Holt Renfrew's planned e-commerce site will compete with Saks/HBC and Nordstrom


Image Source


Holt Renfrew

is reportedly in the process of creating an e-commerce website as it anticipates competition from 



Saks Fifth Avenue

. Currently, few Canadian retailers sell luxury merchandise online. According to Holt Renfrew CEO Mark Derbyshire, the new e-commerce site will be both innovative and impressive.

Derbyshire was interviewed by the

Financial Post


Hollie Shaw

over the weekend during the launch of the

newly renovated Holt Renfrew

at Toronto's

Yorkdale Shopping Centre

. Besides discussing how Holt Renfrew plans to foster top-notch customer experiences in its stores, Derbyshire described the company's proposed e-commerce site as "one of the most innovative sites [he] can imagine" and that he is "building up high expectations" as a result. 

Holt Renfrew's e-commerce endeavours come with good timing. In the next year or so,

The Hudson's Bay Company

intends to create a comprehensive e-commerce site for its Canadian

Hudson's Bay

department stores division with the help of Saks Fifth Avenue's web team. Saks also intends to launch its

own Canadian e-commerce site

. Saks Fifth Avenue and Holt Renfrew will become fierce competitors, as both carry many of the same designers and concessions. 

Holt Renfrew may take some comfort in the fact that


doesn't plan to launch a Canadian e-commerce site for the immediate future. Nordstrom does ship to Canada, however, through its American website:


. A source at Nordstrom tells us that the company intends to eventually launch a Canadian e-commerce site, though the source wasn't able to provide any specific timelines. Nordstrom is enjoying

substantial sales

via its American e-commerce site, as well as

significant growth

Canadian menswear retailer

Harry Rosen

has run an e-commerce site for several years and according to CEO Larry Rosen,

sales are growing

. Harry Rosen will continue to compete with Holt Renfrew for menswear sales and both will see increased competition as Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom roll out their menswear offerings to Canadians.


Financial Post article


Hollie Shaw


Holt Renfrew website


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Holt Renfrew to replace Toronto's Roots flagship with a men's store


Holt Renfrew has leased the corner retail location at 100 Bloor Street West in Toronto, and it has confirmed by Twitter that it will open a men's store on the site. The space's former leaseholder was Roots Canada. Few details are known about the new men's store which will compete with menswear retailer Harry Rosen , who's flagship store is directly across the street.

BREAKING NEWS We are excited to announce that we will be opening a standalone men’s shop this fall at 100 Bloor St W #holtsmen#comingsoon
— Holt Renfrew (@HoltRenfrew) February 6, 2014

We were first notified that Holt Renfrew was in negotiations for the 100 Bloor Street West retail space on January 13th. Immediately after, brokers and insiders began emailing us, asking for details on a new 'menswear concept' that they had heard would be opening in the former Roots space. Some speculated that Holt Renfrew's men's store would exit its 50 Bloor Street West flagship entirely so that it could relocate to 100 Bloor Street West. Not knowing details of the men's store and realizing the space is substantially too small for an entire Holt Renfrew men's store, we held off reporting on it until now, after the Globe & Mail revealed its research that a Holt Renfrew men's store will open in the space.

According to lease plans provided by 100 Bloor's landlord, the former Roots space is in excess of 15,000 square feet. The Globe & Mail reports that the adjacent Body Shop store will also close as Holt's will occupy both retail spaces. Given the relatively small size of this retail space compared to the size of its flagship men's store, we're not sure exactly what Holt Renfrew has planned for the space.

For size comparisons, Holt Renfrew's Vancouver men's store is about 25,000 square feet. Its Calgary men's store is just over 19,000 square feet, while its Yorkdale men's store spans 18,000 square feet. Contemplating these sizes and also noting that Holt Renfrew plans to expand the size of its Bloor Street flagship, we were left scratching our heads wondering what Holt's has in store for the former Roots space. We had suspected that the space could be devoted to the company's new unisex 'Holts Commons' concept, noting that Holts Commons had opened in a 7,000 square foot  space at Holt Renfrew's Yorkdale store. At the same time, we doubted that the substantial rents for this prime Bloor Street corner location would be appropriate for the mid-priced Holts Commons concept.

