BRIEF: Old Navy Announces 3 Stores, SSENSE to Unveil 5-Storey Flagship

By Helen Siwak, Retail Insider Brief Editor

3 Canadian Stores Part of Old Navy 60-store North American expansion: Old Navy is expanding its retail presence across Canada by opening three additional stores in 2018. In 2017, the value-priced Gap-owned fashion retailer operated 78 stores in Canada and pledged to operate at least 100 stores by 2020. This new announcement is consistent with Old Navy’s real estate strategy which is to continue the expansion of the brand into non-traditional retail locations such as discount, urban, and outlet centres.  

Opening on May 2nd is a 12,500-square-foot location at Carrefour Angrignon (Lasalle, QC) and a 15,500-square-foot location at Outlet Collection at EIA (Edmonton, AB) followed in mid-June by a 10,200-square-foot location in CF Fairview Mall (Toronto, ON) 

In addition to opening stores, Old Navy is remodeling approximately 150 stores across the fleet in an effort to ensure existing stores represent the best expression of the brand. 

Vancouver-Based Build-Your-Own Pizza Chain ‘Assembli’ to Enter Toronto Market: Some delicious news for pizza and salad lovers in Toronto. Assembli, which has two locations on the West Coast, will be opening its third location in downtown Toronto anticipated this summer, with construction to be completed in June. Leading construction firm BUILD IT by Design is currently working on the space, and provided the images in this article. 

Assembli offers custom-made pizzas and salads, which is great for those seeking unique offerings or those that have specific preferences. Assembli uses high-quality ingredients as well as fresh, non GMO, hormone-free, antibiotic-free and local and organic when possible. There are more than 50 toppings to choose from and you can even order online to avoid waiting in line. Watch for this popular concept to expand its operations. Toronto’s location for Assembli will be downtown at 373 Church Street just south of Carlton Street, at the base of an upscale residential tower that is nearing completion on the site. BUILD IT by Design, which works with some of the world’s top retailers and restaurants on their Canadian store build-outs, have supplied photos showing the ‘before’ work that’s happening now, as well as the final product that will be finished this summer. The new space will have a mix of high-quality industrial interiors, colourful fixtures, and kitchen/prep areas that will wow customers. 

*All images are courtesy of BUILD IT by Design

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Union Station Offers Cheeky Twist on Pop-ups: After years of renovations, Toronto’s Union Station is well on its way to becoming a retail and cultural destination. With an average of 250,000 people passing through the transportation hub each day, this week’s opening of the ‘Home by thisopenspace’ pop-up store is an incredible opportunity for the participating eight online brands to get new ‘non-digital’ eyes on their products.

This two-month temporary retail space is also providing a taste of what the world of bricks-and-mortar retail is really like. Its ‘cheeky’ theme is inspired by the notion that almost everyone who passes through Union Station, are either ‘going home’ or ‘coming from home.’

Occupying 350-square-feet and located on the lower level of the station, local brands like Pilot Coffee, Greenhouse Juice, Peace Collective, will co-exist with Canadian e-commerce brands including Sleepenvie, Permanent Vacation and Bibelot & Token

Doug Stephens, a retail expert and founder of Retail Prophet, says the idea of the Union Station pop-up is "fantastic," and is part of a larger trend of bringing change to traditional retail spaces.

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Hogan Pharmacy Innovates by Putting the Lockdown on Prescriptions: Hogan Pharmacy throughout southern Ontario are taking a leadership role in addressing two major health issues – the opioid epidemic and unintentional paediatric medicine poisonings. 

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Hogan Pharmacy is the first pharmacy chain in Canada to offer SAFE RX® Locking Prescription Vials (LPVs™) for dispensing with the ability to encode the patients’ four-number lock right at the pharmacy. LPVs™ provide a more secure medication storage option for anyone filling a prescription and will help in preventing accidental access to medications and intentional pilfering, which is a leading source for teen prescription drug abuse and opioid addiction. This product is an affordable and sensible solution to keep medicine out of the wrong hands.

According to a recent Government of Canada report, there were 2,946 apparent opioid-related deaths in Canada in 2016. In only nine months, from January to September 2017, there were at least 2,923 apparent opioid-related deaths.

