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]

Roots will relocate Toronto flagship to 80 Bloor Steet West

[Image Source]

Roots has just announced that it will open a flagship store in the former Gap Kids retail space at 80 Bloor Street West in Toronto. Roots will be about 6,500 square feet and is scheduled to open in May, 2014. 

Despite receiving a press release discussing three Roots flagships, we've created this separate article for its new Bloor Street store since we were initially informed that Roots had leased the considerably smaller retail space across the street at 89 Bloor Street West (and not at 80 Bloor, as we now know). We're not sure if Roots plans on opening a concept in the space or if it even intends on opening there, at all. 

Holt Renfrew will replace Roots' 100 Bloor Street location with a 15,000+ square foot men's store

Roots' lease at 80 Bloor Street West will only last for a few years, however. 80 Bloor's owner plans to eventually demolish the entire building, replacing it with about 37,000 square feet of retail space below a tall residential tower. 


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]


100 Bloor Street West, Toronto. Photo is a screenshot from Google Streetview.

Today, Toronto-based Roots turns 40 years old. Interestingly, it just opened its 100th store in Asia. It will celebrate its birthday in its flagship Toronto store, which it will eventually close.

For those unfamiliar, Roots is a "lifestyle brand" known for its leathergoods, athletic apparel and natural fiber clothing. It has 125 stores in Canada and the United States, as well as stores in Asia. It has furnished Canadian Olympic athletes.

The Toronto flagship store (100 Bloor Street West) will include an exhibit of the history of Roots. The original "negative heel shoe", with which the brand got started, will be launched again and sold nation-wide. A leather jacket made in collaboration with Smythe will be sold. Also, a commemorative coffee table book called Roots: 40 Years of Style will be launched.

At the same time, the 15,000 square foot flagship Roots store at 100 Bloor will be closing, with a 1,700 square foot replacement store set to open up the street. The landlord has raised rents at 100 Bloor, making the future of neighbouring retailers uncertain. We're not sure if Roots will open a new flagship in the Yorkville area, though rumour has it Roots could open in a renovated Hazelton Lanes.

[Source: Press Release]

[Roots website]


Readers may be disappointed to learn that Roots has leased the retail space at 89 Bloor St. W. in Toronto. The space had sat vacant since early 2011. We've been told that Roots will be vacating their 100 Bloor St. W. retail space.

The narrow retail space at 89 Bloor will be difficult to merchandise for an apparel retailer. 89 Bloor is not even 1,700 square feet, while Root's current 100 Bloor store is about 15,000 square feet. We're not sure if the 89 Bloor Roots will be for a limited collection of Roots products, such as childrenswear or accessories.

Thank you, again, to our Toronto Retail Insider ACT7 of Urban Toronto for researching and locating the name of this new tenant. 

Yesterday we reported on the rampant speculation regarding what tenant was moving into 89 Bloor. We were informed that talks with Links of London had initially been fruitful but that a lease agreement subsequently was unsuccessful.

Current Roots flagship store at 100 Bloor St. W. [Image Source]

Roots once occupied neighboring retail space 95A Bloor Street West until 2002. The space is now occupied by Victorinox.

We'll update you when we find who will replace the current Roots flagship store at 100 Bloor Street West.

[Roots website]


Roots-owned Beaver Canoe will create an apparel and home collection for Target's Canadian stores. The apparel collection launches on September 8th and the home collection on September 15th. The collection will be available from September 2013 through to the end of 2014 (and possibly later if the collaboration is successful). 

According to Target's press release, the apparel collection will include "hoodies, sweatshirts, t-shirts, track pants and long-sleeve tops for toddlers to adults, as well as outerwear and accessories for men and women. Prices range from $7.99 to $99.99". 

Their home collection, the first for Beaver Canoe, will be made up of more than 65 pieces, including furniture, pillows, lighting, frames, vases and candles and prices range from $7.99 to $99.99.

Beaver Canoe was started by Roots in 1982 and became a popular Canadian apparel brand with its own free-standing stores. Its popularity has diminished over time and continues to exist as a Roots-owned label.

Source: [Press Release] Top Image: Beaver Canoe Facebook Page

Target website:

Roots website: