Bonnie Brooks named Ivey Business Leader of the Year

LONDON, ON – Bonnie Brooks, Vice Chair Hudson’s Bay Company, will be the first woman to receive the Ivey Business Leader Award and will address Canada’s most prominent business leaders at the annual gala dinner in Toronto on October 30, 2014.

Ms. Brooks joined Canada’s pioneering retailer, Hudson’s Bay, as President and CEO in 2008 and was appointed to President of the Hudson’s Bay Company in 2012 when Lord & Taylor (USA) was rolled into Hudson’s Bay Company. Successfully engineering a major turnaround at The Bay over the past five years, she was named Vice Chair in 2014 – one more achievement in a ground breaking career in the retail fashion industry which spans over three decades and three continents.

“Bonnie Brooks is a visionary leader in her field. Always ahead of the curve, she has a knack for boldly seizing opportunities that many do not have the courage to pursue, while simultaneously anticipating trends that will change the competitive landscape in the medium term,” said Bob Kennedy, Dean of the Ivey Business School. “I am proud to say Bonnie is one of our graduates. She embodies so many of the leadership qualities we aim to develop at the School, and we are proud of her success.”

Prior to joining Hudson’s Bay Ms. Brooks served in several retail leadership positions, including President at Lane Crawford Joyce Group, the Hong Kong based retail giant with over 500 stores in Asia, between 1997 and 2008. Previously she held executive roles with Holt Renfrew Canada including Executive Vice President / General Merchandise Manager.

“Bonnie Brooks has a corporate reputation that is second to none not only in Canada but also internationally,” said Kevin O’Brien, HBA ’93, Chair of the Ivey Business Leader Award Dinner. “She has defined herself as an outstanding leader within an extremely competitive industry serving as an inspiration for the Canadian business community.”

The Ivey Business Leader Award will be presented at a black-tie dinner at Toronto's Ritz Carlton Hotel. Proceeds from the annual event have supported the Ivey Alumni Association Toronto Chapter HBA and MBA Scholarships established to attract top students to the School and the Toronto Alumni Professorship in Business Leadership, and will now support the new Ivey Building. 

Ms. Brooks, an Ivey MBA graduate, is also Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Ontario Museum, a member of the Board of Directors of Empire Company Limited (Sobeys), a member of the Board of Trustees for RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust and a member of the Foundation Board of CAMH.

She joins an esteemed list of past Ivey Business Leader Award recipients demonstrating leadership in both business and their communities. Past recipients of the award include:
  • 2013: George Cope, CEO Bell Canada
  • 2012: Rick George, Former CEO Suncor Inc.
  • 2011: Ed Clark, Group President and CEO of TD Bank Group (TD) 
  • 2010: Peter Munk, Founder and Chairman of Barrick Gold Corporation
  • 2009: Richard J. Currie, Past Chairman, BCE Inc. and former President, Loblaw   Companies Limited and George Weston Limited
  • 2008: Dominic D'Alessandro, President & CEO, Manulife Financial
  • 2007: Claude Lamoureux, President & CEO and Robert Bertram, Executive Vice-President, Investments, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan
  • 2006: Isadore Sharp, Chairman and CEO, Four Seasons Hotels Inc.
  • 2005: Peter Godsoe, former Chairman and CEO, The Bank of Nova Scotia
  • 2002: Gwyn Morgan, President and CEO, EnCana Corporation
  • 2001: Harrison McCain, Chairman, McCain Foods Limited, and G. Wallace  McCain, Chairman, Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
  • 2000: Purdy Crawford, Chairman, AT&T Canada
  • 1999: Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, led by Prem Watsa, Chairman
  • 1998: Paul Desmarais, Chairman, Power Corporation of Canada
  • 1997: Frank Stronach, Chairman of the Board, Magna International Inc.
  • 1996: Jean C. Monty, President and CEO, Northern Telecom Limited
  • 1995: R. Jack Lawrence, Deputy Chairman, Nesbitt Burns Inc.
  • 1994: Robert Nourse, President and CEO, The Bombay Company Inc.
  • 1993: Cedric E. Ritchie, Chairman, The Bank of Nova Scotia
  • 1992: John C. Carroll, President and CEO, Molson Breweries
  • 1991: John M. Thompson, Chairman and CEO, IBM Canada Limited

