Monday, 29 September 2014

Holt Renfrew Men Suiting Up for October Opening

Holt Renfrew targets men with new Bloor Street store.
Holt Renfrew Men

Today Holt Renfrew announced that their Holt Renfrew Men store at 100 Bloor Street West will officially open October 1st. At 16,500 square-feet, Holt Renfrew Men will provide a dedicated space to men's luxury brands.

"Holt Renfrew is proud to enhance its unique position as Canada's specialty luxury retailer," said Holt Renfrew President Mark Derbyshire. "As part of our substantive growth and customer experience strategy, we are pleased to present Holt Renfrew Men: a personalized retail experience tailored to the modern man."

Showcased will be menswear, shoes, and accessory collections from brands such as Bottega Veneta, Canali, Zenga, Gucci, and Paul Smith. Holt Renfrew has also partnered with local menswear purveyor Walter Beauchamp Tailors to offer bespoke suiting.

Holt Renfrew Men Interior
With the opening of Holt Renfrew Men comes new masculine branding. The HR logo is rendered in a solid cube and the signature magenta is replaced here with warm grey.

Holt Renfrew Men Branding
The store was designed by Janson Goldstein, a New York based firm that recently worked on Holt Renfrew's renovated Yorkdale store. As at Yorkdale, Holt Renfrew Men will include dedicated shopping suites and personal shoppers. Alterations, a valet service, shoe shining, and monogramming round out the store's offerings.

Holt Renfrew Men
Holt Renfrew Men is part of a multi-year $300 million company wide investment to expand the chain's retail square footage by 40%. Also planned is a new store at Mississauga's Square One, extensive renovations at the Bloor Street flagship, and an e-commerce website scheduled to launch next year.

The opening comes as retailers Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue prepare to enter the Toronto market. Holt Renfrew Men will aim to solidify the retailer's menswear business and will no doubt ensure competition for the Harry Rosen flagship just steps away.

[Press release and images via Holt Renfrew]

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Nordstrom Introduces A New Way to Shop ... Via Instagram

Venerable retailer aims to reach millennial shoppers with social media platform.

Nordstrom's Instagram feed (left) and Like2Buy page (right)
For years retailers have been looking for ways to channel the power of social media. To varying degrees of success, brands have been using platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to connect with a generation of customers largely unreachable via traditional advertising methods.

Instagram is one space that has been challenging to commercialize. Largely ad free, (although Michael Kors ran Instagram's first ad last year), Instagram offers a huge potential audience to a brand.

Nordstrom is partnering with Curalate to "bridge the gap" between their Instagram feed and their online store with Like2Buy. By using Like2Buy, a retailer can make their Instagram feed instantly shoppable.

When customers browse Nordstrom's Instagram feed they'll see a "Link in profile" caption atop product photos. By then accessing the main Nordstrom profile page, customers can use the link to access Like2Buy. From there customers can purchase those items directly from the Nordstrom e-commerce website.

"We continue to hear from many of our customers that they want speed and convenience incorporated into all the places they shop – including our social platforms," said Bryan Galipeau, social media director at Nordstrom in the official launch announcement. "We connect with more than 500,000 customers on Instagram by posting items we hope they find inspirational, beautiful and fun. Like2Buy enhances the experience for customers who want to take the next step and learn more about the great fashion we're featuring, to make a purchase or save items for another time."

Nordstrom is opening its first Canadian store September 19th at Calgary's Chinook Centre. While there is no dedicated domestic e-commerce site, Canadian shoppers can utilize Link2Buy and purchase via the US Nordstrom website.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Holt Renfrew Announces Store Enhancements and Closures

Moves are part of a multi-year strategic refocusing on flagship doors.

Holt Renfrew Bloor Street
Holt Renfrew has confirmed details about plans to refine their operations.

"We are focused on Holt Renfrew's unique position as Canada's specialty luxury retailer," said Holt Renfrew President Mark Derbyshire. "As part of our dynamic growth strategy, we are announcing further updates in our plans to expand our flagship store network."

