La Maison Simons could open at Montreal's Fairview Pointe-Claire

Sources tell us that

La Maison Simons

could open at Montreal's

Fairview Pointe-Claire

 Shopping Centre. If talks are successful, it would occupy part of the 181,795 square foot


store that currently anchors the mall's eastern portion. 

The 1 million square foot Fairview Pointe-Claire Shopping Centre is owned and operated by landlord

Cadillac Fairview

. It features almost 175 stores and is one of Montreal's most productive malls with yearly sales per square foot of $617.

Simons is expanding across Canada and plans to open new stores in

West Vancouver





Quebec and


, Ontario. It may also open a

store in suburban Calgary

. We'll keep you updated on Simons' Canadian expansion including this possible new suburban Montreal store.




* indicates required

Could La Maison Simons join Nordstrom at the Toronto Eaton Centre?

[Image Source]

Although Nordstrom has leased 213,000 square feet of Sears' Toronto Eaton Centre store, there is still about 140,000 square feet of retail space available within the Sears space. La Maison Simons' CEO Peter Simons has made it no secret that he'd like to open a store at the Toronto Eaton Centre, and there may still be room for his store.

La Maison Simons is seeking store space in the 100,000 - 120,000 square foot range. Given that there is about 140,000 square feet of retail space still available, Simons could possibly secure retail space alongside the new Nordstrom store. 

An insider tells us that Nordstrom is expected to occupy most of the three levels directly below Sears' four levels of office space, leaving about 140,000 square feet of retail below grade (the mall's second level, technically) and possibly on the ground floor (the mall's third level, technically). Peter Simons has said that he'd prefer a prominent street-level entrance for a Toronto Eaton Centre store, so it remains to be seen how a possible deal could play out. 

[Image Source]

At 816,000 square feet, the Toronto Eaton Centre Sears store was the largest Sears in the entire company. Of that space, the top four floors (approximately 460,000 square feet) will continue to be occupied by Sears Canada as its corporate offices. Sources confirm that Sears' rent was only $1/sq ft/year for the space. Given the substantially higher cost for office space in Downtown Toronto, Sears Canada will continue to get a deal by continuing to occupy this space.

We'll keep you updated on the possibility that La Maison Simons could join Nordstrom at the Toronto Eaton Centre.


[Toronto Eaton Centre website]

[La Maison Simons website]

Sears Canada is ready to sell its 27 Quebec store leases

[Image Source]
Sears Canada is reportedly interested in selling its 27 store leases in the province of Quebec. Sources say that these stores could be sold if Sears receives advantageous offers from landlords, similar to deals made in English Canada. Although Nordstrom entered the Canadian market through Sears lease purchases, we don't believe Nordstrom will take any of the Quebec leases.

Company spokesperson Vincent Power says that Sears will consider selling leases back to mall landlords if the lease sale prices are in excess of the estimated profitability of a Sears store over 20 years. Sources tell us that talks are already under way for several of these Sears stores, and that La Maison Simons could be close to securing one of the Sears store locations.

Since April 2012, Sears Canada has sold back 11 of its store leases to mall landlords for a total of about $762 million. The sale of the first four Sears stores paved the way for Nordstrom's entry into the Canadian market. Sears has since sold back more leases paving the way for even more Nordstrom stores, as well as a La Maison Simons store in suburban Toronto.

A source familiar with the company tells us that Nordstrom currently has no plans to expand by opening stores in the Province of Quebec, at least for now. Nordstrom turned down our request to interview its Canadian President, Karen McKibbin, on this subject.

Industry sources say that talks are already in place between landlords and Sears Canada to sell off more store leases. We'll keep you updated as Sears Canada continues to liquidate its assets.


[Article Source]

[Sears Canada website]


[Image Source]

Happy New Year from Retail Insider. 2013 was an busy year for Canadian retail news, and we think 2014 will be equally busy. Here is our top 10 list of Canadian retail news stories, with topics provided by readers. This article is by Retail Insider writer Adam Ramsay


One of Canada's biggest retail stories of the year involved a huge corporate takeover. On July 15th, Loblaw announced that it had acquired Shoppers Drug Mart for $12.4 billion in a cash and stock agreement. The deal was groundbreaking as the nation’s leading grocer had acquired the nation’s largest pharmacy chain. Under terms of the purchase, Shoppers Drug Mart will continue to keep its identity and will operate as a new division of Loblaw.