Competitors Harry Rosen and Holt Renfrew will be close neighbours. Photo: Google Streetview

Competitors Harry Rosen and Holt Renfrew will be close neighbours. Photo: Google Streetview

Menswear retailer Harry Rosen's 55,000 square foot flagship store is directly across Bellair Street from this new Holt's men's store. Harry Rosen will continue to be a very strong competitor. Its flagship carries some of the world's top menswear designers and features shops-in-store for such luxury labels as Tom Ford and Giorgio Armani Black Label. It will be interesting to see what Holt Renfrew will attempt with a space less than a third the size of Harry Rosen.

Both Holt Renfew and Harry Rosen may find some relief now that Saks Fifth Avenue has announced that rather than building a massive 300,000+ square foot flagship nearby, it will locate within Hudson's Bay's Queen Street flagship store. A source at the Hudson's Bay Company tells us that they expect Saks Fifth Avenue will also try to compete head-to-head with both Holt Renfrew and Harry Rosen, as well as Nordstrom when it opens in Canada

.We'll keep you updated on Holt Renfrew's new menswear concept on Bloor Street, as well as its renovation and expansion plans for its 50 Bloor Street West flagship store.


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Ogilvy & Holt Renfrew merger in Montreal: a winning strategy?

 Combined store rendering: City of Montreal

By Mounia Ayoub 




Holt Renfrew

 stores will merge, 

forming one of the largest department stores in North America

, slated for completion in late 2017. The Holt Renfrew store on Sherbrooke Street will close and the Ogilvy store located on the trendy Sainte-Catherine Street West will be revamped and expanded northward on the site of the former 

Hotel de La Montagne

. It is the only Ogilvy/Holt Renfrew-merged store planned so far in Canada.

Ogilvy and Holt Renfrew are heritage brands founded in Quebec: Ogilvy in 1866 in Montreal, and Holt Renfrew in 1837 in Quebec City. Both now belong to 

Selfridges Group Ltd

., owned by the 

Weston family

 of Toronto which also controls 


 in the United Kingdom, 

Brown Thomas

 in Ireland and 

de Bijenkorf

 in the Netherlands (and grocer 

Loblaw Companies Ltd

. in Canada). The new department store will take the (long) name in French of 

Ogilvy, membre de la collection Holt Renfrew & Co


The purpose of this merger is to boost sales in Montreal by combining and developing the strengths of both stores. As the Vice-President of Holt Renfrew, Joanne Nemeroff, pointed out 

in an interview with 

La Presse Affaires

, the decision to merge both stores was made after a market study (confidential sources) showed that the Holt Renfrew customers wanted a larger range of products with a new assortment of brands while the Ogilvy customers were asking for a new dynamism. Moreover, according to Mark Derbyshire, President of Holt Renfrew, the strategy of targeting the customers of both stores the same way remains consistent since these customers have a lot in common. “We think we can offer them something bigger in one place instead of two,” as M. Derbyshire stated in his interview with 

La Presse Affaires.

Current Holt Renfrew store on Sherbrooke St. W. [

Image Source


Holt Renfrew opened its store in Montreal on Sherbrooke Street in 1937; historically it has been the go-to place for fashion addicts in search of unique contemporary designer clothing and modern luxury accessories. On the other hand, Ogilvy has the reputation of offering a range of much more classic brands. We will see in the future if the regular Holt Renfrew customers will accept to change their shopping habits and leave the luxury Sherbrooke Street district to make their purchases on the less fashionable Sainte-Catherine Street.

What is more, this merger of the two stores in Montreal should allow the group to arm itself for the coming luxury battle with the arrival of its next big competitor, the New York-based luxury department store 

Saks Fifth Avenue

. Saks was acquired by the Hudson’s Bay Co. (HBC) last November and 

7 or 8 Saks Fifth Avenue stores are likely to open

 in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and possibly Calgary in the next few years. Two Saks Fifth Avenue stores should open in Montreal, one free-standing downtown store and one suburban store, 

possibly at Le Carrefour Laval


Saks will be the main competitor of Holt Renfrew in Canada as it has the same luxury positioning, carrying the same prestigious brands, from 






, including the same trendy designer labels such as 

Christian Louboutin

Manolo Blahnik

Jimmy Choo

 etc. Differentiation will therefore be difficult for both companies in Canada. We have reason to believe this Ogilvy/Holt Renfrew merger in Montreal is likely to facilitate the differentiation process as this new luxury megastore will add the classic, respected and well-established image of Ogilvy to the avant-garde spirit of Holt Renfrew.

Fortunately for the Selfridges Group, Seattle-based Nordstrom does not plan to open any high-end department store in Montreal so far. 

