Iconic French luxury brand Hermès has reopened its Toronto flagship, in a retail space that is considerably larger than its former location up the street. The expanded Hermès marks a milestone in the transformation of Bloor Street West, as it continues to attract global flagships.
Now located at 100 Bloor Street West, Hermès’ new Toronto flagship includes about 5,800 square feet of retail space. In total, the store occupies almost 12,000 square feet with about 4,000 square feet on the ground-floor, as well as an additional 8,000 square feet on the second level.
Hermès' previous location at 130 Bloor Street West, which closed last week, had about 2,300 square feet of retail space in a leased premises spanning 3,965 square feet (Now downsized to 2,520 square feet, the former Hermès space is being offered for lease by CBRE’s Mr. Markowitz).
The new Hermès is about 10 times the size of the brand’s first Toronto boutique, which opened at Hazelton Lanes (now Yorkville Village) in 1976 with just 600 square feet of accessories (it expanded in 1981 to carry ready-to-wear). York Hannover, Hazelton Lanes’ developer, sold the licensed boutique to Jennifer Carter in 1989 and in the spring of 1992, she relocated the boutique to The Colonnade at 131 Bloor Street West (in the 2,240 square foot retail space now occupied by Mulberry). In the summer of 2008, Hermès relocated to 130 Bloor Street West, and Ms. Carter remains President of Hermès Canada to this day.
Hermès new 100 Bloor Street West store is located in a retail space formerly occupied by Williams Sonoma, which exited Bloor Street in January of 2017. A Holt Renfrew Men’s store is located next to Hermès to the east, and a luxury brand will open a boutique next year on the other side of Hermès.
The new Hermès’ exterior includes a simple beige rose brickwork facade with beveled windows and large, recessed windows. The original Williams Sonoma store interior was stripped to the studs and rebuilt — the complicated and disruptive process took months. Parisian architecture agency RDAI designed the space.
At the centre of the store is an oval staircase with marble steps and cherry wood topped with a leather handrail. It’s immediately visible as one enters from the ground floor, which also houses scarves, jewellery, fragrances, and men’s ready-to-wear. The fragrance area includes a dedicated table, and the men’s area includes custom-made hockey sticks created specifically for the new store.
The second floor includes an expansive offering of women’s ready-to-wear, as well as Canada’s first Hermès home department. Included in the home section are wallpapers and textiles as well as tableware, plaids, and objects for the home. The second floor also includes a personalized space that can be closed off for privacy.
Because of the configuration of the space, which includes ample second-level back-of-house operations, the store’s retail 5,800 square foot area is smaller than some of Hermès’ North American flagships. In New York City, Hermès occupies more than 30,000 square feet on Madison Avenue in two stores (Hermès operates a standalone men’s store as well as a grand space for women/home, as well as atelier) and other large stores include Beverly Hills (12,000 square feet), Las Vegas (Wynn, 13,000 square feet), Houston (10,117 square feet), Dallas (8,400 square feet), Miami Design District (12,000 square feet), Boston (8,700 square feet) and at The Bravern in suburban Seattle (9,300 square feet). A substantially expanded San Francisco flagship is also due to open soon.
Hermès will continue to expand its presence in Canada over the next couple of years. In a press release, Holt Renfrew confirmed that Hermès will expand its Montreal presence with a new 3,000 square foot boutique in an overhauled ‘Holt Renfrew Ogilvy’, which will result in the closure of a nearby Holt Renfrew as the retailers merge (Hermes operates a small street-front boutique at Montreal's Holt's). Vancouver will also see an Hermès flagship open in about 18 months, with about the same amount of retail space as the new Toronto flagship. Hermes also has a small boutique at Holt Renfrew in Calgary, which it opened in 2009.
Toronto’s Bloor Street West is undergoing a luxury transformation that includes the addition of several new retailers. Moncler, MCM and APM Monaco recently opened on the street, and Prada is almost finished with an overhaul that has substantially expanded its Colonnade space into a massive global flagship. Luxury brand Christian Dior is another significant movement for Bloor Street West — towards the end of 2018, Dior will open a store spanning in excess of 13,000 square feet, making it Dior’s largest single retail space in all of North America.
On the other side of Bay Street, Holt Renfrew is beginning the process of renovating its 50 Bloor Street West flagship and across the street at the Manulife Centre, Eataly will anchor a $100 million commercial podium redevelopment. At the corner of Yonge and Bloor will be One Bloor Street East and One Bloor Street West are substantial developments that will add exciting new retail and food and beverage offerings to the area — Retail Insider will profile Toronto’s Mink Mile extensively in an updated article next month.