Loblaw also announced in the deal that Shoppers will continue to use an ‘associate owner’ system - one that helped make the chain one of the country’s top 10 most fail-proof franchises. Because of this, no store closing or rebrandings have taken place and none are anticipated. A ‘cross marketing’ of Loblaws and Shoppers signature products, services and loyalty programs has also begun and will continue to expand in 2014.


Rana Plaza, Bangladesh [Image Source]

In April, a devastating collapse of an illegally built clothing factory in Bangladesh killed 1,129 people and injured more than 2,500. The factory, Rana Plaza, was used by several well-known inexpensive fashion labels including Canadian retailer Loblaws for its Joe Fresh line. The disaster is now regarded as the world’s worst modern-day industrial tragedy.

The building collapse has led to international discussions over corporate and social responsibility across global supply chains. Advocacy groups have been working on awareness campaigns and accords meant to highlight and fix the terrible working conditions and treatment of Bangladeshi workers and many consumers have revolted against companies that not only have connections to the building which collapsed, but also to those who use Bangladesh factory sourcing in general.

In December, five global retailers who source from Bangladesh, along with other manufacturers and labour groups, created a $40 million compensation fund for victims of the Rana Plaza disaster. Those retailers include Britain's Primark, Spain's El Corte Inglés, France's Bon Marché and Canadian Loblaw.

Target Canada [Image Source]

After years of rumours, market research and anticipation, Target - the #2 department store chain in the United States - made its long awaited Canadian debut in March. The company would open up 124 locations from coast to coast in 2013 and with it promised Canadians a “distraction-free” shopping experience with products, brands and loyalty programs much akin to those found south of the border.

Reaction from consumers proved to be a disappointment for Target, as supply issues in many departments left store shelves empty in a problem that is still not fully rectified going into 2014. There was also concern amongst shoppers that the prices found in the former Zellers locations were higher than their American counterparts. In September, Target had to move quickly to correct a nasty PR issue that saw veterans forced outside of their stores to sell poppies for Remembrance Day. Target Canada President Tony Fisher has been adamant that although Canadian operations have been a drag on total company earnings so far, they are committed to growth and will "continue to show positive progress as [they] continue to go forward."


Lululemon store, Vancouver [Image Source]

Lululemon has had a year for the ages, but not the kind that they’ll necessarily want to remember. First there was the sheer yoga pants recall that began in late 2012 that cost the company $67 million in lost revenue, affecting almost a fifth of its entire inventory. In June, well-liked company CEO Christine Day, who had lead the brand for more than five years and steered the company through the above mentioned recall, announced that she was leaving.

Perhaps the most damaging PR mishap of the year came in November, when founder Chip Wilson stated in an interview that "some women’s bodies just actually don’t work" with Lululemon pants, when complaints began to grow that the pants are sheer and pill too easily. Wilson quickly came under fire for his comments, and many believe he exasperated the situation by offering an apology that didn’t retract his remarks. Early in December, he resigned from the organization that he himself created.

It’s not all doom and gloom for Lululemon, as sales continue and they enjoy some of the most productive retail space in Canada. The West Edmonton Mall Lululemon location, the company’s highest selling, brings in upwards of $26 million annually with a store of only 3,200 square feet, and that Lululemon stores enjoy average revenues of $1,936 per square foot annually.

Calvin McDonald, Sears Canada [Image Source]

It was another rough year for Sears Canada, as in September CEO Calvin McDonald resigned as head of the company that has been struggling to both find itself and keep up with competitors in recent years.
As he moved on to head up the North American operations of Sephora - a French cosmetics chain - Sears continued to actively sell back some of its most valuable leases to landlords in an attempt to secure the much needed capital just to continue its operations.

As the company continues to divest of some of its most valuable assets, it has begun to pave the way for some major new entrants into Canada’s retail space. Upscale American department store retailers Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue (purchased this year by HBC) have already announced plans to open up locations in this country. And with La Maison Simons focusing aggressively on new development outside of Quebec and the long-running rumour that Bloomingdales locations might not be far from a reality in this country, Sears is opening the door to increased competition amongst retailers to allure the type of consumer it has historically tried to attract. 2014 will prove to be a pivotal year for Sears Canada, not just for its long-term success, but for its very survival.

