Saks Prepares for its Canadian Debut [Photos]

  Awnings installed on the new Queen Street store. Photo: Saks via Instagram

Awnings installed on the new Queen Street store. Photo: Saks via Instagram

Saks Fifth Avenue is putting the final touches on its first two Canadian locations, which both open this month in Toronto. UPDATE: The first location opens with a ribbon cutting at 9:30am on Thursday, February 18. 

The first Saks location, at CF Toronto Eaton Centre, opens the morning of Thursday, February 18. The 163,000 square foot store will span four levels at the eastern end of the Queen Street Hudson's Bay building, facing Yonge Street. The store will act as Saks' Canadian flagship, and will feature a roster of luxury offerings that will rival Holt Renfrew. The store's lower level will feature a 21,000 square foot Saks Food Hall by Pusateri's Fine Foods (opening mid-April). The ground floor will feature a handbags hall (including boutiques for Louis Vuitton, Burberry and others), jewellery (including a Piaget boutique), cosmetics/beauty, with entrances off of Queen Street, Yonge Street, and Richmond Street. The store's second floor will be devoted primarily to menswear, including a made-to-measure lounge. The store's third floor will feature womenswear, a large footwear salon called 10022-SHOE, and personal shopping suites at Fifth Avenue Club, Saks' personal shopping and styling service that will include a private suite with refreshments, not unlike Holt Renfrew's 'Apartment' concept. The Queen Street Saks will also feature a three-level, 11,000 square foot restaurant/bar operated by Oliver & Bonacini

  Photo: Saks via Instagram

Photo: Saks via Instagram

  Rendering: Queen Street cosmetics hall, via Hudson's Bay Company on LinkedIn

Rendering: Queen Street cosmetics hall, via Hudson's Bay Company on LinkedIn

  February 12, 2016. Photo: Saks, via Facebook

February 12, 2016. Photo: Saks, via Facebook

  Queen Street Saks wall treatment. Photo: Saks via Instagram

Queen Street Saks wall treatment. Photo: Saks via Instagram

  Saks signage being installed on the Queen Street store on Feb 6, 2016. Photo: Saks, via Instagram

Saks signage being installed on the Queen Street store on Feb 6, 2016. Photo: Saks, via Instagram

  Corner of Yonge Street and Queen Street West on February 8, 2016. Photo: Saks via Instagram

Corner of Yonge Street and Queen Street West on February 8, 2016. Photo: Saks via Instagram

  Fifth Avenue Club on Feb 12, 2016. Photo: Saks via Instagram

Fifth Avenue Club on Feb 12, 2016. Photo: Saks via Instagram

The second Saks location, at CF Sherway Gardens, opens the morning of Thursday, February 25. The 132,250 square foot store will span three levels in the mall's former Sears space. The store's lower level will feature an 18,500 square foot Saks Food Hall by Pusateri's Fine Foods. The store's two upper levels will feature many of the same departments as the Queen Street flagship, including men's and women's departments, The 10022-SHOE footwear salon, Fifth Avenue Club, and a 5,500 square foot Oliver & Bonacini-operated restaurant called Beaumont Kitchen. The Sherway Saks will feature "a fresh, contemporary, open-format layout", according to Saks. 

  Saks Sherway lighting. Photo: Saks via Instagram

Saks Sherway lighting. Photo: Saks via Instagram

  Inside the Sherway construction office. Photo: Saks, via Instagram

Inside the Sherway construction office. Photo: Saks, via Instagram

  Photo: Saks via Instagram

Photo: Saks via Instagram

  Outside the Sherway store on February 9. Photo: Saks via Instagram

Outside the Sherway store on February 9. Photo: Saks via Instagram

  Beaumont Kitchen at CF Sherway Saks. Photo: Saks, via Instagram

Beaumont Kitchen at CF Sherway Saks. Photo: Saks, via Instagram

Saks will also introduce 'The Personal Shopping Experience' to the Greater Toronto Area, featuring a Saks-branded Mercedes-Benz accompanied by a personal shopper that will travel to a client's home or office. The car will be stocked with merchandise specifically selected for the client, with amenities including styling, beauty consultations and tailoring.

  Saks Flagship as seen from the corner of Yonge and Richmond Streets. Rendering: Hudson's Bay Compay

Saks Flagship as seen from the corner of Yonge and Richmond Streets. Rendering: Hudson's Bay Compay

  Queen Street food hall. Rendering, Hudson's Bay Company

Queen Street food hall. Rendering, Hudson's Bay Company

  Entering Saks/Bay from Eaton Centre pedway. Hudson's Bay is to the right, Saks is in front and to the left. Rendering via Hudson's Bay Company

Entering Saks/Bay from Eaton Centre pedway. Hudson's Bay is to the right, Saks is in front and to the left. Rendering via Hudson's Bay Company

  Sherway Rendering, via Hudson's Bay Company

Sherway Rendering, via Hudson's Bay Company

Saks could open up to eight Canadian locations, according to the company. No further locations have been confirmed, though Saks has said it will eventually open stores in Vancouver, Montreal and possibly in Calgary. Saks will also roll-out its off-price concept Saks OFF 5TH this year, and it has already announced 11 Canadian locations that will open over the next three years. Saks will eventually operate about 25 OFF 5TH locations in Canada. 

We'll be attending the February 18 opening of Saks in Toronto, as well as some pre-opening events, and will report back with our observations. 

Canadian Retail News From Around The Web: February 9, 2016