It will open only in Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa and Toronto

taking over the mall's Sears stores about to close in Canada

 (the first Nordstrom store in Canada should be opened in Calgary in 2014).


Image Source


Besides the Saks issue, the other question raised with this Ogilvy/Holt Renfrew merger in Montreal is whether or not the market can support such a luxury megastore given Quebec's market. With 220,000 square feet, the new Ogilvy/Holt Renfrew department store will be the largest luxury department store in Canada. Yet, according to 


, only 4.1% of the population in Montreal had an income of $200,000 or more, compared to more than the double in Toronto, with 8.4%, and 5.6% in Vancouver in 2013. Moreover, 16.8% of the households earning more than $200,000 a year in Canada were living in Montreal against 44.8% in Toronto and 13.3% in Vancouver in 2013. Therefore one can wonder whether or not there is enough demand for luxury products in the area to warrant such a huge department store in Montreal.

The point is many Montrealers are used to shopping outside the city, whether it be in Toronto, the rest of Canada, or the United States. According to Alecsandra Hancas, Fashion Industry Analyst at the

NPD Group

, cross-border shopping is a serious issue in Canada overall since it represented an estimated $1-billion loss for Canadian retailers in the year to May 2013


. Thus Ogilvy and Holt Renfrew’s executives expect that upscaling the luxury offering in Montreal will dissuade these customers from doing cross-border shopping and encourage them to make their purchases in this new Ogilvy/Holt Renfrew megastore instead.

In conclusion, this new Ogilvy/Holt Renfrew megastore will definitely change the luxury landscape in Montreal, and will probably contribute to the retention of the local customers who used to shop outside Montreal. The arrival of Saks in the next years will also upscale the retail market in the biggest city of the province of Quebec. In the meantime, this increasingly fierce competition in the luxury market will affect not only the department stores and their customers but also the suppliers, which will have to figure out how to distribute their collections without compromising past allegiances with Holt Renfrew or Ogilvy and without cannibalizing their current sales.

Mounia Ayoub is a luxury retail, fashion lover and a contributing editor for Retail Insider. Born in Paris and raised in Marseille, in the South of France, she is strongly attached to her Mediterranean roots. With a business background, she has worked for Marc Jacobs in Paris and contributed to consulting services at the French Trade Commission in Toronto for French luxury and cosmetic companies expanding their activities in North America. After living in Japan, New York City, Toronto and Paris, she has found in the multicultural city of Toronto the perfect pied-à-terre for now. 



Ogilvy website



Holt Renfrew website


Holt Renfrew now accepting China Unionpay card

[Image Source]
Holt Renfrew is now accepting the China Unionpay card at four of its stores. Chinese tourism is on the rise in Canada, as are luxury purchases by Chinese in Canadian stores. Given that shopping is the number one activity for travellers visiting Canada, accepting China Unionpay is a trend we expect to see continue. 

The China Unionpay card is the only domestic bank card in China and the leading card that visitors from China and other Asia-Pacific countries use while travelling abroad.

The four Holt Renfrew stores accepting the card are the flagship Toronto Bloor Street, Yorkdale (Toronto), Calgary and Vancouver stores. 

Holt Renfrew's Yorkdale store originally started accepting the card in September when the mall became the first in Canada to accept China Unionpay cards. Various other mall retailers also began accepting the card as part of the mall's push to attract international shoppers. 

China represents one of the fastest growing tourist markets for Canada. Between 2008 and 2012, the number of Chinese visitors to Canada almost doubled from about 165,000 to nearly 300,000. Most of these tourists visited Vancouver and Toronto. By the end of this year, for example, it is expected that the number of mainland Chinese visitors to Vancouver will be almost 180,000, up from just 57,000 in 2001. Some Vancouver luxury retailers reportedly see about 40% of their sales coming from mainland Chinese

In 2012, Chinese tourists spent an estimated $481 million in Canada with an average expenditure of about $1,670 per person. These numbers are about 20% higher than those in 2011. In total, it's estimated that Chinese tourists spent US$102 billion worldwide in 2012. 

We expect the number of Canadian retailers accepting the China Unionpay card to increase as Chinese tourism continues its boom. 


[China Unionpay card website]

[Holt Renfrew website]

Holt Renfrew creates Twitter accounts for its individual stores

Holt Renfrew has created Twitter accounts for each of its 7 stores in English-speaking Canada, as well as a bilingual account for its Montreal and Quebec City stores. Individual store twitter accounts for retail chains have recently enjoyed a gain in popularity. 