[Image Source]

Back in June, Sobeys invested $5.8 billion in a cash deal that saw them acquire Western Canadian grocer Safeway. The deal included hundreds of locations with in-store pharmacies, plus gas stations, liquor stores, manufacturing facilities and a handful of distribution centres and related wholesale business. The Competition Bureau approved the sale in October, but would demand that Sobeys divest of 23 stores in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The move is expected to save Empire (Sobeys parent company) more than $200 million annually in operational costs.

The Safeway acquisition wasn’t the only substantial business move for the company in 2013. In addition to teaming up with Target to supply their new 124 stores with grocery items through the Sobeys distribution network, they have also finalized the purchase of the Shell gas stations in Quebec and Atlantic Canada. There’s been the sell-off of their Theatre business (through parent company Empire) to Cineplex and even the recent opening of the first of their new 'Sobeys Extra' format stores in Burlington, Ontario. In this fall it was announced that long-time company executive Marc Poulin - who became the President of Sobeys in June 2012 - is taking over as the head with the retirement of Paul Sobey.

[Image Source]

The summer proved to be a very busy time for North American retail business purchases, takeovers and acquisitions. That was certainly felt by American luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue who had seen keen interest from several potential buyers. The Hudson’s Bay Company made its $2.9 billion purchase of Saks public on July 28 by announcing that they will open 7-8 full line Saks and up to 25 'Off 5th' (discount outlet chain) locations in Canada. It was also reported that a REIT could be set up to hold Saks' real estate assets, which are valued at $1.5 billion.

In early December, it was revealed that the flagship location for Saks in Canada will be built on the corner of Yonge and Bloor Streets in Downtown Toronto, and will in fact replace a 342,000 square foot Hudson’s Bay store. Once the more than $100 million renovation is complete and the location opens its doors, it is expected to be the second largest Saks in the world, after the Manhattan store in New York. The arrival of Saks and Nordstrom north of the border, combined with the already existing presence of the likes of Holt Renfrew means that upscale department store retailing will soon to heat up in Canada.

Screenshot, website

For many, delivery drones may quickly come to mind when thinking about the kind of year Amazon had in 2013. But for Canadians, it’s a different story altogether, as the online retail giant announced its intentions in October to enter into the ultra-competitive Canadian grocery market.

Amazon launched the grocery and gourmet food section on its website on Halloween, offering more than 15,000 different food items including packaged beverages, breakfast foods, pantry supplies and snacks. All major brands are represented on the site, with very competitive pricing. This leaves many in the industry to believe that the already heated Canadian 'grocery war' is about to get even fiercer, and that as a result prices will be driven down. In fact, Amazon believes it already has a pricing advantage on its bricks-and-mortar competitors, citing its 'dynamic pricing' model, which analyzes massive amounts of data to adjust prices in real time on certain items when necessary.

Amazon's move has Canadian grocery retailers taking notice. Loblaws and Sobeys, for example, anticipated the increased competition earlier this year when each made substantial investments in future sustainability by taking over Shoppers Drug Mart and Safeway, respectively. With Walmart’s further expansion into the Supercentre format across the country, and Target’s 2013 foray into the ring, the Canadian grocery industry both in-store and online will no doubt remain the most competitive retail space in 2014.

Black Friday shoppers [Image Source]

Black Friday and Cyber Monday, two of the biggest shopping days on the calendar in the United States, have become a major force in Canadian retail as well. This year, more Canadians than ever before shopped in-store and online during these major sales days hoping to find outstanding discounts on products and services. Mall landlords and large national retailers have led the charge, all but forcing businesses of any scale or type to offer their very best prices and offers to compete.

Although more Canadians than ever before took part in the shopping frenzies, the numbers were still lower than anticipated earlier in the year. Part of the blame is thought to be placed on the fact that savings north of the border simply weren’t as attractive as those found in the States. As an example, many retailers offered up to 80% discounts down south, while most of the sales experienced in Canada were only in the 40-50% range, which proved to be not much better than the normal savings found in a typical sale in many stores.

The general belief is that the shopping events will continue to grow in Canada, but proper marketing is needed amongst retailers, and a 'one size fits all' approach will not necessarily work for Canadians.

La Maison Simons, West Edmonton Mall. Photo: Darrell Bateman (darrellinyvr on Flickr, Image Source)

La Maison Simons has had another busy year of strategic planning. After opening their first location outside of Quebec in 2012 - a 118,000 square foot store in the West Edmonton Mall - plans have been unveiled that will see the chain expand further into other major Canadian cities including West Vancouver 's Park Royal Shopping Centre, Ottawa (at Rideau Centre and Les Promenades Gatineau) and at Mississauga's Square One Shopping Centre.

