By Craig Patterson
Well-known Austrian crystal jewellery/collectable/gift brand Swarovski plans to continue to open stores in Canada in 2018, as the company identifies markets for growth both for corporately-run as well as for franchised units.
In an interview, Swarovski’s CEO Robert Buchbauer explained how the brand is doing exceptionally well in Canada compared to other markets — Swarovski already has 47 corporately-owned stores in the country as well as five franchised locations. Canada is a sophisticated market with a European influence, valuing quality over price and Mr. Buchbauer said that the company continues to seek opportunities for new stores, with a focus on British Columbia and Quebec, as well as more stores for the Greater Toronto Area.
He noted that the Vancouver market is ripe for more Swarovski locations — the Lower Mainland is seeing strong sales numbers from its existing units, and the market continues to see growth in jewellery sales. CF Pacific Centre in Vancouver will see a new Swarovski store in 2019, he revealed.
The Quebec market is a target for Swarovski as it continues to gain a foothold in the province and it most recently opened a unique pop-up space on Sainte-Catherine Street West in Montreal, and a store at CF Promenades St-Bruno will also open this year.
Recent new store openings for the brand include Oshawa and Oakville — brokerage Aurora Realty Consultants continues to handle Swarovski’s Canadian site negotiations under the direction of broker Manon Parisien.
Canada is something of a test market for Swarovski, and in a rather unique way. In late 2017, the company unveiled its first-ever Sparkle Pop Up at Square One in Mississauga. The tech-focused pop-up is a way for Swarovski to test out new ideas, products and concepts, with some successful elements expected to be rolled-out into store locations in Canada as well as globally. Customers can engage with augmented reality, for example, with digital screens showing the latest from the brand in an environment that encourages exploration.
It was Square One’s market diversity that led to the brand partnering with the shopping centre for the Sparkle Pop Up. Square One is one of Canada’s largest and busiest malls, and Mississauga is known for its rapid population growth, which continues to diversify.
New Swarovski store locations in Canada will ideally be in the 800 square foot to 1,100 square foot range, according to the Aurora Realty Consultants website.
Swarovski was founded in Austria in 1895, and operates globally through its own stores as well as franchised locations and wholesale accounts. Its products include jewellery, figurines, home decor and various other collectable and gift items, with a focus on integrating cut-glass crystals into its designs.
*Photos are courtesy of Swarovski.