts quickly, noted Alexandre Sieber, senior vice-president of commercial real estate firm CBRE in Montreal. “It comes in waves,’’ he said of the closings and openings presumably to follow.


Indeed, there are new offerings to come on Ste-Catherine St. W.: Aritzia, a Vancouver-born success story is opening in the former Mexx quarters in the fall (and keeping its Eaton Centre location), G-Star is said to be moving in next to it, and Club Monaco is leaving its Cours Mont Royal digs for an undisclosed Ste-Catherine streetfront. In 2017, Holt Renfrew is planning to move to Ogilvy’s, with an expansion to 220,000 square feet. And for diversification, Mondev has a giant banner for condos to come near Stanley St.

Still, that’s nothing compared with the influx of new retailers — and shoppers — to high-end suburban malls, particularly Dix30 and Carrefour Laval. That influx to the suburban malls perhaps accounts for a huge discrepance between the perception on the street downtown and unadjusted figures from Statistics Canada. Those figures, supplied by Randy Harris at Trendex North America, show a 12.4 per cent increase in specialty store apparel sales in Quebec for 2013 over 2012, compared with 3.7 per cent for Canada as a whole.

There are winners and losers among the fashion retailers, many of which are based in Quebec. And there are benchmarks that point to difficult and changing times.


Sales at Reitmans, Canada’s largest specialty women’s retailer, dropped below $1 billion, to $960,397, a decrease of 4 per cent for fiscal 2014. Net earnings decreased 59.1 per cent.

For Le Château, sales for the year ending Jan. 25, 2014 were flat at $274.8 million. But online sales increased 82 per cent for that period. However, there is no way of knowing if online sales are cannibalizing store sales, Harris said. He also points out that we have no way of knowing just how big a piece of the pie that is.


Another big loser, according to according to Trendex, was Bikini Village, whose total sales for 2013 were down 15.2 per cent.

Gaining share in 2013, according to Trendex reports, were The Bay, Gap, Mark’s H&M and FGL Sports (which includes Sports Experts and Atmosphere).

For Montreal, the closing of Jacob, which once boasted 150-plus stores across Canada and was a model of fashion success, points to the changing retail and real estate landscape brought about by the online shopping and information revolution, the global influx of retailers and the draw of the suburban power malls for shoppers and retailers.

And Jacob may not be the only victim. Trendex believes one additional Quebec apparel retailer will file for bankruptcy protection this year and three in early 2015, Harris said. Of course, he can’t elaborate.


Behind Jacob’s demise

Harris said the primary reason for Jacob’s demise was not poor performance of women’s apparel sales or foreign competition, but because it coasted on its historic reputation for too long.

It failed to differentiate itself from new retailers, under-invested in marketing and relied on “gimmicks” like a policy of not retouching photos of campaign models, he said.

“In the current hyper-competitive market Jacob’s marketing did not give women reason(s) to continually shop the store,’’ Harris said.

The view on the ground is similar.

“You need a unique point of view. Maybe Jacob lost that,’’ said Julie Pesant, a designer who spent 20 years with Jacob, but now runs her own dress niche shop in Mile End, Editions de Robes.

“At the beginning, Jacob was a reference,’’ Pesant said. “But now it is more and more difficult to distinguish yourself.

There is some compassion among retail executives for Jacob’s failure. In 2010, it filed for creditor protection, closed 50 stores and restructured.

“They were trying to restructure (just) as Canada was the hottest retail destination for U.S. retailers,’’ said Bob Kirke, executive director of the Canadian Apparel Federation. He recalled stories of Canadian retailers being shuffled out of their prime locations in malls to make way for the powerful foreign influx.

“I will give them that they were trying to do this (the restructuring) at the worst possible time,” Kirke said. At least Jacob didn’t blame the weather. “The weather was bad for Jacob, but bad for H&M, too.”


The savvy consumer

"The shopper today wants choice. What she sees on Pinterest, or on the Internet — she wants it right away."

The young professional is shopping online and shopping the world. Even if she buys in store in Montreal, she is checking prices and styles on the web. She’s got Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and numerous online shopping aggregates as references.

“The offering is international,’’ said Pesant, the former Jacob designer. We all have the same information, she notes. “There is democratization of good taste.”Pesant says the old retail formula must be reinvented. But even with her niche market at her little dress shop, personal service, reasonable prices and years of experience, she still runs into issues and frustrations.

Pesant recalls a woman who spent three hours in her store choosing a dress. Then the client saw the same dress discounted on a New York shopping site. She wanted a refund, even though the New York site did not ship to Canada.

Caroline Alexander, a stylist and personal shopper with Montreal’s Ludique agency, also notes that the young professional woman who might shop at Jacob also shops the world.

“It’s really hard to compete with the design and the speed at which stores like Zaras and H&M will turn everything around,’’ Alexander said. “Style-wise, they’re not as fast,’’ she said of local chains, “and they don’t have the breadth.

“They’re in a really hard place to compete.”

The shopper today wants choice, Alexander said. “What she sees on Pinterest, or on the Internet — she wants it right away and she doesn’t want to pay a lot for it.