La Maison Simons CEO Peter Simons has also identified Winnipeg and Calgary as cities that are ‘on the radar’ of the company, which could see as many as two locations open up in Calgary. He went on to say in an interview with Retail Insider in September, that there is no preference as it relates to urban vs. suburban development, and that all future growth must be “gradual and intelligent” so that the company, which has existed for more than 175 years, can continue to exist for future generations. La Maison Simons currently operates 10 stores in Canada, all in the neighbourhood of 80-100,000 square feet. The highest-selling locations remain inside their home province of Quebec, at Place Ste Foy and Downtown Montreal, though this may change in 2014 as its West Edmonton Mall store continues to see significant sales growth.


Feel free to submit your top choices to our comments section below. You may also post to our Facebook Page and comment to our Twitter Feed


Rendering of Simons/Rideau Centre, including a restored facade of the former Ogilvy department store. Rendering: Rideau Centre/Cadillac Fairview

The opening date of La Maison Simons' store in Ottawa's Rideau Centre has been delayed. It is now scheduled to open in August 2016, where it had originally been scheduled to open in the spring of 2015. It will therefore be the second Simons store to open in the Ottawa area, about one year after the recently announced Simons at Les Promenades Gatineau which will open in the spring of 2015.

The Rideau Centre Simons store will be about 105,000 square feet and will feature a reconstructed facade of the historic Ogilvy building formerly occupying the store's site. Rideau Centre's mall expansion will include 230,000 square feet of new retail space over four levels, as well as a modernization of the mall's common areas. A 35,000 square foot upscale food court with 16 eating establishments seating 850 (complete with ceramic dishes, glassware and metal cutlery) will be available to shoppers as well as a new three-level underground parking garage. Joining Rideau Centre will be a 157,000 square foot Nordstrom store, which is still scheduled to open in the spring of 2015.

Rendering of the interior of Rideau Centre. Rendering: Rideau Centre/Cadillac Fairview

We were alerted to the delay in the Rideau Centre Simons' opening after a press release was issued claiming that Mississauga's Square One Shopping Centre would be the first Ontario location for Simons. That press release appears to have been correct.


[La Maison Simons website]


La Maison Simons will open a 113,000 square foot store at Mississauga's Square One Shopping Centre in the spring of 2016. The two-level store will be the anchor of a $52 million reconfiguration of the mall's current 145,000 square foot Sears space which was recently sold back to mall landlord Oxford Properties

Simons will join a 120,000-square-foot Holt Renfrew store that is also set to open at Square One in spring 2016.

Simons is the newest retailer added to Square One's $380 million renovation and expansion project.  Phase One, an $84 million overhaul of the interior, was completed in November 2013, and construction on Phase Two began in September 2013. 

Square One's Sears location Simons joins anchors Hudson's Bay (191,000 square feet), Target (164,000 square feet) and Walmart (245,000 square feet). As mentioned, Holt Renfrew's Square One store will be about 120,000 square feet when completed. 



[Image Source]

*****UPDATE: This announcement was confirmed the morning of December 13th, 2013, as expected. H&M and Forever21 are also confirmed tenants for this mall.*****

La Maison Simons will open an 80,000 square foot store at Les Promenades Gatineau in suburban Ottawa. It's expected to open in the Spring of 2015, following the recently announced Simons at Ottawa's Rideau Centre. The Gatineau Simons will be part of a $110 million renovation/expansion of Les Promenades Gatineau that will see the mall modernized and improved.

According to La Presse, Peter Simons will be present at the mall to make an official announcement of the store's opening at about 10:00am on Monday, December 2nd. The mall's landlord, Oxford Properties, is also expected to provide further details on the mall's expansion. Rumour has it the mall will feature new H&M and Forever 21 stores.

We first reported on a possible Simons store location for Les Promenades Gatineau just over a year ago. After interviewing Peter Simons in September, we thought the deal was over. We can now say that this isn't the case and that Ottawa will eventually have two Simons store locations. 

La Maison Simons is on an unprecedented nation-wide expansion that saw its first store outside of Quebec open at West Edmonton Mall in October 2012. It has subsequently announced future store locations in West Vancouver, and Downtown Ottawa. Further locations may open in Toronto and in Winnipeg, though nothing is confirmed for either cities.