Individual store twitter accounts became more common after Nordstrom's recent authorization of the creation of individualized Twitter accounts for its various stores. These accounts have become quite popular and Nordstrom's Seattle flagship, for example, has over 7,000 Twitter followers. Saks Fifth Avenue joined the trend and recently launched Twitter accounts for several of its stores and even one for its new Chicago men's store.

Holt Renfrew has further leveraged Twitter by creating an account for its restaurant division called 'Holts Foodie'. It continues to maintain a information on job postings at its 'Holts Careers' Twitter account.

We've found that following these Twitter accounts provides timely information for keeping track of what's in store. Here are links to Holt Renfrew's accounts on Twitter:

[Holt Renfrew (Main Twitter Account)]

[Holt Renfrew Toronto: Bloor Street flagship]

[Holt Renfrew Toronto Yorkdale Shopping Centre]

[Holt Renfrew Toronto Sherway Gardens]

[Holt Renfrew Quebec (Montreal + Quebec City)]

[Holt Renfrew Ottawa]

[Holt Renfrew Edmonton]

[Holt Renfrew Calgary]

[Holt Renfrew Vancouver]

Hudson's Bay and other larger retailers may wish to follow this trend and at least create Twitter accounts for their flagship stores. With all of the recent exciting developments in Canadian retail, individualized Twitter accounts may be an excellent way to promote in-store events, as well as a way to enrich the entire omni-channel retail experience.

[Holt Renfrew website]

Prada opens at Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre

Photo: Darrell Bateman 

Prada has opened a boutique at Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre Holt Renfrew store. The Prada concession features accessories as well as women’s ready-to-wear and footwear. The shop is about 3,000 square feet and can be accessed both from within Holt Renfrew as well as from an entrance facing the mall. The photo above is the mall entrance to the new Prada store. 

The Yorkdale Prada is the latest concession for Prada in Canada. Prada has taken to opening and operating leased concessions around the world and currently operates concessions at Holt Renfrew’s Toronto (Bloor Street), Calgary and Vancouver stores. 

Prada joins neighbouring designer concessions including Chanel (which recently opened next to Prada), Gucci, Dior and Louis Vuitton. 

Prada also has a 5,889 square foot free-standing flagship at 131 Bloor Street West in Toronto. It features menswear, womenswear, accessories, footwear and fragrances.

We’ve been told that Saks Fifth Avenue intends on opening Prada concessions within its new Canadian stores. In fact, Prada will be one of several key designer concessions that Saks and Holt Renfrew will compete to operate. Nordstrom also has Prada concessions at several of its American stores and may also try to open Canadian Prada concessions. 

We’ll keep you updated on Prada’s Canadian store expansion, especially given Saks Fifth Avenue’s intentions to carry the designer in Canada. 

Thank you Darrell Bateman for the photo at the top of this article.

Photo: Holt Renfrew [Image Source]


[Image Source]

At 220,000 square feet, Montreal's combined Ogilvy/Holt Renfrew store will be one of the largest luxury department stores in North America when completed. From our calculations, it will be the 7th-largest luxury store in North America, surpassed only by stores in New York City, San Francisco, Beverly Hills and Houston. Toronto's flagship Saks Fifth Avenue is expected to be larger than Ogilvy/Holt's as well, though we are currently unaware of its exact size. 

In our analysis, we only included American retailers Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus/Bergdorf Goodman and Barney's New York. We've excluded retailers such as Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's, since both sell a considerable amount of mid-range merchandise that likely won't be carried in the new, upscaled Ogilvy.

The following American luxury department stores are larger than the new Ogilvy/Holt Renfrew's 220,000 square feet:

New York City:
Saks Fifth Avenue: 646,000 square feet
Bergdorf Goodman (both men's and women's stores): 316,000 square feet
Barney's New York: ~230,000 square feet

San Francisco:
Neiman Marcus, Union Square: 252,000 square feet

Beverly Hills, California:
Saks Fifth Avenue (combined men's and women's stores): ~275,000 square feet

Houston Texas:
Neiman Marcus, Houston Galleria: 224,000 square feet

Toronto's flagship Saks Fifth Avenue store is expected to be in the 300,000 square foot range. If so, it could become North America's second- or third-largest luxury store. We'll report more when we get details on the size of Saks' proposed Bloor Street store.


[Ogilvy website]

[Holt Renfrew website]


Rendering: Jason Goldstein LLP

Renderings have been released of the proposed 120,000 square foot Holt Renfrew store at Mississauga's Square One Shopping Centre. The store will anchor an expansion of the south-west portion of the mall.