The Holt Renfrew Bloor Street flagship will be completely renovated and expanded and complemented with a new Holt Renfrew Men store at 100 Bloor Street. Modeled on Holt Renfrew Yorkdale's recently renovated menswear department, and set to open this fall, Holt Renfrew Men will be a standalone store with a focus on suiting.

Holt Renfrew Men 100 Bloor Street West
Last year Holt Renfrew announced the opening of a new 120,000 square foot store at Mississauga's Square One Shopping Centre. With the announcement came news that Holts was working to increase their total retail square footage by 40%, growing from 800,000 to over 1.2 million square feet. The move follows plans from Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue to open stores in Canada.

The Bloor Street flagship (along with stores in Vancouver and Calgary) will have a new Apartment private shopping suite. This new concept was recently unveiled at the Yorkdale location.

Holt Renfrew Yorkdale's Apartment
Holt Renfrew also confirmed it was developing an omni-channel e-commerce platform that is set to be unveiled in 2015. Models for this platform could be the websites of sister brands Selfridges and Brown Thomas. Both retailers maintain comprehensive e-commerce websites and carry a range of luxury labels.

Websites of Selfridges and Brown Thomas
Included in today's announcement was the planned closure of two small Holt Renfrew locations in Ottawa and Quebec City. Both locations were approximately 35,000 square feet and are slated to close in early 2015. Two small format Holt Renfrew doors remain at Toronto's Sherway Gardens and in Edmonton. Despite the closures, the company expects overall employment levels to grow through 2017 due to its expansion plans.

[Images and press release via Holt Renfrew]

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The Film Buff East to Close

Local east end institution to close in September.

Lately the news has been full of stories of bookshops and video stores falling under the ruthless hammer of the internet and closing for good. Now one of Toronto's favourite (and few remaining) art house video stores has announced its closure.

The Film Buff East, located at 1380 Queen Street East, is one of a pair of independent video rental and ice cream shops (the Film Buff West is located on Roncesvalles Avenue and will remain open). The shop has a collection of almost 30,000 DVDs and Blu-rays with a particular emphasis on independent film, documentaries, and television programs.

In a statement on its Facebook page, The Film Buff explained the reason's behind the closure:

"I guess it's a story everyone can relate to, an example of the intersection between new and traditional ways of accessing media," said The Film Buff. "For those who remain passionate about film as an art form, it's about loss... the loss of relatively easy access to high fidelity presentations of great works of cinema. For those who see movies as pure entertainment, as a bit of escapism for a Tuesday night, they don't see what all the fuss is about. Netflix has everything they could possibly want anyways."

Starting August 23rd the Film Buff East will begin selling its extensive collection which includes many rare and hard to find items.

The Film Buff East closes its doors for good on September 2nd.

[Image via The Film Buff]

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Battle Over a Milk Jug

Mac's Convenience Stores to sell 3 litre milk jugs as part of pilot project.

The dairy industry, like many agribusinesses, is a highly regulated one. Many consumers would be surprised to learn that their choices of milk containers are regulated by the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission. In Ontario the Milk Act regulates “the types and sizes of containers that shall be used for fluid milk products,” which currently does not allow for a 3 litre container.

Milk is typically sold in cartons of between 1-2 litres, or in bags totalling 4 litres per package. The Ontario Dairy Council is petitioning to open the field to a 3 litre middle option, but has encountered stiff resistance from dairy farmers. The producers fear that a 3 litre size will spur consumers to downsize.

Mac's Convenience Stores received the green light from the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission to sell 3 litre plastic milk jugs as part of a one year trial. While retailers argue the move is about increasing consumer choice, another motive may be at play. Many large grocery and convenience stores rely on milk as a loss leader, selling it at little to no profit in order to get customers through their doors and sell them more profitable items. Providing a smaller milk format would allow retailers to market a lower priced item, but not necessarily sell more milk.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Apple's iBeacon Technology Comes to Hudson's Bay

Partnership with Swirl to deliver targeted promotional messages to customers.

