BRIEF: Chico’s/White House Black Market Exiting Canada, Polstar Announces First 3 Stores

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Volvo-Owned Polestar Announces First Three Canadian Showrooms

Automaker Volvo-owned electric performance brand Polestar will open three storefronts in Canada this fall. The first three showrooms will be in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver in high-profile downtown locations. The company will also open service centres in Victoria, BC and Waterloo, ON.

In Toronto, Polestar will open at Yorkville Village (formerly Hazelton Lanes) at 55 Avenue Road in the wealthy Yorkville area. In Montreal, Polestar’s showroom will be at 1255 boulevard René Levesque West in downtown Montreal, located at the base of a new mixed-use high-rise in a rapidly changing part of the city. In Vancouver, Polestar will open at 827 Seymour Street which is at the base of The Capitol Residences condominium building where Retail Insider was once based out of.


The three Polestar retail spaces will be similar in size to electric vehicle brands Tesla and Genesis Motors which operate several showrooms in Canada as well. “95% of Canadian Polestar owners and reservation holders live within the 240-kilometre home delivery range of these Polestar retail Spaces,” said Polestar Canada general manager Hugues Bissonnette in a press release. “With this coverage, plus the two additional service centres, we are confident that the Canadian market will be well-supported from day one.”

The Canadian Polestar stores will operate in partnerships with retail groups Grand Touring Automobiles and GAIN Group. Last year we reported that Polestar had partnered with Montreal-based Groupe Park Avenue and that plans were in place to open a first retail location in Montreal. That deal was subsequently terminated.

Prices for Polestar vehicles in Canada will start at about $70,000.


All Chico’s and White House Black Market Stores to Close in Canada Amid Bankruptcy

Womenswear retailer Chico’s FAS Canada filed for bankruptcy last week and the company will shut all of its Canadian stores. Chico’s entered the Canadian market in 2013 and failed to expand beyond southern Ontario, despite plans to open stores across the country.

The company’s first store in Canada was a White House Black Market storefront which opened in October of 2013 at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. The retail concept subsequently opened stores at Square One in Mississauga, Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket, Mapleview Centre in Burlington, and at the Outlet Collection at Niagara near Niagara Falls.


All of the company’s Canadian stores closed in March due to COVID-19. The Canadian operations were losing money according to the company. Clearance sales will be held this month and the stores will close in the fall. Canadians will be able to continue to shop for the brands on e-commerce websites.

Canadian Bonnie Brooks, formerly head of the Hudson’s Bay Company, was President and CEO of Chico’s FAS until June of this year. Chico’s has more than 1,300 stores in North America and the company will close as many as 60 units following struggles. Last quarter, the company lost nearly US $180 million.


Moores Parent Company, Tailored Brands, Files for Bankruptcy

The parent company for mid-priced Canadian menswear retail chain Moores filed for bankruptcy on Sunday and according to filings, the 126-store retailer will remain operational for the time being. Moores operates 54 stores in Ontario, 25 stores in Quebec, 16 in BC, 15 in Alberta, five in Manitoba, four in Nova Scotia, three in New Brunswick, two in Saskatchewan, and one store in both Newfoundland and PEI.

US Parent company Tailored Brands is looking to restructure the company to remain operational according to a press release issued on Sunday.

In Canada, retailer Laura Shoppes, which operates under the Laura and Melanie Lynn banners, also filed for bankruptcy protection last week. All stores will remain open amid a restructuring. Various other retailers have filed and announced store closings — David's Tea will shut all but 18 stores in Canada, and Frank And Oak will keep only three of its 20 units open. Montreal-based retailer Reitmans is fighting for its future and will hopefully remain operational despite struggles. Sources are saying we can expect many more filings in the weeks and moths to come amid an acceleration due to COVID-19.


Saint Laurent Opens Three Boutique Concessions in Montreal

Kering-owned French luxury brand Saint Laurent unveiled three boutique spaces last week in Montreal at Holt Renfrew Ogilvy. They join a men's Saint Laurent boutique concession that opened in the spring of 2019.

The new Saint Laurent boutique spaces include a leather goods boutique on the ground floor luxury hall of Holt Renfrew Ogilvy, a women's footwear boutique on the second level in the women's shoe department, and a women's ready-to-wear salon on the third floor of the store which features other major luxury brands. We've included photos of all four Saint Laurent concessions.

Prior to opening these, Saint Laurent had a presence at the former Holt Renfrew store on Sherbrooke Street which closed last month to coincide with the opening of all six retail levels of Holt Renfrew Ogilvy. In 1981, an Yves Saint Laurent boutique opened at 1330 Sherbrooke Street West in Montreal. Owner York-Hannover also opened a Saint Laurent storefront at Hazelton Lanes in Toronto.

Saint Laurent currently operates standalone stores in Vancouver at 746 Thurlow Street, at Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre, as well as a large concession at Holt Renfrew on Bloor Street in Toronto. All three carry women's and men's ready-to-wear as well as bags, accessories and footwear.

Thank you Maxime Frechette for taking photos used in this Brief.