The Square One Holt Renfrew is being designed by New York City-based architect Jason Goldstein. Goldstein appears to have become Holt's architect of choice for store design. His projects have included purpose-built Holt Renfrew stores in Vancouver (2007) and Calgary (2009), as well as Holt Renfrew's Yorkdale store expansion.

Rendering: Jason Goldstein LLP

Rendering: Jason Goldstein LLP

Holt Renfrew announced its new Square One store in April. For further details of the store and the mall's expansion, we direct you to our previous article.

Thank you to officedweller of Urban Toronto for posting the Jason Goldstein renderings. 


[Square One Shopping Centre website]

[Holt Renfrew website]


Holt Renfrew, Calgary. Photo: Darrell Bateman

Sources tell us that Holt Renfrew will be opening the fourth floor of its Calgary store for retail, including a new restaurant and a combined mens/women's shopping area called 'Holts Commons'. The fourth floor restaurant is said to open in early 2014.  

When Holt's opened its Calgary store in October 2009, it left its fourth floor shuttered so as not to 'overwhelm' the Calgary market with a store more than triple the size of its previous Calgary store. When its huge Vancouver replacement-store opened in 2007, sales struggled as shoppers adjusted to the new, larger (Neiman Marcus-like) format. Holt's subsequently figured its Calgary location should 'graduate' to a larger size as it saw sales increase. 

The 4th floor of Calgary's Holt Renfrew is said to open early 2014

On opening day, the 25,494 square foot fourth floor of Calgary's Holt Renfrew laid vacant while shoppers were introduced to the stunning 121,400 square foot store below. When the fourth floor opens next year, Calgary's Holt Renfrew will be the second largest in the chain at 146,887 square feet (second only to the Toronto flagship store). Vancouver's Holt Renfrew will fall back to be third largest at about 140,400 square feet. 

More changes will be coming to Calgary's Holt Renfrew store. We'll be announcing them periodically as it grows into its enlarged store space. 


[Holt Renfrew website]

Women's Designer Floor, Holt Renfrew, Calgary. Photo: Darrell Batemen


[Image Source]

On Friday we reported that Saks Fifth Avenue's Canadian flagship would be built at the corner of Yonge and Bloor Streets in Downtown Toronto, replacing a 342,000 square foot Hudson's Bay store. The new Saks reportedly be the second-largest in the world, surpassed only by its 646,000 square foot Manhattan flagship. The surrounding shopping area is expected to be elevated with the new Saks, potentially leading to luxury retailers moving or even relocating Eastward towards Saks on Toronto's Bloor Street. The approximately $100 million that HBC CEO Richard Baker is willing to spend on the store will hopefully help alleviate downfalls with the current space, including low ceilings and awkward access points.  

Saks' Manhattan flagship has exceptionally high ceilings, creating sense of drama for the store. This is unfortunately not the case for the Yonge and Bloor Hudson's Bay. It has considerably lower ceilings, having been built in the 1970's when lower ceilings were an acceptable trend. We lack knowledge on how to modify low ceilings and we welcome feedback as to if there is any way this could be remedied. The current Bay store, as well, has relatively awkward access points that involve having to take a half-flight of escalators from the street level to the main floor of the store. The store is also awkwardly accessed from the busy subway station level below, and Saks will sit directly above the intersection of the Yonge and Bloor subway lines. It will be interesting to see how the new store will be configured in light of these ceiling and access limitations.

High ceilings are a feature of the Manhattan Saks store [Image Source]

Richard Baker says Toronto's Saks will be "twice the size" of Holt Renfrew's Bloor Street flagship. The retail portion of Holt Renfrew's Bloor Street store features is somewhere in the 120,000-150,000 square foot range, as part of the store's total area of about 185,000 square feet (including storage and other uses). We base this 185,000 square foot estimation on Morguard Properties' website, noting that Holt Renfrew occupies almost 176,000 square feet with the Holt Renfrew Centre. Holt Renfrew also occupies more retail space within the adjacent 60 Bloor Street West building, including about 3,800 square feet of ground-floor space as well as a few thousand more dedicated to personal shopping suites within the office building at 60 Bloor.

