Links of London opened its first two Canadian boutiques in the summer of 2016, both in Toronto. The 860 square foot CF Toronto Eaton Centre location opened first, followed by a 1,200 square foot store at CF Sherway Gardens (featuring a small in-store tea salon). With three freestanding Toronto boutiques, New York City is the only place in North America with more Links of London locations.
Last week, Links of London opened a boutique at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre, marking its third for Toronto. The 615 square foot boutique is located in the mall’s expanding luxury wing, next to the mall’s future location for Ladurée and across from French luxury brand Saint Laurent.
“Our Toronto Eaton Centre and Sherway locations are doing fantastic,” explained Ms. Petrakis, and the Yorkdale store is expected to be a strong performer. Ms. Petrakis explained that Links has been seeking space at Yorkdale for about three years, and that its current location is ideal.
“There is a different customer in each mall, and we see room for even more stores in Toronto,” she explained. “I love Toronto. It is big, diverse, and every neighbourhood has its own experience. The city is in constant change, with people coming from various parts of the world. Retail is thriving in Toronto, and there is an incredible energy in its various malls,” she said.
The Yorkdale boutique has a design aesthetic that is more ‘sleek’ than Links’ first two Toronto stores. And despite its jewel-box size, the store has a family-friendly functionality. “There is room for strollers at the Yorkdale store and there is also seating in the back”, explained Ms. Petrakis. Rather than product being in wall displays, much of it is in ‘bars’, including a bracelet bar, where consumers can view product from above in a user-friendly environment. It was important that customers be able to see into the store and with that, Links has ensured that its facade provides visibility to what is contained within.
Product customization is a unique feature to the new Yorkdale boutique — an engraving corner allows customers to personalize pieces. The customization area is located towards the front part of the store, allowing passers-by to easily view its presence.
Freestanding stores allow Links of London to showcase its expanded offerings, while also providing an intimate one-on-one experience between customers and floor staff. Links also has a VIP program, with promotions held throughout the year, she explained.
Looking to the future, Ms. Petrakis said that she expects more freestanding Links of London locations to open in Canada. “We are definitely looking at the West Coast,” she said.
Links of London also operates a network of shop-in-store concessions at several Holt Renfrew stores across Canada. Ms. Petrakis described how the Mississauga Square One concession, which opened in the summer of 2016, has done so well that it recently expanded to more than double its original size. Links also operates concessions at Holt Renfrew stores in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto Bloor Street, and in Montreal at Ogilvy, which operates under Holt’s parent company Selfridges Group.
Links of London currently operates five freestanding U.S. locations, with four stores in New York City and a brand new store at Forum Shops in Las Vegas. Links of London also operates shop-in-shops at select Bloomingdale’s on both coasts in the United States. The Links of London brand was founded in 1990 and has grown to become a global luxury brand. In July of 2006, the company was sold to Greek conglomerate Folli Follie SA. The name 'Links’ originated from the brand’s first product — the iconic salmon cufflinks, which became the springboard for its unique jewellery, timepieces and gifts for both genders.
*Photos are all of the new Yorkdale boutique, courtesy of Links of London, via NKPR. See below for more photos.