“Sadly, people investing in a few good pieces for the season has gone by the wayside.’’

‘An ever-moving target’

Julia Hansen, the president and chief creative officer of Mexx, was in town this week to tout the brand’s repositioning, acknowledging that the product and consumer interest in Mexx has suffered in recent years.

“The fashion world is an ever-moving target,’’ said Hansen, relatively new to her job. Mexx, born in Amsterdam, was bought by Liz Claiborne 2001, but sold off 10 years later. Canada was a natural choice for Hansen’s visit; interestingly, more than half of the company’s 170 corporate owned stores are in Canada, 28 of them in Quebec. “We had a retail strategy here,’’ she said, pointing out that Canada has few department stores in comparison with Europe.

“Admittedly, we have fallen behind the eight ball, staying with the style and trend, positioning us as a unique and distinct brand.”

The financial crisis was partly to blame for that loss of a distinctive view, she said. “We ended up trying to be everything to everyone over a period of time as opposed to our conviction of being a very effortless European style for the urban consumer.”

The closing of one of the two Mexx stores on Ste-Catherine was not going to work out long term, she said, adding Mexx, like every company in business, is always assessing its real estate portfolio.


The Canadian consumer is becoming more global, not as insulated as in the past, according to Hansen.

“You have to be a global brand that engages a global consumer to be successful in Canada,’’ Hansen said.

Mexx does not compete with the other European brands like “value’’ and fast-fashion H&M or Zara, she says.

“This is really about curating this design esthetic. We have a branded point of view, and that point of view is rooted in Amsterdam,’’ Hansen said.

The online onslaught

The Le Conseil québécois du commerce de détail, or Quebec retail council, says 50 per cent of its members don’t have websites.

“That’s huge,’’ said director general Léopold Turgeon. The council is lobbying for the government to help retailers set up online sales, noting Quebecers bought $1 billion of goods online in 2013, from inside and out of Quebec, a 25 per cent increase over 2012.

“The consumer already buys online. It’s just a different distribution channel,’’ he said, pointing to several online apparel success stories in Quebec — Beyond the Rack, SSense, Sur Mesur and Frank & Oak — which sell well beyond our borders.

The retail council wants a government committee to study the “serious challenges that will have an impact on employment, real estate and retailers.”

Quebec has already granted $52 million in subsidies and loans to shoe giant Aldo to invest in web technology, a move Turgeon sees as a step in the right direction.

The retail council’s latest figures point to a very light increase in sales for January and February. Still, Turgeon said, there are winners and losers and for many, the brutal winter meant a lost season.

Kirke, the apparel federation director, said online presence is an essential part of retail and if people are asking for help, that demonstrates there are some real challenges.

Quebec fashion retailers are not as big as they need to be for online investment, Kirke said, adding Reitmans and perhaps Le Château are not in that category.

Is it really additional sales?, Harris asked of online business. “We have no way of knowing because no Canadian company breaks out its online sales.

”As a statistician and an economist I am appalled by what I don’t know,’’ he said, adding there is concern in the U.S. that e-commerce is cannibalizing certain retailers. But to what degree, nobody knows.

As for Le Château’s 82 per cent increase in online sales, Harris said, “if the online sales went from $10 to $18, I am underwhelmed.”


Global influx

Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, H&M, Zara, Mango, Forever XXI — these are now very much a part of the retail landscape.

Saks, Nordstrom and Chicos are coming to Canada, but perhaps not Montreal just yet. Toronto already has J.Crew, Ann Taylor and a host of luxury names like Jimmy Choo, Bulgari and Moncler at its suburban Yorkdale mall. Some analysts say we should brace for the arrival of Japanese giant Uniqlo.


“The fact that these new entrants are world-class companies cannot be ignored,” Kirke said. “There’s just no room any more to be just okay.”

Said Harris: “I think it is a safe assumption that the foreign retailers — both U.S. and all others — are taking share away from Quebec headquartered retailers.”

For many years, mid-size Quebec retailers had some protection because of French language requirement: many foreign stores have not opened here or were late to arrive, Kirke said. The bigger market in Toronto is also a factor.

“Imagine,” he said, “we’re going to have Nordstrom in Ottawa. Montrealers will drive to Ottawa for fashion.’’

Nordstrom’s entry into Canada includes four stores — in Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa and Calgary — by 2016, with no date set for Montreal.

Then there is Target, whose massive push into Canada with 124 stores last year was closely watched, particularly as it miscalculated the way Canadians shop, fumbled on inventory and saw its earnings drop. Target, which took over Zellers leases, buys much less domestically than Zellers did, Kirke pointed out, challenging the other end of the apparel market, the wholesalers and producers.

“Target’s missteps are going to slow down people a little bit coming into the market,” he said. “But the last time I looked, people were shopping there.”

“The bloom is off the rose,’’ in terms the stampede to Canada, Kirke said. But the retailers are still coming.


Andrew Cross, publisher of Espace Montréal, a commercial real estate guide, said retail acts differently than other commercial real estate in that there are always winners and losers.