Based on our rough calculations of Holt Renfrew's size, Bloor's Saks Fifth Avenue could occupy somewhere in the 240,000-300,000 square foot range and possibly more, all the way up to the 342,000 square feet of retail space currently occupied by Hudson's Bay. Regardless, the Bloor Street Saks will likely become Canada's largest luxury department store, surpassing the size of the recently announced Ogilvy/Holt Renfrew store to be created in Montreal.

Rendering of an expanded Holt Renfrew on Bloor Street West. Image: Urban Toronto

Holt Renfrew, itself, could expand its Bloor Street premises. Last year we reported that the store was to significantly expand to a size in excess of 200,000 square feet. The project is currently on hold and is expected to see modifications, and we're waiting to learn new details on the store's expansion. 

The area surrounding the new Saks will undoubtedly be elevated thanks to its new neighbour. The 'luxury zone' of Toronto's Bloor Street West has, lately, been concentrated on Bloor Street between Bay Street and Avenue Road. Holt Renfrew and Maison Birks fall outside of this boundary, both being between Bay Street and Yonge Street. With Saks' arrival east of Yonge Street, as well as new retail being constructed at neighbouring 1 Bloor Street East, we could see more luxury retailers moving eastward towards Saks.

Rendering of retail at 1 Bloor Street East. Photo: Urban Toronto

Lack of retail space on Bloor Street has been a contributing factor to the lack of luxury retail in Toronto in comparison to similar-sized cities like Chicago. Chicago's Michigan Avenue, Oak Street and surrounding streets have seen a continuous influx of luxury retail that arguably surpasses that of Toronto. Sources tell us that one of the challenges brokers are having placing luxury tenants in the Yorkville area is the lack of potential flagship retail space, and that could change as the desirability of Bloor Street's eastern portion is heightened by the new flagship Saks. 

Next week we'll discuss where some of Saks Fifth Avenue's other Canadian stores could open, in light of this now well-read Globe & Mail article written by Marina Strauss last week. 



Entrance to Chanel from within Holt Renfrew. Photo: Holt Renfrew
Chanel has opened its second-largest Canadian store, its fifth store location in Canada, at Holt Renfrew's expanded store at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto. The store is about 3,000 square feet, according to Holt Renfrew.

Photo: Holt Renfrew

According to Holt Renfrew: "A chic new CHANEL boutique opened at Holt Renfrew Yorkdale Shopping Centre on Thursday November 28. Designed by famed architect and long-time Chanel collaborator Peter Marino, the sparkling new 3000 square foot boutique was inspired by Mademoiselle Chanel’s apartment on rue Cambon in Paris. 

The salon houses Chanel’s coveted ready-to-wear fashion, plus handbags, footwear, accessories, watches and both costume and fine jewellery. We couldn’t resist slipping into the luxurious fitting rooms, featuring custom artwork by Peter Dayton, to try on a few pieces from the standout 2013/14 Cruise collection, first shown at Loewen Cluster in Singapore. #HoltsYorkdale

Photo: Holt Renfrew
Chanel's five Canadian stores include a 7,900 square foot free-standing flagship at 131 Bloor St. W, in Toronto, as well as boutiques within Holt Renfrew stores in Vancouver (1,880 sq ft), Calgary (~1,600 sq ft), Montreal (~1,700 sq ft) and Toronto (50 Bloor St. W. - 1,815 sq ft).

Photo: Holt Renfrew
We're expecting to make at least one major announcement on a Canadian Chanel store in the next couple of months. Stay tuned for updates. 


Chanel entrance from within Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Photo: Holt Renfrew


Holt Renfrew has introduced a shared shopping department for both men and women called 'Holts Commons'. The concept was unveiled over the weekend at Holt's Yorkdale store in Toronto, and it's expected to be introduced in other Holt Renfrew stores, space permitting. The Toronto Holts Commons spans about 7,000 square feet.

This is how holt Renfrew portrayed the concept: 

"His. Yours. Hers. Ours. Share your closet.

We are excited to introduce you to Holts Commons, an exciting new shopping destination for him and her exclusively at our Yorkdale location. Drawing inspiration from a mid-century modern design aesthetic, Holts Commons is a place to stay connected with others and shop collections from some of today’s most talked-about contemporary designers. Because shopping is an experience that’s best when it’s shared, Holts Commons allows both men and women to cross-shop and share some of the best pieces our store has to offer. Join us as we celebrate the launch of Holts Commons. #HoltsCommons"

Various brands are available in the new space including The Kooples, Rag & Bone, Burberry Brit, Comme des Garcons PLAY and Zadig & Voltaire.

We'll keep you updated on the innovative retail concept that is Holts Common's cross-Canada expansion as an innovative retail concept.


