By Craig Patterson
Landlords Simon and SmartCentres have announced an expansion of the Toronto Premium Outlets centre in Halton Hills that will include a substantial amount of new retail space which will house several world-renowned luxury brands. When the expansion is unveiled on November 15, Toronto Premium Outlets will have secured its spot as the country’s leading outlet centre with eight luxury brands operating in the busy centre, bringing it closer in line with some of the best outlet centres internationally.
The expansion will add more than 144,000 square feet to the Toronto Premium Outlets, which already spans about 358,000 square feet with an outdoor configuration. The centre opened in August of 2013 and it has been adding new retailers ever since. To keep up with increasing demand, about 1,600 parking spaces were added in a new five-level parking garage in December of 2017. The retail expansion is being built on the north side of the centre, creating a new corridor that will house an additional 40 units that will include a mix of retailers, fast-casual food offerings and family-friendly amenities.
Toronto Premium Outlets is one of Canada’s top-performing shopping centres in terms of annual sales per square foot, and it attracts millions of shoppers each year and provides over 900 full-time jobs. The Centre is Halton Hills’ largest property taxpayer, according to its landlords.
“We’re thrilled to offer our customers even more amazing retail options with this new expansion”, says Helena Moniz, General Manager, Toronto Premium Outlets. “We’re always looking to elevate the luxury shopping experience we provide, and the introduction of our exclusive new retailers, state-of-the-art parking garage, new Guest Services Centre and additional amenities such as mobile phone chargers and a full-service restaurant, help us do just that”.
When finished, the Toronto Premium Outlets expansion will see the centre grow to about 130 retailers and over 3,000 parking spaces. The expansion will include the addition of four significant brands — Gucci, Montblanc, Prada and Zadig & Voltaire.
Gucci will be opening its second outlet store in Canada at Premium Outlets Toronto, following the opening of a Montreal Gucci outlet at Premium Outlets Montreal in the fall of 2015. Gucci, considered to be one of the hottest brands in the world, is also in line to become the top-selling luxury brand globally as sales surpass those of Louis Vuitton and Chanel. Gucci also operates a network of full-priced stores that includes standalone units in Toronto and Vancouver (and a third said to be in the works for Edmonton) as well as concessions at most Holt Renfrew stores in Canada. Gucci will be opening a ‘World of Gucci’ concession at Holts in Toronto’s Yorkdale next year, and will also renovate/expand its Bloor Street unit.
The Montblanc outlet will be a first in Canada. Swiss-based Montblanc operates a network of standalone units in Toronto (three stores), Montreal (two stores) and in several months time, a new Vancouver location will be unveiled on the 1000 block of Alberni Street that will replace a shuttered Burrard Street unit which closed several months ago.
Prada is a major score for Toronto Premium Outlets, representing the first Prada outlet in Canada, and one of only a handful on the continent. Prada also operates a network of standalone stores and concessions — standalone units can be found in Toronto and Vancouver, and concessions are at selected Holt Renfrew stores as well as at Saks Fifth Avenue in downtown Toronto.
Zadig & Voltaire is a contemporary brand based out of Paris, which operates standalone stores in Toronto and Montreal. Both sotres opened in the fall of 2017, and Toronto Premium Outlets will be the brand’s first outlet in Canada.
Several other luxury brands operate at Toronto premium Outlets, including Jimmy Choo, Burberry, Hugo Boss, Giorgio Armani, Movado, and Ports 1961. Other notable outlets such as AllSaints, Coach, Kate Spade, Stuart Weitzman, Ted Baker, The Kooples, Tory Burch, and Tumi all draw upscale shoppers. No other outlet centre in Canada will have as many luxury brands on offer as Toronto Premium Outlets, though centres in Montreal and Vancouver could if they continue to add luxury retailers.
Premium Outlets Montreal houses locations for luxury brands including Gucci, Hugo Boss, Max Mara, and Salvatore Ferragamo, as well as some upscale first-ever outlets for Canadian brands Moose Knuckles and Pajar. The centre also houses Canada’s only Hudson’s Bay Outlet (another location at Toronto Premium Outlets was replaced last year by Saks OFF 5TH).
Vancouver’s McArthurGlen Designer Outlets, which was initially positioned as being a luxury outlet centre, houses luxury brands Armani, Hugo Boss and Ports 1961 — the architecturally unique centre, located near Vancouver International Airport also houses outlet locations for French contemporary brands Sandro and Maje (their first outlets in Canada for each) as well as for bag brand Lipault Paris, which opened its first North American store there in the summer of 2017.
Indianapolis-based Simon partnered with Montreal-based Ivanhoé Cambridge to open an outlet centre in suburban Edmonton, which opened in the spring. Called ‘Premium Outlet Collection International Airport’, the 428,000 square foot centre includes some notable brands such as Nike, Browns Outlet and Genesis Motors, though it lacks some of the true luxury brands that are located in the Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver outlet centres mentioned above. Interestingly, Simon originally intended to open an outlet mall north of West Edmonton Mall which would have been called ‘Edmonton Premium Outlets’, but those plans were scrapped with the partnership that created the current Edmonton outlet centre.
The luxury brands being added to Toronto Premium Outlets puts it more in line with some of the premium outlet centres found in the United States, such as the Desert Hills Premium Outlets in Cabezon California, Fashion Outlets Chicago, or Woodbury Common Premium Outlets near New York City. Toronto still has a way to go, however, to catch up to some of the more luxurious centres — a quick scan of the Desert Hills Premium Outlets tenant list includes names such as Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Bally, Bottega Veneta, Brioni, Brunello Cucinelli, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Loro Piana, Moncler and Zegna, which attract visitors worldwide seeking out reduced prices on some of the leading brands. Given Toronto’s ever-growing tourist numbers, its own outlet centre could see increased tourism and as a result, possibly more luxury retailers in the years to follow.