DRAKE-OWNED OVO BRAND OPENING 1ST STORES IN OTTWA AND CALGARY
World-renowned Canadian musical performer Drake’s fashion retail concept October’s Very Own (OVO) will open its first Ottawa storefront at the CF Rideau Centre as well as a store at Calgary’s CF Chinook Centre this year. The Ottawa and Calgary stores will be the sixth and seventh OVO locations in Canada and by the end of the year, OVO will have 13 stores globally.
The Ottawa store will be located on Level 2 of CF Rideau Centre in a retail space located between the mall’s Apple Store and Aritzia stores. OVO will span about 2,520 square feet. Other nearby retailers include Icebreaker, Browns Shoes, MAC Cosmetics, Bailey Nelson, and Aesop, all located across from the new OVO store. The CF Chinook Centre store will be on the mall’s main level near Louis Vuitton in a 2,300-square-foot retail space. Both shopping centres are considered to be leaders in their respective markets in terms of sales per square foot productivity.
CF Rideau Centre and CF Chinook Centre are adding new retailers despite the pandemic. Last week we reported on Canada Goose opening on the third floor of the shopping centre in the coming month. We also reported that Dyson is opening at CF Chinook Centre this fall.
OVO’s first store in the world opened at 899 Dundas Street in Toronto in December of 2014. The small boutique was the brainchild of OVO’s co-founder Oliver El-Khatib, and it followed a summer of 2014 pop-up that was held in the same retail space. In December of 2015, OVO opened its second store location at 130 N. La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles, spanning about 2,400 square feet. In December of 2016, OVO’s third store location opened at 54 Bond Street in New York City. A store in London UK opened at 30 Berwick Street in the city’s Soho area in 2017.
The OVO brand then turned its sights back to Canada. In August of 2017, OVO opened at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre and in 2018, at Square One in Mississauga which was the first to include a children’s fashion collection. In October of 2018 OVO opened at 1044 Robson Street in Vancouver and in October of 2019, a store at CF Toronto Eaton Centre opened on the mall’s third level.
Given what appears to be a national expansion, OVO may look to open a store in Edmonton (West Edmonton Mall being the likely choice). The Montreal market could also be a target for OVO provided that language laws are not deemed to be an issue.
LA MAISON SIMONS BACK ON TRACK AFTER STRUGGLES
Quebec City-based large-format retailer La Maison Simons has regained profitability after struggles following closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s according to a French language report last week in La Presse.
A letter was sent to vendors last month stating that Simons would be paying vendors — Mavi Jeans representative Renée Mathieu said that Simons is the brand’s biggest customer and that payment terms had been extended for the first time in the 21 year relationship. Other vendors have been paid, with Peter Simons saying in the letter that vendors are an important part of the business. Fall deliveries will be delayed to preserve cash as well as to allow Simons to sell its spring-summer collections for a longer period of time.
The COVID-19 pandemic came at a challenging time for Simons. The retailer was preparing to open its automated distribution centre which cost about $215 million to build. It will service Simons’ 15 stores across Canada. Simons began a rapid store expansion about eight years ago when its fist store outside of the province of Quebec opened at West Edmonton Mall — the store became a top performer in the chain. Simons subsequently opened stores in the Ottawa, Mississauga, Calgary, and Vancouver markets, as well as a second store in Edmonton. Simons also operates several stores in the Montreal and Quebec City regions and will open a new store at CF Fairview Pte-Claire. As part of the past expansion, Simons was looking to open as many as 25 stores in Canada. Targeted locations included Yorkdale in Toronto and Square One in Mississauga, Southcentre in Calgary, as well as stores in Vancouver, Regina, Saskatoon, and possibly Halifax. That expansion was put on hold to focus on making existing stores eco-friendly.
Simons hit a snag in the spring with credit insurance on deliveries and moved pricier designer lines out of stores to its website. The company says that designer product from its pricey ‘Edito’ departments for women and men will return to physical stores this fall. Part of Simons’ brand appeal is its “high-low” product offering which includes an expansive assortment of private-label fashions as well as pricier designer brands which provide a contrasting price-point.
UK LUXURY BRAND MULBERRY PULLS OUT OF CANADIAN MARKET
London-based luxury brand Mulberry has permanently shut its only two Canadian stores, both located in Toronto. A Mulberry store at 131 Bloor Street West opened in August of 2013 and a store at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre opened shortly after.
Both stores were about 2,200 square feet each. The brand was expected to penetrate further into the Canadian market including Vancouver, though things were relatively quiet for years in terms of consumer engagement. The two Toronto stores recently closed quietly amid financial challenges at Mulberry — the company recently laid off a quarter of its staff and is discontinuing ready-to-wear and footwear.
The Bloor Street store opened temporarily in the summer prior to its shelves being cleared out. The Yorkdale store was cleared out at the same time. The Bloor Street store is located at The Colonnade, a retail centre also home to flagship locations for Dior, Prada, Cartier, Escada, Moncler, and other luxury brands. A couple of years ago a source said that Mulberry was looking to sublease the Bloor Street space at more than $400 a square foot and that Cartier had been interested in expanding into the Mulberry space at Yorkdale.
