[Image Source]

After much anticipation, H&M has announced that it will open its first Winnipeg store at the Polo Park Shopping Centre. It will open in October 2014 and will be one of Canada's largest, spanning approximately 25,000 square feet.

Polo Park's Facebook page created hype this week by declaring that it had a "HUGE store announcement" to make. Many excited Facebook users guessed correctly and judging by the posted comments, H&M's Winnipeg entry has been long anticipated.

We can't confirm where H&M will open within the mall, and the mall's landlord Cadillac Fairview is being secretive about its eventual location. Upon review of Polo Park's lease plans and given the size of the new H&M store, we think it will occupy part of a former 97,000 square foot Zellers store on the second level of the mall. We've been told that the former Zellers space could be subdivided for between 25 and 30 new retailers, and H&M could be one of these.

Former Zellers space, expected to be subdivided, could include the new H&M store

According to sources, H&M has been searching for the "right space" in Winnipeg for several years. We speculated that H&M could open at Polo Park as part of an article where we discussed the possibility of Nordstrom and La Maison Simons opening in the mall.

H&M's largest Canadian store is at the Toronto Eaton Centre and it occupies 33,057 square feet, according to landlord Cadillac Fairview. Canada's second-largest H&M store at Vancouver's Pacific Centre is almost as large, measuring in at 31,437 square feet.

[Polo Park website]

[H&M website]

'Original' Hudson's Bay Company Flagship Store May Close Soon

1927. Image:  wintorbos, flickr

We've gotten word from Hudson's Bay Company management that the company's 'original' flagship location in Downtown Winnipeg may be closing soon. Our source tells us The Hudson's Bay Company is seeking to transfer ownership the building to the Manitoba Government in exchange for tax benefits.  Hudson's Bay would like to sell the building but its value is limited due to the estimated $8million/per-floor renovation cost to convert it to offices. 

The Downtown Winnipeg store was the 'original' Hudson's Bay Company flagship store, with seven levels and a trading area of about 675,000 square feet. It opened in 1926 and cost $5million, an enormous sum at the time. It competed with the neighbouring 885,000 square foot Eaton's Store. The Winnipeg Bay store lost its company flagship status when the then-Toronto flagship Hudson's Bay store opened at The Hudson's Bay Centre, 44 Bloor Street West, in 1974. 

The current store has several unoccupied floors and uses only about 240,000 square feet of the building's 656,000 square feet. The store had a 67,000 sq ft Zellers store located in its basement briefly, now closed. Today it was announced that the stores sixth-floor Paddlewheel Restaurant will not be renovated (it was supposed to be kept open), leading to our source contacting us by email. 
Image: WpG Guy, Skyscraper Forum Winnipeg

We found this wonderful description of the store's opening, as written by George Siamandas of the blog 'Winnipeg Time Machine' (we underlined parts we found interesting): 

The Hudson Bay store opened in Winnipeg on November 18 1926. People lined up for blocks around; one of the plate glass windows was broken and car loads of police were on hand to maintain decorum. Fifty thousand Winnipeggers went through the store that first day. But only the basement and first two floors were complete for opening but at least the store was ready for the Christmas trade. Two thousand staff were there to help the throng of opening day customers.

The first customer was Mayor Ralph Webb who bought a silk tie for $1.25. A Mrs Schultz of Pritchard Ave actually was the first customer in line. In the lower level was a supermarket: sirloin steak was 22 cents a pound, corn flakes a dime and sugar sold for 72 cents for a ten pound bag. The lower level also housed hardware, sporting goods. Clothing however was surprisingly expensive at prices of $15 to $150 for women's dresses. There was even a 3,000 volume lending library on the second floor. The Bay would make 5 tons of Christmas cake for the Christmas season and was the biggest fuel dealer in Winnipeg delivering coal till 1960 when gas was introduced.

