By Mario Toneguzzi
Affordable, fast-fashion retailer Ardene has launched a new era of experiential retail in Canada with the first in a series of new large-format stores it says will reinvigorate its retail footprint while elevating the in-store shopping experience for its core ‘Generation Z’ consumer.
The first new concept 15,000-square-foot store is located at the Carrefour du Nord shopping mall in Saint-Jérôme, Québec.
“Ardene’s new concept store design has been over a year in the making – with countless hours of R&D, planning and construction,” said the retailer in a statement to Retail-Insider. “Given the shopping habits of our core Generation Z consumer, we wanted to create a space that was the ‘ultimate hangout’ – a destination for our highly-visual customers to immerse themselves and interact with rich, vibrant brand content.
“The store features brand-new fixtures and dedicated product zones that make our merchandise displays more engaging than before. For example, there are giant LED screens; phone charging stations; a social hangout section; Instagrammable moments; and a social media photo booth.”
The Saint-Jérôme store, which opened this month, is the first in a series of new concept stores that were designed to elevate the in-store shopping experience.
The retailer said all new concept stores will have an open-concept design, and greater square footage than previous stores. For example, the previous store at Carrefour du Nord was 4,770 square feet.
The company said three more new concept stores - Terrebonne, Québec; St. Albert, Alberta and Grande Prairie, Alberta - are scheduled to open this year with more planned for 2018.
“We believe that there is a future for brick and mortar retail in Canada and internationally, which is why we are investing to ensure that our physical stores blend seamlessly with our digital platforms – now and going forward,” said Ardene.
Ardene currently has 351 stores in Canada, and 13 internationally. Here is the breakdown by province of its Canadian stores: Alberta, 40; British Columbia, 38; Manitoba, 16; New Brunswick, 10; Newfoundland & Labrador, seven; Nova Scotia, eight; Ontario, 118; Prince Edward Island, two; Québec, 99; and Saskatchewan, 13.
“We want to offer a fresh and elevated shopping experience that engages our customer. In today’s rapidly evolving retail landscape, with brands struggling to stay relevant and authentic, it’s been important to listen to our customers,” said Ardene. “That’s why one of our redesign priorities was to focus on Gen Z – our fastest growing customer segment – while remaining loyal to our broader customer base. We’re still the Ardene that people know and love; our prices are affordable, we receive a vast assortment of new arrivals every week, and our customers can dress themselves from head-to-toe in one visit.
“We’re also evolving with the expectations of an increasingly digital world. What the redesign has pushed us to do is modernize. The result has been a space that’s experiential and customer-centric – it’s a whole new way for customers to shop with us.”
See below for more photos, courtesy of Ardene.
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.