By Craig Patterson
Upscale Australian furniture retailer King Living will open its first Canadian store in Vancouver’s tony ’South Granville’ shopping district this year. The two-level store will join other pricey retailers in the area, known to serve Vancouver’s affluent West Side. It's the latest international brand to enter the Canadian market by opening retail stores.
King Living was founded in 1977 in Sydney, Australia, and is known for its high-quality and well-designed contemporary leather and fabric sofas as well as dining furniture, bedroom, storage and outdoor furniture. King Living sofas are known to feature steel frames and ‘comfort seat suspension’. The company got started making foam furniture and soon after, it introduced removable covers that would allow sofas to be easily refreshed with a new look. In 1987 King Living released the Postureflex® Seating System, which is similar to the suspension used in luxury European cars such as Porsche and Rolls Royce.
The company has won multiple awards — in 2016, for example, it won the Sydney Hills Business Award, and in 2005 it was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show by famous designer Nate Berkus.
King Living’s prices aren’t cheap — many items are in the thousands of dollars, positioning King Living as a premium furniture retailer not unlike some found in Vancouver’s rapidly gentrifying Gastown area.
The company currently operates 18 stores globally, with 15 of those being in Australia as well as single locations in Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore. Canada will become the brand’s fourth international market in terms of operating standalone stores.
In Vancouver, King Living leased the entire building at 3057 Granville Street, which is at the northwest corner of Granville Street and W 15 Avenue. The building formerly housed another furniture retailer. According to marketing materials, 3057 Granville Street spans 10,610 square feet, with 5,392 square feet on the ground floor as well as 5,218 square feet in its basement. CBRE Vancouver listed the property with Mario Negris and Martin Moriarty acting on behalf of the landlord in the deal with King Living.
King Living’s location will place it within close proximity to some of Vancouver’s wealthiest neighbourhoods, where home prices can exceed $20-million. The wealthy Shaughnessy neighbourhood is a block south of the new King Living store, with Dunbar, Kerrisdale, and Point Grey being a bit further away. The entire West Side of Vancouver is now considered to be a prestigious residential address, with the benchmark price for a detached home exceeding a whopping $3.4-million.
Other area retailers cater to affluent locals, with nearby store locations for brands such as Max Mara, Le Creuset, and Boboli, and this fall luxury children's brand Bonpoint will debut its first store in Canada nearby on West 14th Avenue.
International retailers continue to descend on Canada by opening stores at a rapid pace. In 2017, more than 50 brands entered Canada by opening physical retail stores, which was then a record. Next week we’ll provide a half-year summary which indicates that 2018 could even surpass 2017's numbers, which further puts pressure on homegrown retailers as well as other international entrants.