A lot of men worked round the clock to dig the Bay's foundations by shovel, horse drawn scrapers as well as the two steam shovels on the site. Most of the Bay was built with a "Made in Manitoba" philosophy where as many goods as possible were bought here in Manitoba. The Tyndall stone, 1 M bricks, plaster from Gypsumville, the steel frame from Selkirk's Rolling Mills, 2 M board feet of lumber from Winnipegosis. And as a modern fire-proof building, it had 32 km sprinkler pipes and 8,000 heads.

At one time it had its one well which at 600 feet was the deepest in Canada. While not of drinking quality, it was used to flush toilets and to air condition the air. It was used until 1971 at which time it was capped off because the water had turned salty in efforts to dig deeper. Originally the Bay had twelve elevators. Half were removed in 1948 to install elevators. In the 1930s a beacon on top of the Bay helped guide airplanes to the city as air mail service was inaugurated.

For a company that had owned a lot of North America (All the land that drained into Hudson Bay) and all of downtown Winnipeg till after 1870, it took the HBC a long time to build a modern store - 21 years after Eatons. WW1 delayed it at least ten years. And Winnipeg seemed to have headed into decline by the 1920s. The original store built in 1881 had been on Main St and York. But the Bay saw the reality of retailing lay on Portage Ave. The first real urban store was in Vancouver in 1887. Donald A Smith who ran the Bay then imported managers from Harrods to run these stores. The trading posts evolved into department stores as the west filled up with new settlers.

At one time the Bay owned everything in downtown Winnipeg and built on the western boundary of its reserve. Ironically it had to repurchase the land from a Col Pierce who made a bundle from advance knowledge of the store's coming before the Bay's own real estate people knew of the store's construction. Hudson Bay did not become a Canadian company till 1970 when it became headquartered in Winnipeg. It had previously been London-based. In 1979 Ken Thompson bought 76% of Bay shares. They sold off the 178 northern stores in 1987 after losing money.
1935. Manitoba Archives
Canada's Hudson's Bay Company's history is significant and the company is far older than Canada itself. From the Heritage Winnipeg Archives

"The Hudson's Bay Company is the oldest commercial corporation in North America, and is one of the oldest in the world. 

It as once the de facto government in parts of North America before European-based colonies and nation states existed. It was at one time the largest landowner in the world, with Rupert's Land being a large part of North America. From its longtime headquarters at York Factory on Husdon Bay, it controlled the fur trade throughout much of British-controlled North America for several centuries, undertaking early exploration. Its traders and trappers forged early relationship with many groups of First Nations/Native Americans and its network of trading posts formed the nucleus for later official authority in many areas of Western Canada and the United States. 

In the late 19th century, its vast territory became the largest component in the newly formed Dominion of Canada, in which the company was the largest private landowner. With the decline of the fur trade, the company evolved into mercantile business selling vital goods to settlers in the Canadian West. Today the company is best known for its department stores throughout Canada.

The Hudson's Bay Company Archives are located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. They also classify the Bay in downtown Winnipeg as the flagship store."

Times change. Fortunately it sounds like at least the building will be salvaged and not torn down like Winnipeg's Eaton's store. For more on Winnipeg's Eaton's store, check out this wonderful blog called The Department Store Museum (and click HERE for their page on Winnipeg's Bay flagship)

Hudson's Bay Company website: www.hbc.com

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Will Nordstrom and Simons Open at Winnipeg's Polo Park?

Image: http://www.wattintl.com
Nordstrom and La Maison Simons could open at Winnipeg's Polo Park Shopping Centre. A Winnipeg-based retail insider (who is a commercial real estate broker) informs us that Polo Park landlord Cadillac Fairview, along with Winnipeg-based real estate company Shindico, are finalizing a deal to purchase real estate formerly occupied by a sports stadium North of the mall to build a multi-use commercial project including a two-level, 170,000 sq ft Target store.