Thank you to this article's source, Acajack, of Skyscraper Forum, who provided a link to this La Presse Article (in French).  

[Les Promenades Gatineau website]

[La Maison Simons website]

Rendering of the renovated Les Promenades Gatineau. Image: Oxford Properties


[Image Source]

According to a source, La Maison Simons has been in talks with Oxford Properties to open a store at Calgary's Southcentre Mall. If it happens, this would be the second Simons store location in Alberta, following its West Edmonton Mall store which opened almost a year ago

One would expect Calgary's Simons to be somewhere in the 100,000-110,000 square foot range, reflecting sizes of its recently announced West Vancouver and Ottawa stores

Calgary's Southcentre Mall occupies close to a million square feet, and is surrounded by some higher-income suburbs. Its anchors include department stores Sears and Hudson's Bay

Recently, Southcentre hasn't enjoyed the same splashy publicity as Chinook Centre, about 6.5 km to the north, which managed to secure Calgary's first (and likely only) Nordstrom store as an anchor. Securing La Maison Simons could coincide with further renovations to Southcentre, as well as a possible mall expansion. 

To be completely speculative, Simons could occupy part of Southcentre's Sears store if Sears decides to sell its lease back to landlord Oxford properties. We've heard that this is a possibility but we can't confirm further at this time. 

We'll update you further on La Maison Simons' opening in Calgary, including a possible second Simons store location that we'll discuss soon. 

[Southcentre Mall website]

[La Maison Simons website]


[Image Source]

Nordstrom could open at the Toronto Eaton Centre, now that Sears Canada has a new CEO who's reportedly willing to sell store assets

On Friday October 18th, Sears CEO Douglas Campbell told the Globe & Mail that he would consider selling Sears' Toronto Eaton Centre location for the right price. This could open the way not only for Nordstrom, but  also for redevelopment that could include multiple retailers as well as possibly a second anchor store such as La Maison Simons

The Toronto Eaton Centre Sears store is about 816,000 square feet over several floors. Though it's unlikely that the top levels would be used for retail, a substantial amount of space could become available that could create an exciting cluster of new retailers in the mall, including possibly Nordstrom's Canadian flagship store.

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. 

Our source for this article is this article by Marina Strauss of the Globe & Mail.

[Toronto Eaton Centre website]

[Sears Canada website]

[Nordstrom website]


Photo: Park Royal Shopping Centre


Park Royal Shopping Centre

is set to expand in a manner unique among Canadian malls. Its first phase expansion opens later this month. It will integrate elements of both enclosed mall retailing as well as outdoor 'urban streets' on the property for externalized retail. We interviewed Rick Amantea, VP of Park Royal. We'll provide a summary of the interview's key details. 

"The World's Largest Community Centre":

Mr. Amantea referred to Park Royal as being the world's largest community centre. Interestingly, those who visit the mall tend to do so very frequently. In metro Vancouver, shoppers visit malls at an average of 1.47 times/month. At Park Royal, it's an average of 6.7 times/month for a total of about 15 million annual visits.

Park Royal 'Village' Expansion: Short-Term:

 This fall Park Royal will open its new 'Village' retail in Park Royal South (the mall is separated by West Vancouver's Marine Drive) and will feature stores such as LOFT by Ann Taylor, Michael Kors, Anthropologie, J. Crew, Aritzia (the largest in BC at over 7,100 square feet), Sephora, and others. The new Zara store location will be one of Canada's largest, at almost 21,000 square feet. Watch for these to open in the next few weeks.

Floor Plan: Park Royal Shopping Centre

Expansion details: Long-Term:

 The mall's landlord,

Larco Investments

, will spend over $150 million into expanding and renovating the interior and exterior of Park Royal. About 300,000 square feet of new and reconfigured retail space will be created. Additions will include a further expanded outdoor retail village, and in the fall of 2015,

BC's first La Maison Simons will open

in an area of the mall

currently occupied by Extra Foods


New food court:

A new food court will created upstairs in Park Royal South, replacing a current food court space that will be reconfigured into upscale retail adjacent to the

new 105,000 square foot Simons store


Photo: Park Royal Shopping Centre


About 1,000 new parking spaces will be built over four levels, including a state-of-the-art management system to make finding parking easier. Parking opens later this month.

Overall increased accessibility:

 Each day, about 9,000 transit riders pass through Park Royal along Marine Drive. Interestingly, the mall will install two traffic lights at two new intersections as part of an extended streetscape, all on its own property. The mall will even name its new streets.