[Holt Renfrew website]

Photo: Barbara Atkin, Holt Renfrew


Rendering: City of Montreal

Canada's largest Holt Renfrew store will eventually be located in Montreal, though it will go by a different name. Holt Renfrew will merge with Montreal's Ogilvy as it spends $60 million to create a 220,000 square foot flagship in an expanded Ogilvy premises on Ste Catherine Street West. The current Holt Renfrew store on Sherbrooke Street West will then close. Construction on the new store begins in the fall of 2014 and is expected to be completed some time in 2017.

The new store will be called Ogilvy, part of the Holt Renfrew & Co. collection.  The name is rather long and we think many shoppers will refer to the combined retailer simply as 'Ogilvy', especially as it will be located within the current Ogilvy building. The current 160,000 square foot Ogilvy building will be expanded by about 60,000 square feet northward to create the new 220,000 square foot store.

Incredibly, insiders (including sources at Womens Wear Daily) speculate that sales in the new Ogilvy/Holt's store could be as high as $250 million annually. If so, these could be the highest department store sales in Canada, surpassing those of Hudson's Bay's Toronto flagship. 

The strategy to combine the two retailers is an interesting one. Montreal will technically lose its dedicated Holt Renfrew store on Sherbrooke Street West. However, it will gain an even larger luxury department store that can compete head-to-head with Saks Fifth Avenue, which will open within Hudson's Bay's Ste Catherine Street West store in downtown Montreal. When finished, Saks will be a mere 800 metres east of the new Ogilvy/Holt's. 

We expect that the new retailer will be similar to the company's Selfridge's store in London, though possibly more focussed on the luxury consumer. Selfridge's is considered to be one of the world's most innovative retailers, and it offers a wide variety of merchandise and pricing. We've been doing some research and giving it some thought, and we think that the new Ogilvy by Holt's will likely include the following improvements:

New 'luxury hall' for designer boutiques: We expect the new retailer to feature multiple luxury designer boutiques in a sort of "luxury street" similar to what Selfridge's group has created for its London store as well as for its de Bijenkorf store in Amsterdam. Luxury boutiques could include Hermès, Dior, Chanel, Gucci, Fendi, Miu Miu, Mulberry and others. Apart from a few luxury boutiques on Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal generally lacks luxury 'high streets' like Toronto's Bloor Street or Vancouver's Burrard/Alberni Streets. We expect Ogilvy/Holt's to capitalize on its large ground-floor space by featuring multiple luxury boutiques to compliment existing Ogilvy retailers such as Louis Vuitton. 

Massive Shoe Hall: We expect Holt Renfrew will create a massive women's shoe hall that will include separate boutiques for the likes of Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, and others. We'd expect this to be similar to the recently opened shoe hall at Holt Renfrew's Yorkdale store in Toronto, though on an even grander scale.

A substantial, luxurious men's store: We expect to see a large and luxurious men's store within the new Ogilvy/Holt's, offering such amenities as shaving services, shoe shines, personal shopping and a relaxation lounge, among others. We're not sure where it would go, yet, though we think it will be over 30,000 square feet as it attempts to compete with rivals Harry Rosen, L'Uomo and Saks Fifth Avenue.

A top-notch women's designer floor: We expect that the women's luxury clothing offerings at Holt's will be expanded and that there will be larger boutiques for Chanel, Gucci, Prada, Akris, Giorgio Armani and others. We also think Holt's will bring its couture salon concept over from its current store.

More fine jewellery: We think an expanded jewellery selection will build on Ogilvy's current H. Stern and Christofle boutiques to include many of the world's finest jewellers, such as Graff, De Beers, Bulgari and others.

Expanded cosmetics as well as beauty services: We expect cosmetics operations between the two retailers to be merged and improved upon with the increased square footage of Ogilvy/Holt's. Holt Renfrew already features a broad selection of cosmetics vendors, and more space will allow for a wider assortment of brand offerings. We'd expect the new store to also feature a spa, hair salon, and other beauty services carried at other Holt's flagships.

Restaurants: We expect to see at least one restaurant offering, if not several, in the new store. Restaurants aren't our specialty so we'll leave it at that.

Eliminated furniture department: Currently, Ogilvy carries furniture items on an upper floor. We think that continuing to carry furniture would be incompatible with Holt Renfrew's current merchandising strategy and that furniture will therefore be eliminated with the new store's opening.