In terms of real estate, winners these days might be considered the huge power centres to the north and south of Montreal Island — Carrefour Laval and Dix30.

Many retailers — domestic and international — open in those centres before downtown Montreal. Some recent entries include Holt Renfrew’s hr2, Marshalls, Zara Home, Pottery Barn, Williams & Sonoma, Crate & Barrel and Victoria’s Secret — none of which have downtown locations yet. Zara’s high-end Massimo Duto is going to Rockland Centre in the fall. H&M and Banana Republic first opened at malls.

“That’s where the sales are in terms of retail,’’ Cross said. “Suburbs have a more affluent mix of pedestrians.”

Jean-François Grenier of Altus Group, a real estate consultant firm, cited the $180 to $200 a square foot figure for rents in the heart of downtown, roughly between McGill College Ave. and de la Montagne. “You need a lot of sales to do that,’’ Grenier said.

Rents at Carrefour Laval range from $100 to $130 per square foot, more in the food court, Grenier said, while at Dix30, the rent might be $60 gross per square foot.

It’s not that easy to make money downtown, he said. The best store downtown might do $700 per square foot in sales, with rare exceptions. And that is about the same for Carrefour Laval, with the exception of department stores.


He acknowledged there while there are more vacancies this year on Ste-Catherine, the downtown core is “not in bad shape.” St-Denis, Laurier and Mont-Royal seem to be suffering. Those streets have more independents, which don’t have deep pockets to withstand bad seasons.

Harris, of Trendex, hazarded a guess that those leaving Ste-Catherine St. were Quebec-based retailers asking themselves if the high rents justified the sales. “Most Quebec retailers are looking at their store counts, and saying, ‘Should we be closing a couple of these stores we’ve been consistently losing money on?’’’

Many of the foreign entrants, on the other hand, go straight to the high-profile malls, Harris agreed.

Ste-Catherine is not Bloor St., he said of Toronto’s tony shopping mecca.

“You want to be there for public relations and marketing,’’ he said of Bloor. That same mentality does not apply to Montreal’s main shopping street, he said.

Foreign retailers are scared to come downtown, Harris said, because they don’t know what they’re getting into. “They know there’s traffic in the mall and that’s why they’re going there.

“I think you’re going to continue to see retail shops boarded up on Ste-Catherine St.”

[email protected]

Twitter: evitastyle


© Copyright © The Montreal Gazette




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  • 3 weeks later...



June 2, 2014 12:18 pm

Big-name retailers don’t want to come to Canada anymore


By Jamie Sturgeon Global News


U.S. high-end retailer Nordstrom decided earlier this year to delay the launch of its discount Racks chain in Canada.

Tim Boyle/Getty Images

What a difference a year makes.

At the beginning of 2013, Canada was regarded as fertile grounds for new retailers to set up shop in, with Target Corp. readying for itswidely anticipated Canadian launch while high-end chains like Nordstrom were making splashy expansion announcements.







This spring, with Target’s first-year foibles — and mounting losses — fresh in people’s minds, the country’s shopping malls and retail destinations seem to have lost much of their shine.

“Once the darlings of the retail world, Canadian cities now have to compete more aggressively for retailer expansion dollars,” a new report from CBRE Ltd., a commercial real estate company, said Monday.

READ MORE: Target’s biggest headache in Canada? Bare store shelves

At the end of 2012, Canada was No.6 among countries attracting new retailers. Now, “Canada no longer ranks among the countries attracting the most new retailers and did not have a city ranked among the top 20 most targeted markets,” the CBRE report said.


Target’s missteps are likely weighing on other retailers’ minds. Nordstrom decided in March to delay the Canadian launch of its discount chain, Rack, to 2017.

Target, a U.S. retailing giant, has opened 127 stores in Canada over the past 14 months, but has largely disappointed customers withinventory management issues resulting in bare shelves and prices perceived as being too high.

Another factor deterring new retailers: slowing consumer spending.

Canadian shoppers continued to open their purse strings through 2013, but high consumer debt levels are expected to deliver a hit to spending habits in the months and even years ahead, experts predict.

READ MORE: Is Canada’s record borrowing boom coming to an end?

“Our forecast calls for moderation in the pace of real consumer spending over the next two years as modest gains in employment and income are counterbalanced by the high debt loads carried by the Canadian consumer,” TD Economics experts said earlier this month.

Here’s how debt levels have trended over the the past decade to the end of 2013.


The top cities in the world for attracting new retail options for shoppers were Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi and Berlin. Interestingly, not one U.S. city made the Top 20, either.

The United States market “is considered highly competitive, and this is perceived as a barrier to entry,” the report said.

The recent failure of Tesco’s Fresh & Easy grocery chain has “reinforced the belief that even the most successful global retailers can fail in the U.S.,” the report said.

Here’s the top cities attracting retailers this year:


WATCH: Snobby retail staff boost luxury sales, new report suggests

GBC1140429KE_640x360_241190467536.jpg?w=670© Shaw Media, 2014



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