French luxury retailer Hermes will relocate its Toronto flagship to a larger space a few doors east. It's the latest luxury brand movement on the street, as brands move into larger spaces and grow existing stores, says one luxury retail expert.
Toronto's current Hermes location measures about 4,000 square feet on one level, and is located at 130 Bloor Street West between Gucci and Intermix. Hermes opened that location in the summer of 2008, relocating from a 2,500 square foot space in The Colonnade at 131 Bloor Street West. Hermes' first Toronto location opened in the 1980's at Hazelton Lanes.
According to Fashion Magazine, Hermes will move into a two-level space at 100 Bloor Street West, in a retail complex currently occupied by Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn. We're told that the new store will be over 10,000 square feet in size, making it one of North America's largest Hermes locations. The new store is expected to open in the fall of 2017.
High end retailers are continuing to invest in the Toronto market, says HRC Advisory President Farla Efros. She explained how other luxury retailers along the Bloor Street strip, particularly towards Avenue Road, are expanding existing locations as well as moving into new ones. Louis Vuitton opened a massive 'Maison' at 150 Bloor Street West in the fall of 2012, replacing a considerably smaller location up the street. Prada will substantially expand its Bloor Street flagship (construction is now underway on a new second-level), and various other luxury brands are seeking flagship retail space in the area. Ms. Efros also noted that Hermes stores, generally, are growing in size as the brand seeks to create unique in-store experiences that can't be replicated online, and are favourable to tourists -- a growing segment, given the low Canadian dollar.
Some industry insiders are speculating that Gucci could take over Hermes' 130 Bloor Street West space, creating a 10,000 square foot Gucci flagship similar in size to the recently expanded Chicago Michigan Avenue store.
Hermes currently operates four Canadian locations. Its only other freestanding location, measuring about 2,500 square feet, is located at the southwest corner of Burrard Street and Alberni Street at the 755 Burrard Street building in Vancouver's 'Luxury Zone'. Sources say that changes could also be coming to that location. Hermes also operates concession shops-in-stores at Holt Renfrew in Calgary and Montreal. It is expected that Hermes will also relocate its Montreal location in 2017 to the expanded Ogilvy/Holt's when Holt Renfrew closes its Sherbrooke Street West location as part of the merger.