September 3, 2014
Holt Renfrew will close its Winnipeg boutique in January of 2015, exiting a city where it has had a presence since the year 1910. At one time, Holt Renfrew's Winnipeg store footprint was substantially larger. The current location is a shopping suite, measuring 2,990 square feet and featuring a shopping services supported with merchandise from other stores. It is located on the second level of the struggling Portage Place shopping centre in downtown Winnipeg, employing 10 staff.
Holt Renfrew operated full-sized Winnipeg stores between the years 1910 and 2000. Its last full-sized Winnipeg location, at Portage Place, measured about 23,000 square feet. In 2010 it was converted to the company's discount retail concept, Holt Renfrew Last Call, and in 2007 Holt's closed its discount store to operate its current boutique.
"Holt Renfrew explored a number of options for the market, however it was ultimately concluded that Holt Renfrew's enhanced specialty luxury business model required a full-store experience with a significantly larger footprint in any target market and a deep assortment across a wide array of its core brand partners", said Holt Renfrew CEO Mark Derbyshire, on the closure of the Winnipeg store.
Last week, Holt Renfrew announced that it will close its small Ottawa and Quebec City locations early next year. The company will instead concentrate on operating larger locations in just five Canadian cities - Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. This strategy could be in response to expected competition from Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom, both opening Canadian locations over the next several years. It appears that Holt Renfrew's strategy is to build stores in excess of 100,000 square feet.