Residential Addition:

 New residential will be part of this project. We'll leave out details as it doesn't pertain directly to retail, beyond adding shoppers to the site.

We've kept this article brief. To read more on Park Royal's expansion, we direct you to

this press release



Park Royal Shopping Centre website]

 and its [

Expansion Details


Photo: Park Royal Shopping Centre


[Image Source]

Quebec City-based La Maison Simons is expanding across Canada, having most recently secured space in suburban Vancouver. We interviewed Simons' CEO Peter Simons for details of his company's expansion across Canada. 

It was a long interview, so we'll summarize it below as briefly as possible. Each paragraph briefly covers a topic discussed with Mr. Simons:

Future Simons store locations in Canada: Simons is actively looking for stores across Canada including both urban and suburban sites in Toronto, Calgary, Winnipeg, Vancouver and possibly another Ottawa-area store. More specific details to follow...

Future Simons store(s) in Calgary? Simons is talking to landlords in Calgary and Simons is examining possible locations for as many as two Calgary stores: one in a downtown location, and one in the city's suburbs. We'll discuss this more at a later date.

Future Simons store in Winnipeg? Winnipeg is on Simons' radar, and a store could open somewhere in the suburbs. Moreover, Simons at Polo Park may not be a possibility at the moment, and a deal for a store in an upscale mall north of Polo Park fell through a couple of years ago. It appears there will be no imminent Winnipeg store announcements for Simons.

Future Toronto-area Simons stores? Simons is negotiating with Oxford Properties to open in Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre as well as Mississauga's Square One. This would be in space to be vacated by Sears. Simons had no comment on the progress of negotiations for stores in these malls, though he mentioned that as many as 3-4 Simons stores could eventually open in the Greater Toronto Area.

Simons' new Ottawa (Rideau Centre) store: Simons will build a 105,000 square foot store with about 95,000 square feet of retail and about 10,000 square feet of service space. It will incorporate a re-built facade of the site's former Ogilvy department store. It will also feature an art installation, similar to the award-winning art display at Simons' West Edmonton Mall store.

How large will future Simons stores be? Simons is aiming to open new stores in the 100,000 square foot range. Its new Ottawa and Vancouver stores will each be about 105,000 square feet, being comprised of about 95,000 square feet of retail space and about 10,000 square feet of service space. Its recently opened Galeries d'Anjou store is slightly larger, at about 115,000 square feet.

How many Simons stores can we expect per city? Simons says that he has no particular goal for a number of stores per city. More to the point, the right space has to come available for a Simons store. Mr. Simons did mention, however, that the Toronto area could see as many as 3-4 Simons stores open in the coming years, though he couldn't provide specific locations yet.

Urban vs. suburban Simons Stores? Simons has no preference, though downtown stores can be exciting as they can contribute to building 'urban place', like what is expected to happen with its downtown Ottawa store at the Rideau Centre. Acquiring 100,000 square feet of downtown retail space can be challenging, while securing suburban space is sometimes simpler and less expensive. Vancouver's first store, for example, will be in a West Vancouver mall rather than downtown, even though downtown Vancouver now boasts some of the highest retail sales of any retail area in Canada. Currently, downtown Vancouver lacks the 100,000 square feet of contiguous retail space desired by Simons.

Highest-selling Simons stores: Not surprisingly, Simons' two most productive stores are still in the province of Quebec. Its flagship Place Ste Foy store in suburban Quebec City, along with its downtown Montreal store, are currently its highest selling. West Edmonton Mall's Simons could surpass these stores' sales within a couple of years, though. Edmonton has the chain's largest store at 118,000 square feet, including about 100,000 square feet of retail and about 18,000 square feet of service space.

On opening shoe departments at Simons: Simons, at the moment, is avoiding carrying shoes in their stores. Simons has narrowed its product mix to ready-to-wear and some accessories for the time being.

Simons' designer/private label merchandise mix: All new La Maison Simons stores are expected to carry both designer clothing for men and women as well as Simons' private label designs. The chain's smaller Quebec stores carry less designer merchandise than its larger stores. All new Simons stores will be larger and are expected to include assortments of designer clothing.

Simons' biggest retail competitors: Shoppers are more fluid and Simons carries both expensive designer and lower-priced, fashionable private-label products. Competition therefore spans the likes of Holt Renfrew to Zara and H&M. Online shopping also provides increased competition, though Simons offers it on their website.