Several other international brands that entered Canada over the past decade are also either closing or have already left the market. We’ll provide a more in-depth report on this later this month.
NORTHBOYS OPENS NEW STORE
Boy's fashion retailer NorthBoys is expanding amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, with it’s newest store opening at the Lawrence Plaza, located right at the intersection of Lawrence and Bathurst in Toronto.
The retailer carries Toronto’s largest selection of designer boys dresswear and prior to its newest location had two other stores in the GTA, one at CF Shops at Don Mills and the other at Smartcentres Thornhill.
NorthBoys is unlike most stores in Canada, focusing specifically on dresswear — including suits, sports jackets, shirts, dress shoes, and semi-formal/casual — for young boys and teens. Carrying brands such as Michael Kors, Emporio Armani, and Hugo Boss, the Toronto-based retailer is growing despite most formal events being cancelled due to COVID-19. The latest store opening is encouraging and other retailers are also expanding despite a challenging time in the retail industry.
RECOVERY COHORT LAUNCHES IN TORONTO
The Recovery Cohort is an exciting, one-time incubator and accelerator program, designed to support creators, innovators, entrepreneurs, and students in reimagining and reshaping the future of the creative industries, and contributing to the post-pandemic rebuild of the creative sectors.
From television production, to live concerts, to shared maker spaces, the ways in which media, fashion, and entertainment are created and experienced has been upended because of COVID-19. The pandemic has forced these industries into a new hybrid online reality and reconsidering the relationship between brands and their audiences, the sustainability of processes and practices, and the biased politics of who gets to be a creator is a front and centre conversation.
The Recovery Cohort has three streams — an incubator, an accelerator, and a curricular option — and will be delivered in a Fall 2020 cohort and a Winter 2021 cohort at Ryerson University.
Applications are now open and will close August 21. For full program details, please visit www.bit.ly/recovery-cohort.
ALDO KICKS OFF ITS ‘STEP INTO LOVE’ FALL 2020 CAMPAIGN WITH INTERNATIONAL TIKTOK CHALLENGE
Montreal-based footwear and accessories brand ALDO is set to debut its Fall 2020 campaign, Step Into Love. Tapping into the universal languages of dance, music, and style, the brand hopes to inspire its customers and global community — the #AldoCrew — by encouraging them to have the self-confidence to connect meaningfully with the world around them.
The campaign was shot in New York City pre-COVID-19 and follows a group of strangers shedding their anxieties and inhibitions to boldly come together. What unfolds is a spontaneous moment of genuine human connection and results in a burst of electrifying and inspired energy.
To kick off the campaign, ALDO will launch their first-ever #StepintoLove TikTok challenge. From August 10 through to September 1, consumers from around the world are encouraged to learn and post their #StepintoLove dance video tagging @Aldo_Shoes and using the song Roses (Imanbek Remix) by SAINt JHN.
The challenge winner will receive $5,000 in their local currency to put towards an experience of a lifetime, a charity of their choice, or whatever their heart desires. The campaign will live on a dedicated microsite and across brand touch-points for the next 8 months, in-store, online, advertising, out-of-home, and social media programs as of Monday August 10, 2020.
LOWE’S CANADA DONATES $245,000 TO MORE THAN 75 LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS
In April 2020, Lowe’s Canada committed $1 million to support its associates and communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through a range of initiatives. As one of Canada’s leading home improvement retailers operating or servicing more than 470 corporate and affiliated stores under different banners across the country, it dedicated itself to supporting the Canadian retail landscape in whatever capacity possible. As a result, corporate stores from the Lowe’s Canada network received more than $240,000 to support initiatives addressing specific needs in their regions.
In the last few months, donations in cash or in kind worth a total of $245,000 were presented to over 75 food banks, hospital foundations, and other organizations helping the most vulnerable in the communities that Lowe’s, RONA, Reno-Depot, and Dick’s Lumber corporate stores serve across Canada.
“With the pandemic causing new problems to emerge and exacerbating existing issues, we felt it was important to express our solidarity by supporting community organizations that are facing higher demand and declining resources,” said Jean-Sébastien Lamoureux, Senior Vice-President, Public Affairs, Asset Protection and Sustainable Development at Lowe’s Canada. “Our field teams selected the organizations to support based on their knowledge of their regions and the needs of their communities.”
NORDSTROM HOSTING ANNIVERSARY SALE LATER THAN USUAL IN CANADA
The company’s biggest and most popular shopping event of the year will feature new arrivals on sale for a limited time until prices go back up on September 4. The celebrated Sale will showcase exclusive deals from brands like Frame Denim, Madewell, Smythe, Nike, Adidas, AG Jeans, Herschel, Le Labo, La Mer, Charlotte Tilbury, and more, with items for men, women, and kids in every category including apparel, shoes, accessories, beauty, active, and home.
This is the sixth year Canadian customers have been able to enjoy the celebrated Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Every year during the event, Nordstrom brings customers deals on the best brands and hottest trends, as well as everyday essentials. New this year in response to customer demand and in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sale will feature an expanded assortment of loungewear, activewear, and cozy home items to accommodate stay-at-home life.
Early Access is available for Nordy Club Ambassadors and Nordstrom cardmembers beginning August 16.