Holt Renfrew continues to renovate and expand its highly productive Vancouver flagship, which some are saying is now the ‘best’ store in the company in terms of its overall look and offerings. Holt’s has unveiled a luxurious collection of personal shopping suites in a dramatic new two-level space, which includes a rooftop patio and ‘The Apartment’ for VIP guests.
New York City-based architectural firm Janson Goldstein was commissioned to re-imaging the CF Pacific Centre flagship, resulting in ongoing construction that has included renovating the existing store, as well as adding an additional 40,000 square feet of retail space. The project began in the summer of 2015, and is expected to be completed by mid-2018.
Last week, Holt Renfrew unveiled its newly expanded two-level personal shopping suites, which span 6,000 square feet over two levels. On the women’s fashion floor, three personal shopping suites are served by a reception area, and there's more upstairs -- a glass staircase leads to an additional four more suites, as well as ‘The Apartment’ which encompasses 1,200 square feet. Amenities in the newly expanded personal shopping suites include private washrooms, two kitchenettes and full access to the food/beverage menus at the recently-opened Holt’s Café. Both floors are connected via a passenger elevator to the store’s ‘Holt’s Valet’.
Seven personal shoppers serve clients in the Vancouver store, and can be booked through the store’s personal shopping reception. Suites accommodate extended appointments where a curated assortment of product is prepared in advance, based on a client’s needs/preferences. The service is complimentary, and Holt’s makes millions in annual sales from the private suites -- the investment into the new suites will no doubt pay off.
While the upper-level personal shopping suites are targeted towards female shoppers, men also have their own, with two additional men’s personal shopping suites being located in the expanded Holt Renfrew Men section of the store. That brings the total number of personal shopping suites in the store to nine, in addition to The Apartment — no Holt Renfrew store, or any store in Canada for that matter, can boast such an offering.
The Apartment is particularly notable, offering the ultimate luxury retail experience in the city. It features a ‘residential’ look with a living room, dining area, an expansive fitting room, private powder room, and a wrap-around outdoor patio that overlooks the city. The private space is reserved by appointment for top clients in the store, as well as visiting celebrities/high profile individuals seeking out privacy in a discrete environment. Holt Renfrew notes that The Apartment will also be used for unique events such as fine jewellery trunk shows and other ‘curated experiences’.
Vancouver’s Apartment is the third for Holt’s — the concept launched at Holt’s Yorkdale store in January of 2014, and a second opened last summer at the newly opened Holt Renfrew location at Mississauga’s Square One. The Vancouver Apartment is the only one to feature such an outdoor space, not to mention such a large adjacent set of personal shopping suites.
Interiors in both The Apartment and the personal shopping suites have a modern residential feel, with custom chandeliers, custom furniture pieces and carpets. The overall palette is muted in tones of white, taupe, grey and espresso, with natural light provided from the open staircase skylight. Designer furniture and artwork is featured throughout the new two level space.
Vancouver’s Holt Renfrew store is now considered by many to be the company’s top location, in terms of overall look, amenities, and designer offering. The store now spans an impressive 187,700 square feet over four levels (including a top level for the aforementioned personal shopping suites/Apartment), and includes the company’s most comprehensive designer offerings in a number of departments including menswear, women’s designer apparel, and women’s shoes. Earlier this year, Holt’s unveiled its new 8,500 square foot women’s shoe hall, featuring nine luxury designer brand shop-in-stores as well as an adjacent 800 square foot Ladurée café. In September of 2016, Holt’s unveiled its new Vancouver Holt Renfrew Men store, which has its own exterior entrance facing onto Howe Street. In September of 2016, as well, Holt’s debuted a vastly expanded accessories hall, with a number of enlarged designer boutiques for the likes of Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co. and David Yurman.
There’s still approximately a year left on the store’s renovations, according to Holt Renfrew. This summer (mid-July), Holt’s will unveil its expanded and redesigned women’s contemporary designer floor, as well as a new 12,000 square foot ‘beauty hall’ that will be relocated to the store’s lower-level. When the store is completed next year, it will be considered to be one of the top luxury stores in North America in terms of its brand and services offerings. It remains to be seen if any other store in Canada, be it Holt’s or otherwise, will be able to match the Vancouver store in terms of its offerings, though Vancouver is a ‘special’ city in terms of luxury retail in Canada at the moment — some Alberni Street/Luxury Zone boutiques see annual sales-per-square foot in excess of $6,000-$10,000+, and the city’s Nordstrom flagship is now said to be the top-selling in the entire company, driven by luxury women’s handbags, footwear, cosmetics, and ready-to-wear.