Hudson's Bay Queen Street will deploy Apple's iBeacon

Hudson's Bay announced today that working with Swirl it was launching an in-store smartphone marketing platform. Using beacon technology, the retailer will deliver targeted content via their own and third party phone apps in selected stores.

Launched by Apple in 2013, iBeacon allows technology companies and retailers to reach consumers via apps running on their mobile phones. Small puck-like devices are installed inside stores which trigger the apps on a consumer's smartphone. The retailer can deliver customized welcome messages, promote special offers, and even target the message to specific departments as a customer walks through a store. In more advanced systems iBeacon can also be used to facilitate payments.

"Beacon technology is the future of retail marketing and Swirl's platform will assist us to make every visit to Hudson's Bay or Lord & Taylor even more rewarding for our customers." said Michael Crotty, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at HBC.

The Swirl beacons utilize Apple's iBeacon technology as well as Bluetooth transmission to deliver content. Multiple beacons will trigger as customers travel throughout the store providing promotional content. The size of a department store is a particular advantage for this technology as it allows the retailer to deliver multiple messages across a broad array of product categories. In Toronto, Hudson's Bay will be targeting its Yorkdale and Queen Street locations. Consumers will have to download either the Hudson's Bay or SnipSnap apps and opt in to receive the messages.

The initiative is also being rolled out to selected locations at Hudson's Bay sister retailer Lord & Taylor in the United States. The moves coincides with HBC's recently announced expanded e-commerce and digital marketing initiatives. Within five years, the company expects to achieve 20% of revenues from online sources.

With consumers increasingly reliant on smartphones, retailers are looking for innovative ways to reach their customers. Though Macy's has recently been testing beacons, HBC's move marks the first time a major department store retailer has deployed the technology on a large scale.

Hotel groups Hilton and Starwood have also been experimenting with enhancing the consumer experience via iBeacon. At Starwood's Aloft chain, guests can use their phones as room keys and bypass the standard check-in procedure.

[Click here for the official Press Release]

Monday, 14 April 2014

Preview: New Hudson's Bay Queen Street Home Floor

Reborn seventh floor to officially open in May.

Hudson's Bay Queen Street Seventh Floor
For years the seventh floor at the Hudson's Bay Queen Street flagship was overlooked and housed only a small appliance department and stockrooms. All that has changed as the floor is being reborn with the addition of Kleinfeld Bridal and a brand new home department.

Hudson's Bay Queen Street - a cash desk on the seventh floor
The seventh floor is meant to be a one-stop destination for housewares and help cement the retailer's reputation as gift registry experts (they maintain the country's largest gift registry).

Hudson's Bay Queen Street - casual dining department

The china and glassware department has begun the move from their former fifth floor location, and other home departments will move in the coming weeks. Windows have been uncovered creating a modern, open, and light-filled space.

Hudson's Bay Queen Street - new housewares department
Brides visiting the adjoining Kleinfeld Bridal boutique will be able to shop and create gift registries all on the same floor.

Hudson's Bay Queen Street - a demonstration kitchen nears completion
Whereas previously home departments were scattered throughout the large store, now they will be found together on the seventh floor (with furniture and appliances one level below).

Hudson's Bay Queen Street - a feature wall in the casual dining department
The grand opening for Kleinfeld Bridal and the rejuvenated seventh floor is set for May.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

News: LCBO Express to Open in Selected Ontario Supermarkets

Ontario Liberals announce 10 LCBO kiosks as part of a pilot project.

Amid the splendour of the LCBO's Summerhill flagship (housed in the former North Toronto railway station), Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced the opening of 10 LCBO Express kiosks in selected grocery stores across the province. The roll-out is part of a one year pilot project and will see the kiosks opening by the end of the year.