About the Ivey Business School, Western University

The Ivey Business School ( at Western University is Canada’s leading provider of relevant, innovative and comprehensive business education. Drawing on extensive research and business experience, Ivey faculty provide the best classroom experience, equipping graduates with the skills and capabilities they need to tackle the leadership challenges in today’s complex business world. Ivey offers world-renowned undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as Executive Development at campuses in London (Ontario), Toronto and Hong Kong.


Photo: Google Streetview screenshot

Sears Canada

has sold five more of its store leases to mall landlords for about $400 million. This creates an opportunity to redevelop these spaces as well as possibly pave the way for more Canadian 



Saks Fifth Avenue


La Maison Simons

and even



Sears has sold its store leases back to its mall landlords in the following locations: 

  • Toronto:The Toronto Eaton Centre
  • Toronto:Sherway Gardens Shopping Centre
  • Markham, Ontario:Markville Shopping Centre
  • London, Ontario:Masonville Place
  • Richmond, BC:Richmond Centre

All of these malls are owned and operated by landlord

Cadillac Fairview

except for Richmond Centre, which is co-owned by Cadillac Fairview and

Ivanhoe Cambridge

The following is our analysis of what could replace these Sears Canada locations: 


 Toronto Eaton Centre

The 816,000 square foot crown jewel of Sears Canada's real estate offers plenty of options for redevelopment. We think that


is a frontrunner to replace a majority of the vacated Sears space

, and 

that it would occupy 225,000-275,000 square feet. 

Other possible department store anchors include

La Maison Simons

(which would occupy about 100,000-130,000 square feet) and Bloomingdale's, 

which continues to show interest

in the Canadian market. Saks Fifth Avenue is a further possibility, though we believe Downtown Toronto's Saks

will replace the current Hudson's Bay store at the corner of Yonge and Bloor Streets

, closer to the luxury shopping area of


and its anchor,




Some of Sears' current Toronto Eaton Centre space could also be subdivided for use by multiple retailers. We'll elaborate soon in an article devoted specifically to Sears' Toronto Eaton Centre real estate. 

The top four floors of the store will remain Sears Canada's corporate headquarters, at least in the shorter term. Sources tell us that Sears Canada will continue to utilize its $1/square foot/year lease for this office space (which would have expired in the year 2077), making it far less costly than other available office space. 

Sears will be vacating the lower retail portion of this location by February 28th, 2014. 


 Sherway Gardens Shopping Centre

There are plenty of options to reuse the 225,665 square foot Sherway Sears space. The store could even be demolished for redevelopment, to be replaced by multiple smaller stores and one or more anchor stores. Sherway attracts affluent shoppers and the mall could see

Saks Fifth Avenue

 occupy part of the current Sears space, though Saks would likely not occupy more than about 130,000 square feet. 

Sherway Gardens is one of Canada's most productive malls, enjoying per-square-foot sales of almost $900/year according to its landlord. Hudson's Bay anchors the opposite end of the mall from Sears. Other anchors include 

Holt Renfrew (which is possibly staying at Sherway and expanding

) and, in 2016, 

Nordstrom which will open one of two

 Toronto locations.

Sears will be vacating its Sherway location by February 28th, 2014.

Markham, Ontario:

 Markville Shopping Centre

Markville's Sears store is 130,626 square feet according to its landlord, and we think the store space has limited potential for an upscale replacement anchor store. The mall already features Hudson's Bay and Walmart as its anchors, and the entire mall spans close to a million square feet. Sales per square foot at Markville are only about $490/square foot/year according to the mall's landlord. 

