Indigo Books & Music Inc. has announced that it is closing its massive Vancouver flagship at 788 Robson Street on June 30th of this year. According to Indigo, a "very significant rent increase made continued profitability untenable". Indigo says it will open another location in the "same Vancouver trade area" this year, though an exact location has yet to be revealed.
The store opened in 1998, according to PCI Developments. PCI constructed the flagship at the base of an 89-unit residential building called Infinity.
Indigo says that it will "temporarily transition the American Girl Specialty Boutique" located within. American Girl's first Canadian location opened in Vancouver's Chapters in May of 2014, along with a Toronto location at Indigo at Yorkdale Shopping Centre.
Indigo's Chief Executive Officer, Heather Reisman said, "As we gain great momentum with Indigo's transformation strategy we are continuing to review all elements of our operations. With a very significant rent increase recently at our Chapters Robson store, the new terms are simply untenable for us to stay in that location. An increase of this magnitude would quite simply make this vibrant, profitable store unprofitable. As a result, we are actively pursuing another location to serve the Robson trade area which we fully intend to open in 2015. In other key markets we are also looking at new real estate opportunities for Indigo that will best serve our unique needs."
Chapters' Vancouver flagship boasts three levels of retail, including a dramatic entrance with soaring ceilings. The ground floor features a Starbucks shop-in-store, while the second level features an 1,800 square foot licensed American Girl doll shop. The store's third level features wide open spaces with thousands of square feet.
This follows the closure of Chapters' Montreal flagship. Spanning about 35,000 square feet, the Montreal store will be replaced by the world's second-largest Victoria's Secret location.
Chapters' Vancouver flagship is at the southeast corner of Robson Street and Howe Street, across from the main entrance of Nordstrom's 230,000 flagship, scheduled to open this September.
UPDATE: Business in Vancouver reporter Glen Korstrom confirms that FGL Sports has leased Chapters' Robson Street space. FGL operates such brands as Sport Check, Atmosphere, Sports Experts and others. Although Mr. Korstrom couldn't confirm which FGL brand(s) will occupy the Robson Street space, we're told that the Sport Check and Atmosphere will vacate nearby Pacific Centre for an expansion of the mall's flagship Holt Renfrew.