Holt Renfrew Attempting to Expand Vancouver Store

Holt Renfrew Vancouver. Photo taken from basement-level men's floor. Image: ibigroup.com
We have received word that Vancouver's Holt Renfrew would like to expand its Vancouver store via annexing space currently occupied by a sports retailer. The sports retailer's lease expires in about a year and Holt's wants more space.

The current store is just over 137,000 square feet. An expansion would see the store expand to about 175-180,000 square feet. This means it wouldn't be much smaller than the new Nordstrom store set to open at the other end of Pacific centre Spring 2015.

The proposed expansion would include expanded space on the store's 'ground floor' and basement level. A retail insider speculates the main-floor space would at least partly become a large women's shoe floor, as Holt's current shoe floor is small for its high level of sales. The possible basement level expansion may become storage and space for an expanded men's floor and restaurant.

We had speculated that this proposed expansion would mean a third-level restaurant could open at Holt's. This may not be the case, as a Holt's insider tells us that the top-floor restaurant didn't open partly because of a lack of proper freight elevator and other potential code infractions. If the expansion happens, hopefully a restaurant would be included on a lower-level.

We think Holt's shoe salon should include several dedicated luxury shoe boutiques such as Prada, Gucci, Jimmy Choo and others. Luxury department stores around the world have done the luxury shoe shop-in-store concept with success, including London's Selfridges and Ireland's Brown Thomas stores, both owned by Holt's Weston family.

Check out the 21,500 sq ft women's shoe space opened September at Breuninger department store in Stuttgart, Germany. It's got 6 shops including Prada, Prada Rossa, Miu Miu, Gucci, Jimmy Choo and Tod's. This video of the grand opening shows some very interesting ceiling lights, as well. We'd love a shoe floor like this in Canada, as we have nothing yet that compares.

Holt Renfrew website: www.holtrenfrew.com

Breuninger website: www.breuninger.com

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