La Maison Simons could replace part of Sears' space. The space could also be subdivided for multiple smaller anchors and other stores. We doubt that, given the mall's demographics and sales, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's or Saks Fifth Avenue will replace Markville's Sears any time soon. 

Sears will be vacating Markville by February, 2015.

London, Ontario:

 Masonville Place

This 127,205 square foot Sears store is in London, Ontario's most productive shopping centre. The mall, in fact, boasts sales of about $770/square foot according to its landlord. Other anchors include a relatively small Hudson's Bay store (at about 85,000 square feet) as well as a 91,200 square foot Target store. 

One could speculate that Sears' space could be replaced by Nordstrom, as the city and store arguably share some of the same characteristics. London is a conservative but relatively well-to-do city whose population could possibly support a Nordstrom. Nordstrom, itself, has been described as being both conservative and upscale. We doubt London would have the quantity of luxury-oriented shoppers to support Saks Fifth Avenue, and we don't expect La Maison Simons to target London in the next several years. 

Sears will be vacating this space by February 28th, 2014.

Richmond, BC:

 Richmond Centre

This 122,000 square foot Sears store could be reconfigured into multiple-tenant retail or be occupied by the likes of Nordstrom or La Maison Simons. Richmond has considerable household wealth, despite income statistics that might indicate otherwise. The mall enjoys sales of about $700/square foot, but may require renovations to entice any new upscale anchors.

Sears will be vacating this space by February, 2015.

Further Details on Sears Leases

In the past 14 months, Sears Canada has sold off several of its leases to mall landlords. In the summer of 2012, Sears sold its leases in Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa, 

paving the way for Nordstrom's first Canadian stores

. Sears subsequently 

sold two leases in the Toronto area

, resulting in 

speculation that La Maison Simons may move in

. Sears also announced 

a $1-billion project to redevelop its Burnaby, BC real estate

 at Metrotown.

Sears is making a large profit from selling its leases. Its

first lease sale

in the summer of 2012 generated about $170 million. The

subsequent sale of two Toronto-area leases

gained the company over $190 million, and a

possible $53 million

for Sears' Scarborough Town Centre lease could further be realized. This is easy money for Sears, and it leads us to anticipate that more Sears Canada leases will be sold in the coming months.


Sears Canada website


Selfridge's Named Best Department Store in the World for Second Time

At the Global Department Store Summit in Paris last week, London's Selfridge's was named the world's best department store for a second year.

Selfridge's has made strides over the past few years to create a spectacular shopping experience.  It opened a luxury accessories hall called 'The Wonder Room', it created the world's largest women's shoe store (for now), and just unveiled its new women's designer floor.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Check out these pics of the interior of Selfridge's, London...

Selfridge's, London Oxford Street Flagship Store
Wonder Room (Chopard Boutique on the right)
Wonder Room (Notice the play of Selfridge's signature colour, yellow)
Cartier Boutique in The Wonder Room
Shoe Room (one of several) @ Selfridge's
Another Shoe Room. Notice the movie-theatre seats in the left photo!

Selfridge's website:

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Manolo Blahnik Opening Two London Shop-in-Stores... Paris Next?

Manolo Blahnik Boutiques will open at Harrod's and Liberty in London, Fall 2012. These concessions will be operated by Kurt Geiger, Europe's largest luxury shoe retailer.

The Harrod's location will be about 300 square feet, according to sources.

European distribution of Manolo Blahnik shoes has been limited, and is far less than that of American Blahnik availability. That might change if these boutiques are an indicator of things to come. 

A retail insider in Paris, France tells us that she expects Manolo Blahnik to open a shop in Paris' Printemps department store via its Kurt Geiger concession. Manolo Blahnik is already carried at Printemps in Paris and Deauville via their Maria Louisa designer boutique concession.

We're dedicating this post to a fabulous fashion fan we met in Edmonton, Canada, now living in swinging London!

Manolo Blahnik website:

Harrod's website:

Liberty of London website:

Kurt Geiger website:

Printemps website:

Maria Louisa website:

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