On opening restaurants within Simons stores: Future Simons stores could include restaurant offerings, similar to Soup Soup which recently opened within Simons' Les Galeries d'Anjou store. Each location will be considered individually, and local restaurants may be considered if the right "fit" is present.

Future in-store public art installations: Simons says he expects all new stores to have art installations, similar to an award-winning installation in his Edmonton store, which opened last year.

The company's future growth strategy: Simons is a family-owned business that has been around for almost 175 years. Recognizing this, it will grow itself gradually and intelligently so that it will continue to exist for generations to come. New store openings will therefore be gradual, with no more than two stores opening per year. Simons is also looking for ways to economize on store construction, as its Edmonton store cost more than expected. The Edmonton store, nevertheless, received a prestigious award: International Store of the Year by Chainstore Age.

We'll provide further details on Simons' possible Calgary store locations soon.

[La Maison Simons website]


Rendering of Rideau Centre's Rideau Street side. Photo: Rideau Centre

Today marks the ground breaking of the expansion of Ottawa's Ridea Centre. By the spring of 2015, the mall's expansion will include a 105,000 La Maison Simons store as well as Nordstrom, which will join the mall as its southern anchor.

The groundbreaking will be at the corner of Rideau Street and Nicholas Street, being the future site of the La Maison Simons store. 

Rendering of the mall's new food court. Photo: Rideau Centre

Last year we reported that Nordstrom would open a 157,000 square foot store in the mall , replacing the top two levels of a former Sears store. Nordstrom is expected to open some time in the spring of 2015. Simons will open at about the same as Nordstrom. 

Saks Fifth Avenue could open across the street from Rideau Centre within Hudson's Bay's department store, though we have no further details at this time. 


[Image Source]

Sears Canada's CEO Calvin McDonald has resigned. He leaves behind a struggling retailer which may now be more open to selling back some of its valuable leases to its landlords, possibly leading to more Canadian Nordstorm stores. Not to mention, the possibility of Sears stores being subdivided or being occupied by the likes of La Maison Simons, Saks Fifth Avenue or Holt Renfrew. The following is our analysis of what could replace several valuable Sears locations. 

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. 

But what about Sears Canada's most valuable retail space? We're referring to the 816,000 square foot flagship Sears at the Toronto Eaton Centre. Calvin McDonald held on to the store, repeatedly saying that its lease wasn't up for sale and that it would continue to operate as the chain's Canadian flagship. With McDonald gone, we think the Toronto Eaton Centre Sears will be sold to landlord Cadillac Fairview for a fortune, and that we'll see it redeveloped to include at least one anchor store (Nordstrom? La Maison Simons?) as well as other smaller retailers willing to pay good money for prominently-located smaller retail spaces.

Sears Canada has other potentially valuable leases that we think could be sold to landlords, possibly paving the way for more Nordstrom, La Maison Simons and Holt Renfrew locations, and other uses. Here's our analysis of some of Sears Canada's more "valuable" spaces:


Sears, Sherway Gardens, Toronto: This Sears store is over 225,000 square feet and anchors an entire wing of the mall. Hudson's Bay anchors the other end. 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. We would expect Sears space to be subdivided and for part of it to be occupied by the likes of La Maison Simons or even Saks Fifth Avenue.

Sears, Fairview Shopping Centre, Toronto: The 149,600 square foot Sears store could be redeveloped into new mall space or could possibly accommodate retail as well as a La Maison Simons store. We don't see Saks or Holt's moving into this mall at the moment. It's interesting to note that, decades ago, Holt Renfrew had a small store at Fairview.


Sears, West Edmonton Mall: This 149,000 square foot Sears would make an excellent location for a new Nordstrom store. And we hear that there have already been talks regarding this possibility. Simons wouldn't be a possibility as it already has a store at West Edmonton Mall which opened last year. Holt's or Saks? We're not sure. 

Sears, Southgate Shopping Centre: At 263,000 square feet, this large Sears is positioned in the mall such that it could be easily subdivided into multiple-tenant retail. Part of its space could be used for a department store be it Nordstrom, Holt Renfrew or Saks Fifth Avenue. As a side note, we've heard there are expansion plans for Edmonton's downtown Holt Renfrew so we're not sure if a Southgate location would be considered.