Sousa said the move is aimed at increasing consumer convenience and would help to promote local Ontario wines and craft beers. The LCBO Express locations will be about 2,000 square feet, staffed by LCBO employees, and operate with similar hours as nearby LCBO freestanding locations.

The LCBO is owned by the province of Ontario and is one of the world's largest buyers and retailers of alcohol. It directly operates 635 retail stores and sells to both consumers and businesses.

Reacting to the announcement the Ontario Convenience Stores Association (which has been campaigning for beer sales in convenience stores) said the LCBO's moves fall short. "While it is refreshing to see the Ontario government agree that more convenience is needed in alcohol retailing.  The elephant that's still in the room is the 87 year-old foreign-owned Beer Store and the near monopoly it still has on beer retailing.  Today's announcement leaves in place the antiquated arrangement between the Ontario government and the three foreign brewers that dictate beer sales in Ontario," said Dave Bryans, the association's CEO.

Some supermarkets currently carry a selection of wine via Wine Rack concessions and there are also 219 LCBO agency stores which allow franchise owners in smaller communities to sell alcohol.

The LCBO is accepting proposals of interest from suitable retailers until May 9th.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

News: Yorkdale Celebrates Fifty Years

One of Canada's most popular shopping destinations celebrates golden anniversary.

Coco Rocha models in the Yorkdale anniversary ad campaign
"When Yorkdale first opened its doors in 1964, we were the largest shopping centre in the world," said Claire Santamaria, General Manager of Yorkdale Shopping Centre in a news release. "Fifty years later, we can say that Yorkdale has helped transform Canada's retail landscape by being the number one destination for international retailers entering the Canadian market. We want to celebrate our golden anniversary as we continue growing to meet with the demand of shoppers and international retailers."

Yorkdale has planned a series of events to commemorate the milestone anniversary, including:

  • a photo exhibit by Bryan Adams featuring Toronto's style mavens
  • special Gold Collection limited edition items at retailers such as Michael Kors and MAC
  • a golden anniversary gown commissioned from Lucian Matis will be displayed at Yorkdale and featured in an anniversary ad campaign featuring Canadian supermodel Coco Rocha
  • the CN Tower will be illuminated in gold tonight to commemorate the anniversary
Yorkdale is in the midst of a  $331 million renovation and expansion which is adding almost 300,000 square feet of retail space including a new Nordstrom store. The expansion is slated to open in 2016.

[Image and press release via Yorkdale]

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

News: Sears Closes Flagship at Toronto Eaton Centre

Struggling retailer closes flagship Toronto store.
Sears Toronto Eaton Centre
This past Sunday Sears Canada closed the door on its Toronto Eaton Centre location, making way for Nordstrom which will open on the site in 2016.

Sears acquired the store in 1999 with its purchase of the bankrupt T. Eaton Company. It operated the store under the Eatons banner until 2002 when it converted the location to Sears.

The struggling department store retailer has been selling store leases as it reorients itself towards a suburban customer. Last year Sears announced it would be vacating their Toronto Eaton Centre store as part of a $400 million sale of store leases to Cadillac Fairview. Also closing this week was the Sears location at Sherway Gardens. Stores at Square One and Yorkdale will close next month.

Below are the flagship store's final days.

Sears Toronto Eaton Centre as seen from Yonge-Dundas Square
Looking into the escalator well on the lower level, Sears Toronto Eaton Centre
The counters are gone at the main level jewellery department, Sears Toronto Eaton Centre
Closing down the main level's cosmetics department, Sears Toronto Eaton Centre
All cleared out on the second level, Sears Toronto Eaton Centre
The empty escalator landing on the second level, Sears Toronto Eaton Centre
Looking for new homes, mannequins await shipment to other Sears stores
Countdown to the end at Sears Toronto Eaton Centre
Everything's for sale including the doors
The road ends here, though Sears corporate offices will remain at the store's uppermost floors

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 (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]