By Craig Patterson
Quebec City-based large-format fashion retailer La Maison Simons has announced that it will open its 16th store location at the CF Fairview Pointe Claire shopping centre in suburban Montreal. The two-level Simons flagship will be part of a bigger project by landlords Cadillac Fairview and Ivanhoé Cambridge that will involve a renovated centre as well as the eventual creation of a new ‘city centre’ on Montreal’s West Island.
The new Simons store will be its first location on the West Island, and it will occupy the second and third levels of the mall’s 180,000 square foot former Sears space. When opened, Simons will include about 100,000 square feet of retail space and because of the centre's grade, the store will have a ground-level entrance. Details about the store itself are still limited however — Simons hasn’t yet announced a design firm for the new store, which could include environmental initiatives such as those in its recently opened store at Les Galeries de la Capitale in Quebec City.
"We value our loyal customers in the West Island, so we are pleased that we will be able to better serve them, alongside new customers, with a Simons location in their community," said Peter Simons, Co-owner and President of Simons. "As we continue to grow inside and outside of Quebec, we know that physical locations are a vital part of the retail experience and go hand-in-hand with the growing digital economy."
Simons is known for its bold-looking stores, and the retailer has won numerous design awards for its innovative spaces. The new Pointe Claire Simons store will open in the year 2021, which will give the landlord enough time to also design and build a ‘food experience’ on the first level of the former Sears store that is expected to involve various dining options.
"Today's announcement represents an extremely exciting stage in the evolution of CF Fairview Pointe Claire," said Brian Salpeter, Senior Vice President, Development, Cadillac Fairview. "The addition of Simons, one of the premier retailers in Quebec, as well as the anticipated arrival of the new light rail transit station near the shopping centre, will serve as catalysts for the transformation of the property and the adjacent lands into a new, vibrant mixed-use community that will become the city centre for the entire West Island."
In an interview, Mr. Salpeter explained how the landlord acquired about 50 acres of land to the west of CF Fairview Point Claire in 2013, and that it’s now working with the city to create a mixed-use ‘new downtown’ that will be served by a light-rail transit line that will span about 67 km from the south shore to Laval. The multi-billion project will become a focal point not only for the West Island, but for the Greater Montreal Area as a whole. The mall itself will also see renovations with details to be revealed at a later date.
Last week it was announced that Simons, for the first time, has accepted outside investment to help fund a new high-tech 575,000 square foot, $215-million distribution centre in Quebec City that will help grow Simons’ rapidly growing e-commerce business. Online sales now account for about 20% of Simons’ business, according to Peter Simons, and having a state of the art distribution centre will be key to keeping the business operational while also allowing for enhanced growth initiatives both in-store and online — the company continues to see more and more shoppers from the United States as well.
La Maison Simons, which was founded in Quebec City by the Simons family in 1840, opened its first store outside of Quebec in October of 2012 when it unveiled an impressive 125,000 square foot store at West Edmonton Mall. The company subsequently expanded nationally and now includes 15 stores in BC, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. Of its 15 stores, eight of them have opened since 2012 as part of an unprecedented expansion for the retailer which features a mix of reasonably-priced in-house fashion labels and brands that include some of the world’s top names such as Balmain, Marni, Vivienne Westwood, Nina Ricci, and others.