Sears, Le Carrefour Laval, suburban Montreal: This 150,000 square foot Sears store is located in one of Canada's most productive malls, also featuring Hudson's Bay and La Maison Simons. The space could be subdivided or could possibly become Quebec's first Nordstrom store, given that it's the right size. 

Sears, Les Galeries d'Anjou, Montreal: This 147,000 square foot Sears store is in a mall that has seen substantial renovations, including a renovated Hudson's Bay store and a La Maison Simons store that opened last month. Its value may lie with its subdivision. 

RICHMOND BC: Sears, Richmond Centre: This 122,000 square foot Sears store could be configured into multiple-tenant retail or could be occupied by the likes of Nordstrom or La Maison Simons. Richmond has considerable household wealth, despite income statistics that might indicate otherwise.

CALGARY: Sears, Southcentre: The 234,000 square foot Sears at Southcentre could become part of a mall expansion. Landlord Oxford Properties intends to make improvements to this mall and we're expecting La Maison Simons to open at Southcentre within the next three years (for those reading closely, we just dropped you a hint).

WINNIPEG: Sears, Polo Park Shopping Centre: The 263,000 square foot Sears store could be converted to multiple-tenant retail and part of it could eventually house either a Nordstrom or La Maison Simons. Holt Renfrew might also consider re-opening a full-sized Winnipeg store, though we're not aware of any such plans.

The above list is by no means exhaustive - Sears has other excellent retail locations but we've limited discussion for now. Please keep reading our website, as we'll be watching Sears Canada's real estate closely in the coming months.

[Sears Canada website]


Floorplan: Park Royal Shopping Centre

As we announced last week,

La Maison Simons will open its first Vancouver-area store

at West Vancouver's Park Royal Shopping Centre. We were provided a floorplan by Park Royal Management, showing the location of the mall's La Maison Simons store which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2015. It will replace a grocery store and will be located within an expansion of Park Royal South (the mall is separated into two parts by West Vancouver's Marine Drive). 

We'll follow up this article with details from an interview with Park Royal VP 

Rick Amantea. Park Royal, we discovered, is unlike any other Canadian mall for various reasons. We'll elaborate soon on this topic - we've been doing a lot of research this week so we're keeping our articles brief. 

We also interviewed La Maison Simons CEO Peter Simons last week, and Mr. Simons provided us with information on Simons' exciting cross-Canada openings. Next Canadian city to get a Simons announcement? We'll do a follow-up article soon. 


La Maison Simons website



Park Royal Shopping Centre website



Image: Park Royal Shopping Centre

La Maison Simons

' first Vancouver-area store will open in the fall of 2015 at West Vancouver's

Park Royal Shopping Centre

. It will be about 105,000 square feet. It will be located in Park Royal South: the mall is comprised of a disconnected north and south portion, separated by West Vancouver's Marine Drive. 

By 2015, it will be the third Simons store to be located outside of the province of Quebec. Its first out-of-Quebec store

opened last year at West Edmonton Mall

, and a Simons store

will open at an expanded Rideau Centre in Ottawa in 2015

We hinted at Simons' opening at Park Royal last week 

when we published an article

 mentioning that we thought Simons would unveil plans for a Vancouver-area store this month. Astute readers noticed we included a photo of West Vancouver in the article, and we even tagged Park Royal for readers to potentially pick up the clue. The announcement is official so we're now able to openly report on it. 

Simons is continuing its cross-Canada expansion and

is currently negotiating for space at Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre and Mississauga's Square One Shopping Centre

. Simons is interested in space that will be vacated by Sears Canada, which

sold its leases back to landlord Oxford Properties

in both of the above malls. 

Simons is also said to be seeking retail space in Calgary and possibly Winnipeg. We'll elaborate more on this soon. 

La Maison Simons will be part of a $150 million renovation and expansion of Park Royal Shopping Centre. The project will see new stores, new brands and a modernization of the shopping complex. We'll follow up this article with renderings and floorplans of parts of the expansion. In all, the project will include about 300,000 square feet of new and reconfigured retail space, including an outdoor "village" shopping area. 

Park Royal is the second-largest mall in the Vancouver area. It's about 1.2 million square feet and has over 280 stores. The mall is located in West Vancouver, one of Canada's wealthiest municipalities. The mall's expansion will bring it to over 1.3 million square feet. 

Today (Friday) we will interview Peter Simons to obtain further details on his company's

cross-Canada expansion


Park Royal website



La Maison Simons website