Aritzia Upsizing Stores to Flagships as it Continues Expansion

Vancouver-based women’s fashion retailer Aritzia continues to expand its operations as it sees tremendous success. The expansion includes opening new store locations, as well as growing a number of existing stores to reposition them as flagships. 

The company went public with an IPO in October of 2016, and its financial performance continues to remain strong. Aritzia also boasts one of the industry’s highest annual sales per square foot, warranting larger stores within some markets. 

To meet demand as well as to carry an expanded product assortment, Aritzia has been expanding some of its stores to create flagships, and more are in the works. Over the past 12 months, Aritzia expanded its units at CF Richmond Centre near Vancouver, at Southcentre in Calgary, and at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre (a relocation to a significantly larger space). Each expansion added an average of 3,500 square feet per store, according to Aritzia. 

(AT CF TORONTO EATON CENTRE. PHOTO: CRAIG PATTERSON)
(WILFRED’S NEW, LARGER LOCATION AT CF TORONTO EATON CENTRE. PHOTO: CRAIG PATTERSON)

Aritzia also operates standalone stores for its three in-house brands, including Wilfred, Babaton and TNA. Wilfred’s CF Toronto Eaton Centre store recently relocated to a new 5,150 square foot space, with the former 1,780 square foot location becoming the very first freestanding location for Babaton, which is now also expanding nationally. 

CF Toronto Eaton Centre is an important address for Aritzia. The retailer is expanding its current 5,480 square foot location in the mall to become one of its largest, measuring in excess of 11,000 square feet on one level. The company confirms that it will enlarge four or five locations by the end of February 2018, both in Canada as well as in the United States. 

Over the past 12 months, Aritzia has also opened several new stores, including Aritzia stores at Hillcrest Mall in Richmond Hill ON and at Tsawwassen Mills near Vancouver, a new Wilfred store at Mississauga’s Square One, as well as Babaton locations at CF Toronto Eaton Centre and at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. New stores now average about 6,000 square feet, up from a previous store average of about 5,000 square feet. 

(INSIDE THE NEW CHICAGO GOLD COAST ARITZIA. PHOTO: SUPPLIED)

As discussed in a separate article last month, Aritzia’s Babaton concept will be expanding to four stores this fall, with new units at CF Pacific Centre in Vancouver and at Square One in Mississauga. Aritzia explained that Babaton’s stores help to propel the Babaton brand (Aritzia’s stores are a marketing tool) and that standalone locations for some of Aritzia’s brands are particularly focused on locations where Aritzia is performing well, but where space is limited to expand existing Aritzia stores. “This store strategy allows us to increase our square footage in that shopping centre, while still maintaining the optimal location of our established store, given expansion limitations,” according to the company. 

Aritzia’s US operations are also seeing some changes. Last month, the company debuted a flagship in Chicago’s Gold Coast, spanning 7,700 square feet and neighbouring luxury brands such as Saint Laurent, Versace Marc Jacobs and, soon, Dior. Aritzia also recently opened a Los Angeles flagship at Westfield Century City, and it is repositioning its San Francisco Union Square store to become a flagship, as well. The company says that it is looking at new markets for growth. 

Aritzia is represented in Canada by Dianne Lemm, Principal/Broker at Northwest Atlantic

Aritzia was founded in 1984 as a shop-in-store at Vancouver retailer Hill’s of Kerrisdale, and has 64 Canadian locations under its Aritzia, TNA, Wilfred and Babaton nameplates. It also has 22 Aritzia stores in the United States. Aritzia’s target market is women aged 14 to 30. Much of the clothing sold in its stores are its own exclusive brands, including Auxiliary, Babaton, 1-01 Babaton, Community, Wilfred, Le Fou by Wilfred, Wilfred Free, TNA, Golden by TNA, Parklife, and Talula. Stores also carry clothing from brands such as Mackage, J Brand, Citizens of Humanity, A Gold E, Frame, Levi’s, Rag & Bone, Adidas, One Teaspoon, and Herschel.

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Now located in Toronto, Craig is a retail analyst and consultant at the Retail Council of Canada. He's also the Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for the past 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees. He is also President & CEO of Vancouver-based Retail Insider Media Ltd.

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