Struggling Quebec department store retailer Les Ailes de la Mode will close its Ste-Foy (suburban Quebec City) and Brossard (suburban Montreal) stores. This follows news that Les Ailes' Montreal flagship will also close. Landlord Ivanhoe Cambridge will buy-out Les Ailes' leases for an unspecified amount.
In the 1990's and into the early 2000's, Les Ailes was described as Canada's answer to Nordstrom. Over the years, Les Ailes saw its business decline as it essentially became a large discount store. The store's first owner, San Francisco Group, went bankrupt in 2003. After emerging from bankruptcy a year later, the Group was renamed Groupe Les Ailes de la Mode. The company was sold to Fairweather INC Group in 2005, which proceeded to further run the company into the ground.
The 66,400 square foot Mail Champlain store in Brossard was Les Ailes' very first location, and it opened in 1993. Its in-store piano player became a common feature when it began opening other stores. Les Ailes' 63,600 square foot Place Ste-Foy store opened in 1997.
Ivanhoe Cambridge is being flexible by allowing Les Ailes time to vacate its two store spaces. Ivanhoe will search for replacement tenants in the meantime. It's unknown if the retail spaces will be subdivided or leased to one tenant. Place Ste-Foy is an upscale mall east of Quebec City that features two upscale anchors: a 102,000 square foot flagship La Maison Simons store, and a 32,950 square foot Holt Renfrew store. Mall Champlain is a mid-scale mall in suburban Montreal that features Hudson's Bay and Sears as its anchors.
In 2007, Carrefour Laval's landlord, Cadillac Fairview, successfully sued to evict Les Ailes from its otherwise prosperous suburban Montreal mall. Cadillac Fairview believed that Les Ailes' refocussed downscale strategy made it an essentially different store than when it opened.
After these closures (including the Montreal flagship), Les Ailes de la Mode will only have two stores in the province of Quebec: in Chateauguay (suburban Montreal) and in Drummondville.
Source: La Presse