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]