We're updating our previous discussion that the popular Italian food concept Eataly could open in Canada. Eataly has partnered with Galen Weston-owned Selfridges to open an Eataly location within the iconic London-based department store. Toronto-based Galen Weston also owns Canadian luxury department store Holt Renfrew, as well Shoppers Drug Mart and the Loblaw grocery empire (the latter two are under the Weston umbrella). Sources say that Eataly could enter the Canadian market in a similar way to what's being done in London, possibly through Holt Renfrew.
Reuters reports that Eataly's CEO, Luca Baffigo Filangieri, announced Eataly's plans to locate within London's Selfridges, opening in September of 2016. Mr. Filangieri also mentioned Eataly's intentions for an aggressive store expansion, as well as plans for an IPO in 2017.
Sources say that various potential locations in central Toronto are being considered for a large Eataly location. We're told that the Yorkville area is the top choice for Eataly, though some speculate that it could open on trendy King Street West. Sources further speculate that Canadian Eataly locations could open as shops-in-stores within flagship Holt Renfrew locations. Regardless of what happens, Canadian Eataly locations will likely be years away, considering it has yet to secure Canadian real estate or to announce formal expansion plans.
We're also told that Montreal and Vancouver Eataly locations could follow a successful Toronto launch, though none of this is confirmed.
Again, we're unsure if Eataly will enter Canada via Holt Renfrew. If it does, there's a possibility that it could somehow become integrated into existing Holt Renfrew stores. We recently revealed plans for a potential 37,000 square foot addition to Holt Renfrew's 180,000 square foot Toronto flagship, separated by a laneway and with its own Bay Street entrance. In Montreal, Holt Renfrew's newly combined Ogilvy/Holt Renfrew, scheduled to open in 2017, will see a total of 220,000 square feet of retail space - possibly with enough room to house an Eataly shop-in-store. Vancouver's 140,000 square foot Holt Renfrew is confirmed for expansion, adding as much as 40,000 square feet by annexing two adjacent sports retailers. Eataly shops-in-stores are only our speculation, as we've mentioned, and Eataly could also end up opening free-standing Canadian units without any association with Holt Renfrew or Weston.
If Eataly does enter Canada through Holt Renfrew, it could be an assault to Saks Fifth Avenue's plans to open luxury food halls in its Canadian stores. A source informs us that plans are in place to build a large Saks Fifth Avenue food hall on the concourse level of the Hudson's Bay building at the corner of Yonge and Queen Streets in Toronto, with three levels for Saks Fifth Avenue directly above. Saks' Canadian flagship will occupy approximately 150,000 square feet within Hudson's Bay's 850,000 square foot Toronto Eaton Centre location, and it is expected to open in the spring of 2016. We'll update these details further when permitted, including the configuration of the new four-level Toronto Eaton Centre Saks.
Eataly boasts 27 worldwide locations, though only two in North America: a 58,000 square foot space in Manhattan, and a 63,000 square foot location in Chicago. Its 2013 Manhattan sales targets were estimated at a whopping $85 million. In December, its notoriously busy Chicago location had to temporarily close because it ran out of food. Eataly has 10 locations in Italy, 13 in Japan, one in Dubai and one in Istanbul, Turkey. Over the next couple of years, the retailer will open new U.S. stores in Los Angeles and New York City, as well as possibly in Philadelphia and Washington DC.
Eataly is more than just a store - it's a food experience, encompassing fresh and dry groceries, restaurants, cafes, tasting areas, food stalls and shops, all under one roof. Eataly was founded in Turin, Italy, in 2007. Its founder, Oscar Farinetti, wanted to combine elements of a lively, open environment with a learning centre to create an atmosphere conducive to shopping, tasting, and learning about high-quality Italian foods. Inspired by the European food-hall concept, its massive stores are populated with tasting areas and gourmet restaurants to complement the upscale food offerings. Customers can taste the artisan products, learn about them from educated staff, and buy the ingredients to recreate Eataly’s restaurant food at home, all at fair prices.