More details of the combined Ogilvy/Holt Renfrew store will come available in the coming weeks. Keep reading for updates.

[Ogilvy website]

[Holt Renfrew website]


BREAKING: We'll follow up on this announcement with an analysis article in a few hours. 



Nov. 19, 2013

/CNW Telbec/ -


, Renfrew & Co., Limited today unveiled grand plans to expand and transform the St. Catherine's Street Ogilvy location into a unique and exciting luxury retail destination branded

: Ogilvy, part of the Holt Renfrew & Co. collection

. Spanning 220,000 square feet, the new specialty store will expand to include an adjacent site and become the largest in the Holt Renfrew network, offering innovative new retail concepts and


richest assortment of luxury fashion and beauty brands. Following a

$60 million

investment, the new store is slated for completion in late 2017.

"This is another exciting step forward in Holt Renfrew's dynamic growth plan," said Holt Renfrew President 

Mark Derbyshire

. "The 


 market presents a unique opportunity to leverage two storied brands. Inspired by the best of both Holt Renfrew and Ogilvy, and based on extensive customer research, we have developed a grand vision with bold new concepts that celebrate 


 rich fashion heritage and sophisticated shoppers."

"I am also pleased to note at this time the appointment of 

Joanne Nemeroff

 as Senior Vice President, Ogilvy, part of the Holt Renfrew & Co. Collection, based in 


, to lead our team and this exciting development," Derbyshire said. "Joanne is a seasoned retail executive with a great wealth of expertise and relationships in the 



"We're thrilled to offer this exciting fashion retail concept for 


, one that is sure to cement this city's standing as an international luxury shopping destination," said 

Joanne Nemeroff

. "With an expanded offering at a high-traffic location, the energized new store that will emerge in 2017 will provide customers with an unparalleled shopping experience. It's about getting the best of both worlds and more, all under one roof and one banner."

Grand, one-store vision to become a reality in 2017: 

Ogilvy, part of the Holt Renfrew & Co. collection

The construction phase for the future store is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2014 and be completed later in 2017. The store will remain open throughout this period to serve customers, as will the current 



 store in



Familiar elements of the distinctive and stylish Ogilvy building will be celebrated in the new store design, including its magnificent façade, complemented with an expansion on the site of the former Hotel de la Montagne. The store will also continue to offer a mix of lease partners.

The Holt Renfrew store on Sherbrooke Street will also remain open to welcome customers throughout this period, with exciting upgrades to enhance the shopping experience, including the recent launch of a new Dior shop, which offers the richest assortment of its kind in 


, and plans for a new Prada shop. Plans for the Sherbrooke Street property post 2017 will be confirmed at a future date, and are expected to include retail offerings to benefit the local community.

"We are very excited about the development of this unique concept for the 


 market. For now it remains business as usual for the current Ogilvy and Holt Renfrew stores. They will continue to provide the very best in beauty and luxury fashion as well as the quality service our customers have come to expect and enjoy," concluded Nemeroff.

About Holt Renfrew

Celebrating a 175-year heritage, Holt Renfrew is recognized worldwide for an inspired shopping experience. Once a purveyor of fashion to Her Majesty Queen Victoria, Holt Renfrew began in 1837 as a modest hat shop in 


. Over the years the brand developed and expanded across 


. In the 1930's Holt Renfrew began exclusive accounts with some of the best designers in 


 and in 1947 hosted Monsieur Christian Dior when he launched his "New Look." After many years of foreign ownership Holt Renfrew was bought in 1986 by W. Galen and the Hon.

Hilary M. Weston

. Under their ownership Holt Renfrew has become 


 destination for luxury retail. Holt


 has 2,300 employees with nine stores across the country in 






Quebec City





Bloor Street

, Sherway Gardens and Yorkdale). In early 2013, Holt Renfrew launched hr2, 


 first premium off-price concept, offering leading brands and on-trend styles at irresistible prices. Visit us at 






Ogilvy, part of the Holt Renfrew & Co. collection

, are part of Selfridges Group Limited. With extensive know-how and experience in operating luxury fashion retail stores, the Selfridges Group owns and operates leading heritage banners in key markets around the world, including Brown Thomas in 


; de Bijenkorf in 

The Netherlands

; Holt Renfrew and 

Ogilvy, part of the Holt Renfrew & Co. collection



, and Selfridges in the

United Kingdom

. Selfridges Group Limited is a family owned business, 

W. Galen Weston

 is Chairman.

SOURCE Holt Renfrew


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