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Walmart Canada Campaigns to Put 10 Million Meals on the Table in 2018: Walmart Canada has launched its 2nd annual ‘Fight Hunger, Spark Change,’ national fundraising campaign. Running from April 5th to May 2nd, Walmart hopes to raise enough funds to secure 10 million meals for Canadian families in need through Food Banks Canada and its network of more than 550 food banks. 

Customers are invited to join in the fight against hunger. First by purchasing specific products – either in store or at walmart.ca - of select products, with participating brands donating a portion of the proceeds to Food Banks Canada, up to a maximum of $850,000. Partners include: General Mills, Kellogg’s, PepsiCo, KraftHeinz, Mars, Ferrero, Old Dutch, Maple Leaf, Unilever, Lassonde, Mondelez, and Starbucks. Second, by dropping non-perishable food donations in the donation bins located at the front of each Walmart store.

A ‘Donate at the Register’ opportunity ran from April 5th to 27th where customers were offered the opportunity to round up their purchase at the register to the nearest dollar. Walmart will be matching these funds to a maximum of $820,000. 

Walmart is also donating $100,000 to Food Banks Canada’s retail food program and donating $80,000 to support Food Banks Canada’s National Food Sharing System, which helps to move approximately 10 million pounds of food annually.

With more than 85,000 associates, Walmart Canada is one of Canada's largest employers and has an extensive philanthropy program focused on supporting Canadian families in need, and since 1994 Walmart has raised and donated more than $300 million to Canadian charities.

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Halifax’s Wicker Emporium Files for Creditor Protection: The Nova Scotia-based importer and retailer of solid wood furniture and home decor, Wicker Emporium, filed for protection under the CCAA on April 18, listing over $5-million in liabilities, including $865,000 to Accord Financial, according to publication Insolvency Insider

First opened in 1972, founder Madan Kapahi created Wicker Emporium as a way to share treasures from his home country of India with shoppers in eastern Canada. Growth for the company over the years has been successful and as of now, the company operates 23 bricks-and-mortar stores in Atlantic Canada and Ontario, as well as an online store. 

Due to changes in sale patterns in different locations, however, the company has experienced a recent decrease in profits from sales, particularly at stores located in more rural areas. As a result, the company has experienced difficulty in paying its suppliers, many of which are furniture manufacturers based in Asia. 

MNP was appointed monitor. Burchells is counsel to the company.

[Insolvency Insider website]

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SSENSE to Open 5-Storey Montreal Flagship (on Thursday, May 3): Montreal is buzzing right now, ahead of the opening of multi-brand retailer SSENSE's new Montreal flagship, which is said to be opening on May 3. While SSENSE won't officially provide details on the new store just yet, we were able to put together a few relevant details ahead of the highly anticipated grand opening. 

The five-level Montreal store will be located at 418 Saint-Sulpice in a renovated heritage building in Old Montreal. Milan-based David Chipperfield Architects has been responsible for designing the space, which is expected to be groundbreaking in its design. 

SSENSE's Montreal flagship is expected to be highly experiential and will include installations from artists as well as features to create ongoing interest -- SSENSE, which operates from a current storefront in Old Montreal as well as online globally, sells products from a selection of independent, luxury and streetwear designers, also produces its own original editorial content. The company was founded in 2003 by three brothers (Rami Atallah, Firas Atallah, and Bassel Atallah) and the online platform currently serves 136 countries, operating in English, French and Japanese. About 80% of SSENSE's clients are between the age of 18 and 34. 

This month, SSENSE acquired fashion community Polyvore and immediately closed the platform without warning. 

Stay tuned for more details on SSENSE's Montreal flagship, as the company is expected to make an announcement very soon. 

Helen Siwak is the publisher of EcoLuxLuv.com Magazine, a freelance content creator specializing in retail and luxury lifestyle. She is a regular content contributor to Boulevard Vancouver (English & Chinese), Retail-InsiderBLUSH Vancouver, and has lifestyle blogged for StyleDemocracy and Daily Hive. When not writing, she is attending fashion events, traveling, and advocating for animal/human rights. helensiwak@yahoo.com.

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