Roots to renovate/expand 2 flagships and relocate 3rd

 Toronto Eaton Centre 'Roots Central' [Image Source]
Roots has confirmed new leases for two flagship stores in Toronto and one in Vancouver, and it is committing several million dollars in major renovations to these stores. A third flagship on Toronto's Bloor Street West will relocate.

The stores include the company's two top-performing locations - one at the Toronto Eaton Centre and another at Vancouver's high-profile downtown intersection of Robson and Burrard Streets. The third store involves a relocation from 100 Bloor Street West in Toronto to a smaller location at 80 Bloor Street West

According to lease plans, the Toronto Eaton Centre Roots store is 7,665 square feet. It enjoys a high-profile location adjacent to a mall entrance, and it will neighbour the mall's flagship Nordstrom store which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2016. 

The Vancouver Roots store occupies the same corner as the world's second-largest Victoria's Secret store, as well as a new flagship Lululemon store which is expected to open this summer. Tesla Motors' new store will be half a block east and one of Canada's largest Sephora stores is under construction steps away. Pedestrians will continue to be drawn to the intersection and eastward as Nordstrom opens nearby in the fall of 2015. 

Roots' Vancouver flagship store. Photo: Google Streetview screenshot
"We're particularly excited about these three flagship stores," says Roots co-founder Michael Burdman. "Each one provides an ideal showcase of the entire Roots brand for both our Canadian customers and the many foreign tourists who visit our stores in Toronto and Vancouver. Despite the phenomenal growth of our online business in recent years, our retail stores remain the ultimate, defining experience of our company."

The new Bloor Street store will replace its former 15,000 square foot flagship, located a block west. The store's 6,500 sq. ft. layout is "more ideally suited to the needs of Roots in the Bloor-Yorkville area, Canada's preeminent shopping district," according to the press release. It opens in May, 2014.

At the Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto, Roots will reportedly conduct a major renovation of its multi-level store, known as 'Roots Central'. In Vancouver, Roots will be expanding and renovating its Robson St. flagship store. We're awaiting further details of the Vancouver expansion and we'll report more shortly.

Interestingly, Roots is also enjoying significant growth in Asia. Thanks to a partnership with Taiwan-based partner, Branded Lifestyle, Roots now has 118 stores in Taiwan and China. Branded Lifestyle plans an extensive retail expansion for Roots in Asian to take place over the next three years. 


Source: press release

[Roots website]


[Image Source]
Over 50,000 square feet of potential luxury retail space could become available at 100 Bloor Street West in Toronto. According to the landlord's website, most of the retail component of 100 Bloor could come up for lease, including spaces currently occupied by Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, The Body Shop and Roots.

Roots is already confirmed as leaving its 100 Bloor retail space in early 2014, and there's no word yet as to whether or not Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn will vacate. A source tells us that both Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn may be in talks with Hazelton Lanes to open replacement stores in the mall, though we can't confirm this beyond saying it is speculation.

In total, over 51,000 square feet of retail space at 100 Bloor could come up for lease. This includes retail space on both the ground floor and the second floor. Looking at its lease plan, we can imagine somewhere in the range of seven two-level flagship stores to occupy space at 100 Bloor, including an Apple Store flagship that we discussed yesterdayNote that this article was only speculation, but some brokers have quietly suggested that Apple might open here.

Ground floor plan for 100 Bloor St. W., including our edits in red (showing 7+ retail spaces)

We would expect 100 Bloor's retail rents to be among some of the highest in Canada. Bloor Street already boasts Canada's most expensive street-front retail and 100 Bloor is 'centre ice' in the luxury district, being across the street from Harry Rosen's flagship menswear store and within steps of luxury retailers Chanel, Prada, Mulberry, Gucci, Hermes, Burberry and others.

Before 100 Bloor's construction in the early 2000's, the site had multiple proposals that ranged from hotel towers to theatres to department stores. At one time, Saks Fifth AvenueBloomingdale's and Paris-based department store Printemps were interested in the site, as it offered retail floorplates large enough to accommodate one of these flagships over 4-6 floors. Before current tenants were secured, 100 Bloor was reportedly in talks with Donna Karan, Fendi and Dries van Noten. According to one source, 100 Bloor's landlord felt that "Pottery Barn's money was as good as Fendi's money" which helps to explain the current configuration of tenants at 100 Bloor. 

[100 Bloor Street West website]


Rendering: 100 Bloor St. W.

Apple continues to examine possible retail space for a flagship Toronto store, according to sources. We've been told that Apple has been in talks for the retail space indicated in the image above. The photo represents a possible Apple Store flagship at 100 Bloor Street West, which would replace a Roots store that currently occupies that corner.

We've been told that Roots will vacate its 100 Bloor flagship in early 2014 and that the landlord is looking to replace it with a high-profile retailer. Apple would certainly fit that description. Roots plans to move to a much smaller retail space at 89 Bloor Street West. 

We're not yet sure if Apple will end up at 100 Bloor, as sources also inform us that Apple is considering space at 1 Bloor Street East, another large retail development to eventually be located in the area. 1 Bloor St. E. could be an even more prominent location for Apple than 100 Bloor, given that it stands at the very prominent corner of Yonge and Bloor Streets. A flagship Apple store in the Yonge/Dundas Square area is also a possibility, though we don't yet have information where. Potential Apple retail space could become available, however, once Sears vacates its Toronto Eaton Centre location in February.

We'll follow up this article with one outlining the possibility of other retailers moving into 100 Bloor. A substantial amount of retail space may come to market, paving the way for some exciting flagship retailers on Bloor Street.

We'll also keep you updated on where Toronto's flagship Apple store will be located. We've been told that it's not a matter of "if" an Apple flagship opens; the real question is "when and where".

[Apple store website]