Vancouver Area Retailers Busy as Stores Begin to Reopen After COVID-19 Shutdowns [Photos]

By Retail Insider

Some retailers in British Columbia began reopening doors on Friday May 15, and pent up demand is said to be resulting in strong sales at some stores as consumers return after nearly two months of store shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Retail Insider’s Lee Rivett and Ritchie Po took photos for this article. Mr. Rivett toured downtown Vancouver over the weekend and Mr. Po toured CF Richmond Centre. As per law in British Columbia, stores in enclosed malls have been permitted to reopen along with businesses that have exterior entrances (to date retailers in enclosed malls in provinces such as Ontario have not been permitted to reopen).

Some retailers are saying that pent-up demand is resulting in strong retail numbers. Retail Consultant David Ian Gray, founder and strategist at DIG360 Consulting Ltd., said that the Zara store on Robson Street saw very strong sales numbers when it reopened on Friday May 15. Retailers in the area have said that pent up demand has resulted in a situation where consumers are coming out of their homes with a purpose to spend money. Gray said that other retailers had said that sales were strong. The H&M store at CF Pacific Centre was busy and spaced out. Last week some stores in the downtown Vancouver mall weren’t open yet he said.

One source with a luxury brand noted that even when stores were closed, the well-known brand had seen comparable sales through remote clienting as when the retail space had been open before the shutdowns. This is interesting as it appears to show that high retail sales can be obtained by some brands even if a physical store isn’t present.

Not all stores have opened yet. Those that have are taking precautions, many of which have been mandated by governments. That includes occupancy limits, physical distancing protocol, sanitization and reduced store hours. Some retailers are providing face masks to guests and hand sanitizer is becoming ubiquitous.

The following are photos taken over the past few days in downtown Vancouver and Richmond.

Above: A lineup at the Artizia store at the southwest corner of Robson Street and Thurlow Street. Aritzia says that it is seeing strong sales numbers amid pent-up demand.

Above: Luxury stores in Vancouver’s Alberni Street ‘Luxury Zone’ have begun to reopen. It’s too soon to tell for some how sales will be. Many of these retailers have private shopping areas which will no doubt be a good thing at this time as well as into the foreseeable future.

PHOTO: LEE RIVETT

Above: The Versace store at the southwest corner of Thurlow Street and Alberni Street hadn’t opened as of the weekend, as per the photo above, but should be soon.

PHOTO: LEE RIVETT

Above: The Prada flagship store at the southeast corner of Alberni Street and Thurlow Street is open once again. The store had been shut for weeks and product had been removed.

Above: The Burberry store at the northwest corner of Alberni and Thurlow Street in the photos above once again has product on the shelves and is open to the public with limited capacity.

Above: Saint Laurent on the 700 block of Alberni Street has reopened after being boarded up for weeks. Moncler will open soon.

OVO (former Boys’co location). PHOTO: LEE RIVETT

Above: Some stores on Robson Street are still in the process of reopening. The OVO store in the photo above includes a door person wearing a face mask.

PHOTO: LEE RIVETT

Above: A reopened Club Monaco flagship store on Robson Street. Doors were left open to welcome guests while creating a sense that the space is well ventilated.

ROBSON STREET DURING REOPING AFTER COVID SHUTDOWN. PHOTO: LEE RIVETT

Above and below: Another shot of the 1000 block of Robson Street with soon-to-open retailers.

PHOTO: LEE RIVETT
PHOTO: LEE RIVETT

Above: Lululemon is beginning to reopen its stores, including its flagship on Robson Street at the corner of Burrard Street. Many storefronts in Vancouver were boarded over for weeks and artwork was painted to help lift spirits for those passing by.

PHOTO: LEE RIVETT

Above: A door person in a mask at the Tiffany & Co. flagship at the northwest corner of Alberni Street and Burrard Street. Below: The Jimmy Choo and Rimowa stores on Alberni Street have yet to reopen — Rimowa is new and replaces multi-brand ‘Artino’ which occupied the space for several years.

PHOTO: LEE RIVETT
PHOTO: LEE RIVETT

Above: A photo of foodservice business Thierry which has yet to reopen. Below is optical retailer Oliver Peoples which should be open again soon.

PHOTO: LEE RIVETT
PHOTO: LEE RIVETT

Above and below: Luxury retailers on the 1000 block of Alberni Street.

PHOTO: LEE RIVETT

Above and below: The 1100 block of Robson Street — Muji is expected to open soon. Below, the Nike store opened last week.

PHOTO: LEE RIVETT
PHOTO: LEE RIVETT

Above: the soon-to-open Victoria’s Secret store at the northeast corner of Robson Street and Burrard Street. We reported last week that 13 Victoria’s Secret stores in Canada will close permanently.

Below are photos by Ritchie Po of CF Richmond Centre, located south of Vancouver.

PHOTO: RITCHIE PO

Above: the Hallmark store at CF Richmond Centre features directional arrows, as well as a more spaced-out configuration.

PHOTO: RITCHIE PO

Above: Montreal-based eyewear retailer BonLook has opened at CF Richmond Centre. Prior to COVID-19, the retailer was expanding physical retail locations rapidly.

PHOTO: RITCHIE PO

Above and below: The mall’s Zara store has opened with spaced out merchandise and sanitization protocol.

PHOTO: RITCHIE PO
PHOTO: RITCHIE PO

Above: Shoppers Drug Mart in CF Richmond Centre is open. Beauty product testing has been halted for now.

PHOTO: RITCHIE PO
PHOTO: RITCHIE PO
PHOTO: RITCHIE PO

Above: Some stores have yet to reopen dressing rooms. This is posing a challenge as some retailers are also hesitant to accept returns at this time. Fashion retailers are quarantining clothing that has been returned or tried on. The quarantine periods generally range between 24 hours and three days.

PHOTO: RITCHIE PO

Above: Sleep Country Canada, which has been rapidly expanding into malls, is welcoming guests with caution. Below, Journeys has moved displays from the centre of the sales floor to create more space for physical distancing.

PHOTO: RITCHIE PO
PHOTO: RITCHIE PO

Above: Hugo Boss at CF Richmond Centre. The photo below is of the mall’s food court which does not yet allow guests to sit to eat.

PHOTO: RITCHIE PO
PHOTO: RITCHIE PO
PHOTO: RITCHIE PO
PHOTO: RITCHIE PO

In the photo above, the Hudson’s Bay department store at CF Richmond Centre has reopened with spacing, occupancy and safety protocols. Many Hudson’s Bay stores in the country have recently reopened, with more to come.

PHOTO: RITCHIE PO

Above: A normally busy Apple store. Spacing has resulted in significantly less guests in the space at one time. The photo below shows another angle of the lineup for the Apple store.

PHOTO: RITCHIE PO
PHOTO: RITCHIE PO

Above: The newly reopened Uniqlo store at CF Richmond Centre. The store carefully guides visitors through the vast space.

PHOTO: RITCHIE PO

Above: The Muji store at CF Richmond Centre features arrows directing shoppers that are being asked to line up. The store’s merchandise is much more spread out than prior to the store shutdowns.

Tomorrow we’ll take you on a photo tour by Jessica Finch and Craig Patterson in Toronto.

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