This would free-up the current 97,200 square foot Zellers space, the right size for a Simons store. Our insider also says Cadillac Fairview wants to buy-out Sears' 260,000 square foot lease at the South-End of Polo Park for redevelopment. Nordstrom could possibly take 120,000-140,000 square feet of the Sears space, while the rest would be redeveloped to house new retailers including, among others, Winnipeg's first H&M store.
Floorplan: Cadillac Fairview. 
Winnipeg currently lacks an upscale large-format/department store. Holt Renfrew once had a smaller store in Downtown Winnipeg (roughly 20,000 square feet) which has since replaced with a tiny Holt Renfrew boutique carrying some cosmetics and a few accessories.

Polo Park once had a Nordstrom-esq retailer called Bretton's, partially located in the current Zellers space (see floorplan below - click on it to expand so it's readable).
Image: Winnipeg Skyscraper Forum, trebor204. Floorplan from 1986. Also Notice Eaton's where Hudson's Bay is now located.
We're excited to be reporting on a potential retail boom in Winnipeg. We're expanding Retail Insider's coverage across Canada. If you've got any retail insider information in your Canadian community, please feel free to email us: insider@retail-insider.com 

Polo Park Mall website: www.polopark.ca

Nordstrom website: www.nordstrom.com

La Maison Simons website: www.simons.ca

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Nordstrom Continues Canadian Location Search For Six-to-Nine Stores

Nordstrom is working with Cadillac Fairview to secure a total of between six and nine Canadian locations. As we previously reported, Nordstrom will open four Canadian stores in conjunction with Cadillac Fairview in Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa and Toronto. A second-wave of searching and negotiating for further Canadian Nordstroms is now underway.

Cadillac Fairview has several top-performing Canadian malls and importantly, many include Sears stores. Nordstrom has the opportunity to open several more Canadian stores via Sears' leases. We'll give a quick rundown of some potential locations...

1) Fairview Mall in Toronto: Cadillac Fairview's Fairview Mall in Toronto includes a 149,552 sq ft Sears store. The mall is one of the most productive in Canada with a sales of $829/sq ft (as of September 27 2012), and Sears is well-positioned as per the floorplan below:
Fairview Mall Floorplan: Cadillac Fairview
A Fairview Mall Nordstrom could coincide with a mall expansion to make it more competitive with Yorkdale Shopping Centre.

2) Toronto Eaton Centre: Sears Canada currently occupies over 800,000 sq ft of space at The Toronto Eaton Centre. Nordstrom would like somewhere between 225,000 sq ft and 270,000 sq ft of retail in this space. If the deal goes through, some Sears space may be converted to Nordstrom's Canadian headquarters, or office space may be leased in an adjacent office tower.

3) Polo Park Shopping Centre in Winnipeg: This mall achieves sales of $753/sq ft and has a 263,243 sq ft Sears store. If converted to Nordstrom, some space would become multi-tenant retail while the rest would be Nordstrom (about 130-160,000 sq ft). Floorplan:
Polo Park Shopping Centre: Cadillac Fairview
4) Richmond Centre, Richmond BC: This suburban Vancouver shopping centre has seen numerous popular retailers introduced, with considerable success. The mall includes a 122,021 sq ft Sears location that could be converted to Nordstrom. Floorplan: 

Richmond Centre: Cadillac Fairview
Several non-Cadillac-Fairview mall locations are also being considered by Nordstrom, including:

-Metrotown Centre in surburban Vancouver, BC (in either a current Sears location or a new-build)
-Southgate Shopping Centre in Edmonton, AB (possibly in a current Sears location)
-West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, AB (possibly in a current Sears location or a new-build)
-Yorkdale Shopping Centre (possibly in a current Sears location or part of another proposed mall expansion)

As always, we'll keep you updated. Nordstrom is also seeking locations for its discount retail format, Nordstrom Rack.

Nordstrom website: www.nordstrom.com

Cadillac Fairview website: www.cadillacfairview.com

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