Minimalist Japanese retailer Muji's first Canadian storefront opens on Saturday, November 29th at Toronto's Atrium On Bay. It will be the first of at least seven Canadian locations for the brand, as Muji looks to open stores across the country. Besides intentions to open in Toronto and Vancouver, we've spoken to landlords across the country who are eager to include Muji in their properties.
From new information that we've received, it would appear that Muji's Canadian stores will overwhelmingly carry household goods. Its first Canadian location will carry approximately 2,800 products, including 800 garments and accessory items, and about 2,000 household products. Prices at Muji's Canadian stores will be higher than those in the U.S., we're told, and its Canadian stores will also carry less products than in its American locations. U.S. Muji stores typically carry about 3,500 products as a comparison -- substantially less than the 7,000 or so carried in its Japanese locations.
The new Toronto store is located in Atrium on Bay, a shopping and office complex located directly north of the Toronto Eaton Centre at the corner of Yonge Street and Dundas Street West. Muji features a Dundas Street entrance, beside the 20 Dundas Street entrance of the Atrium complex. According to a lease plan, Muji occupies about 4,400 square feet.
Muji's Canadian division was founded in April of 2014 as a subsidiary of Kyohin Keikaku Co. Ltd., brand holder of Muji, to introduce the retailer to Canada. We were first notified of Muji's Atrium on Bay store when UrbanToronto's ACT7 found it mentioned in this City of Toronto Building Application.
Toru Tsunoda, president of Muji Canada, recently told Reuters that Muji's plan to open seven or eight stores across Canada is part of its intention to operate more stores overseas than in Japan within the next two years. Muji currently operates 255 stores outside of Japan, including 100 in China. It currently has 385 stores in Japan, meaning that it plans to open at least 130 new international stores before 2017.
We've spoken to several Canadian landlords who are eager to secure Muji as a tenant. As Muji prefers to save money by avoiding high-rent areas, Muji may bypass opening locations in some of Canada's busiest malls and on Canada's high-rent shopping streets. Judging by the popularity of the brand, however, the retailer may become a destination unto itself wherever it chooses to locate.
Known for being innovative and its products being affordable and unbranded, Muji carries various household items, furniture, appliances, stationary and apparel. With hundreds of stores worldwide, it saves money by spending little to nothing on market research and advertising. Muji is short for Mujirushi Ryohin, or no-brand superior items, and was founded in 1980 as the private-label brand of a major supermarket chain. Muji currently operates nine American stores. Five are in New York City, and four are in California (San Francisco, San Jose, Hollywood, and Santa Monica).
Muji's Atrium on Bay store hours will be: Monday-Friday, 10:00am-8:00pm, Saturday, 10:00am-7:00pm, and Sunday, 11:00am-5:00pm.
We'll be attending Muji's Press Preview Event on November 28th, and we'll have more to report in early December.