Toronto Premium Outlets Adds Moncler and Balenciaga to the Retail Mix

The Toronto Premium Outlets in Halton Hills is becoming one of North America's most luxury-focused outlet centres. Last week luxury brand Balenciaga opened its first Canadian outlet store at the centre and now Italian luxury fashion and outerwear brand Moncler will be joining it, making Toronto Premium Outlets by far the leading centre of its kind in Canada in terms of luxury brand offerings.

Last year, a Brunello Cucinelli outlet store opened at Toronto Premium Outlets as well, joining an already impressive roster of outlets for brands such as Saint Laurent, Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Jimmy Choo, Prada, Versace, Montblanc, Hugo Boss, Burberry, Ports 1961, and Movado. We toured the outlet mall's new luxury wing when the expansion opened in the fall of 2018.

It's a considerably more robust lineup of brands when compared to the McArthur Glen outlets at Vancouver International Airport, which was positioned as a luxury centre when it opened in the summer of 2015. The Montreal Premium Outlets, operated by the same landlord as Toronto Premium Outlets, features luxury brand Salvatore Ferragamo — the centre formerly housed Gucci and Max Mara outlets which have closed.

Thank you again Maxime Frechette for information for this section of the Brief.


Cadillac Fairview Expands Mall Parking Lot Drive in Theatres

Cadillac Fairview has introduced its outdoor movie experience at CF Sherway Gardens in Toronto. Created in partnership with the City of Toronto's DriveIn TO initiative, CF Sherway Gardens is transforming its parking lot into an outdoor movie theatre for three consecutive weekends.

The initiative, which began on Thursday, July 30, will run for three weekends from Thursday to Saturday and feature two separate screenings per night — one at 6:00pm and one at 9:00pm. Each weekend will feature two different movies, including comedy blockbusters and animated films so all can enjoy. On the third weekend, CF is proudly partnering with the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) to host two special nights with a rotation showcasing fantastic Canadian documentary content including, True North: Inside the Rise of Toronto Basketball and nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up.

The cost to attend is $10 per car, per movie, and all proceeds will be donated to St. Joseph's Hospital. Tickets will be available for online purchase starting Wednesday July 29 at 12pm noon. Spots are limited to 100 cars per movie screening.

It's the second Cadillac Fairview-owned mall to feature a drive-in theatre, and more malls are expected to follow. We reported on the first one last month at CF Markville in Markham, just north of Toronto.

The Neighbourhood Joint

The Neighbourhood Joint Launches in Toronto with Pneumatic Tube System

The Neighbourhood Joint (THJ) has announced the opening of its first cannabis retail location in Toronto’s Beaches at 1987 Queen St. E. in Toronto. The store features a pneumatic tube system allowing for quick and efficient retrieval of stock — something of a relic of the past. The Neighbourhood Joint will focus on cannabis education and offer a wide selection of products with an emphasis on organic and sustainable cannabis.


As an ode to the mode of communication used in the 1930s between Toronto’s City Hall reporters and newspapers like The Toronto Star and The Toronto Telegram, the family-owned retailer installed the pneumatic tube system as a key design element in their store. The fast retrieval of stock due to The pneumatic tubes will allow for fast-retrieval of stock and increased efficiency, requiring less handling of product by staff. Additionally, TNJ’s focus on organic and sustainable cannabis is a key brand pillar that will play a strong role within the store.

A recycling program is set to be put in place by the company for products that are not reusable, such as pre-filled vape pens, to ensure TNJ maintains their ethos of an environmentally conscious brand. TNJ will also implement a loyalty program, free for customers to join that will allow them to receive 20% off their next purchase.

Independently and family owned the store had their soft opening on July 28, with their grand opening on August 1.


Superette Expands Retail Presence into Toronto and Announces First Branded Cannabis Product

Canadian cannabis retailer Superette Inc has announced its expansion into Toronto, with a store located at 1073 Yonge Street. Expanding on its first store and overwhelming success in Ottawa, Superette is bringing its award-winning approach to cannabis retail and decades of traditional retail experience to this flagship store in the Summerhill neighbourhood.

“Opening in Toronto is an incredible milestone, and we are so excited to bring Superette to Canada’s largest market,” said Mimi Lam, CEO of Superette. “Retail is our first step in building an immersive brand experience and we are establishing the foundation for prudent expansion of Superette across Canada and beyond.”


Superette is also introducing its first Superette-branded cannabis products. The Company has previously entered into definitive agreements with Fume Labs and the Blinc Group as its extraction and hardware partners, respectively, for the production and sale of cannabis vape products under the Superette brand.

The first product to be produced and sold is a 0.5 gram single-strain 510 cartridge with a unique cannabis formulation and custom hardware. Named Jumping Jack, this 510 cartridge uses CO2-extracted distillate with re-introduced natural terpenes and is a true representation of a Jack Herer, Super Silver Haze cross.


“At Superette, we can’t wait to roll out our portfolio of cannabis products across Canada,” said Mimi. “Fume Labs and the Blinc Group are incredible partners and we’re very fortunate to be working with them on our first product.”

Superette’s has aggressive expansion plans for the near future, with additional locations including:

  • 49 Spadina Ave, Toronto

  • 994 Dundas Street West, Toronto

  • 852 Bank Street, Ottawa

Superette’s newest store will be open for in-store shopping as well as click and collect. For more information, visit Superette’s website. at and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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