Reitmans to Close All Hyba Activewear Stores

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By Craig Patterson

Montreal-based women's fashion retailer Reitmans has announced that it will close all of its Hyba women’s activewear stores, and that the Hyba line will continue to be carried at Reitmans stores as well as online. 

Reitmans launched the Hyba brand in 2013 and in the fall of 2015, opened 17 standalone Hyba stores in former Smart Set locations. Smart Set was a women’s brand that once had more than 100 store locations coast-to-coast. 

All 17 Hyba stores will close by the end of Reitmans’ current fiscal year, being February 2, 2019. The line will be carried in the company’s 270 Reitmans store locations, as well as at www.reitmans.com. Reitmans said that Hyba represents less than 2% of the company’s total annual sales, prompting the store closures. 

In a statement, Reitmans said: 

“Costs associated with HYBA store closures comprise non-cash asset write-offs of approximately $1.5 million after tax and a provision for onerous store leases of approximately $2.0 million after tax, to be reflected in the Company's fourth quarter results for the fiscal year ended February 3, 2018”. 

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Hyba is positioned as a well-priced, high-quality, style-focused line of women's activewear in a range of sizes. Hyba’s messaging caters to women who are seeking to become more active without the pressure of becoming a 'top athlete’, encouraging movement, fun and health. Hyba offers a range of activewear apparel and accessories, including dry wicking performance gear, yoga attire, and style-focused athleisure looks. Sizes range from 2 to 20, which is broader than most competitors.

Hyba’s store interiors feature a combination of bright colours and soft wood, creating positive space that encourages activity, according to the company. The retail concept was expected to be rolled out further and Farla Efros, President of retail consultancy HRC Advisory, went so far as to say that Hyba could have invigorated Reitman's operations as a whole, leading the company to stronger sales and increased profitability — higher-end yoga pants average more than $100, for example, and Hyba’s prices were less than half that amount. 

Hyba’s 17 stores are primarily in enclosed shopping centres, some of them very well known — its CF Toronto Eaton Centre location boasts a mall entrance as well as Yonge Street access, which has made it a target for retailers (such as Tesla) that have been seeking out new retail spaces. Hyba stores are located coast-to-coast, with a focus on Ontario and Quebec. In Western Canada, Hyba has stores in Victoria BC and Kelowna and in the Maritimes, it currently operates units in Halifax and Dieppe/Saint John, NB. The remaining 13 stores are in Quebec and Ontario. 

*All photos were provided courtesy of Reitmans when we first reported on Hyba's retail expansion in 2015. 

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Craig Patterson, now based in Toronto, is the founder and Editor-in-Chief Retail Insider. He's also a retail and real estate consultant, retail tour guide and public speaker. 

Follow him on Twitter @RetailInsider_, LinkedIn at Craig Patterson, or email him at: craig@retail-insider.com.

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