Saks Flagship to Feature Queen Street Doorman and Concierge

  Saks Queen Street/CF Toronto Eaton Centre. Rendering: HBC

Saks Queen Street/CF Toronto Eaton Centre. Rendering: HBC

Saks Fifth Avenue is advertising to hire a doorman for its Canadian flagship. Plans show that the store will also feature a concierge desk at its Queen Street entrance. The new Saks Fifth Avenue store opens on February 18 and according to one retail expert, the doorman/concierge combination is part of Saks' attempts to assert luxury dominance in Canada in the face of competition. 

The job posting indicates that the doorman will be responsible for assisting at both Saks and Hudson's Bay, and the ideal candidate "Must be an ambassador for both the Hudson’s Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue store with an intimate knowledge of the layout of both". Saks Fifth Avenue will occupy 163,000 square feet over four levels at the eastern end of the massive CF Toronto Eaton Centre Hudson's Bay building. 

  Queen Street entrance. Rendering: HBC

Queen Street entrance. Rendering: HBC

The Queen Street entrance will feature a concierge desk, guiding shoppers towards Saks and Hudson's Bay. Although the two stores will technically be separate, there will be multiple access points between the stores and as well, some cosmetics brands will be segregated, with some premium brands in Saks and some less pricier cosmetics at Hudson's Bay. 

  Queen Street Entrance Concierge. Rendering: HBC

Queen Street Entrance Concierge. Rendering: HBC

Luxury retail expert Farla Efros, President of leading consultancy HRC Advisory, said that Saks' new doorman is a move to build customer credibility, as Saks looks to take market share from competitor Holt Renfrew. She explained how as online retail grows, luxury stores will need to enhance the in-store experience with amenities such as door staff, concierges and other upscale features. Toronto's Saks flagship will also feature personal shopping and other VIP features characteristic of its U.S. flagships. Given that Saks will be carrying many of the same brands as Holt Renfrew in Canada, Ms. Efros said that both retailers should put forth their best efforts to enhance the shopping experience, including creating customized experiences for shoppers. This will become even more important in the fall of 2016 when Nordstrom opens its first two Toronto stores. If Nordstrom's Vancouver store is any indication, Toronto's Nordstrom locations could also feature a substantial number of luxury brands, competing with both Saks and Holt Renfrew at the upper end of the market. 

Canadian Retail News From Around The Web: January 6, 2016