French luxury fashion brand Saint Laurent (formerly Yves Saint Laurent) will open its third standalone Canadian store within a few months at West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton. The store is part of an effort to attract luxury shoppers to the mall after adding a Louis Vuitton store last year.
WEST EDMONTON MALL’S SAINT LAURENT STORE WILL BE CANADA’S THIRD STANDALONE LOCATION FOR THE BRAND
The Saint Laurent store will span more than 2,900 square feet on one level and will be located two doors west of Louis Vuitton on the second level of West Edmonton Mall. The Saint Laurent boutique will feature the brand’s newest retail design and will carry men’s and women’s fashions including apparel, bags, accessories, and footwear. Another luxury brand will soon be announced for a retail space between Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton as part of a clustering of brands targeting affluent locals and tourists.
Construction specialist Amachris Corporation will build the new Edmonton Saint Laurent store including general contracting work as well as interior finishings. Amachris also completed the renovation of the Saint Laurent shop-in-store at Saks Fifth Avenue in downtown Toronto and has worked with other luxury brands. That includes building the stunning 6,000 square foot ‘world of’ Gucci concession at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre that opened last summer, and Amachris is also finishing the renovation to Gucci’s standalone flagship store at 130 Bloor Street West in Toronto.
SAINT LAURENT FOCUED ON CANADIAN EXPANSION IN RECENT YEARS
Saint Laurent has been expanding its presence in Canada over the past few years. The brand opened its first standalone store in Canada in Vancouver at 746 Thurlow Street in July of 2016, spanning 4,800 square feet over two floors. A second location at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre, spanning more than 3,000 square feet on one level, opened in November of 2016. In March of 2018, Saint Laurent opened a concession spanning about 3,000 square feet on the street level of Holt Renfrew at 50 Bloor Street West in Toronto, featuring its own street-facing entrance onto the Mink Mile facing Eataly. The ‘world of’ Saint Laurent boutique is so large that many who walk by consider it to be a standalone store.
In the winter of 2018, Saint Laurent opened its first outlet store in Canada at the Toronto Premium Outlets in Halton Hills.
Concessions have become an important part of Saint Laurent’s strategy in Canada. In the spring of 2019, Saint Laurent opened a men’s concession space on the fourth floor at Holt Renfrew Ogilvy in Montreal. Over the summer, Saint Laurent opened three separate concession spaces at Holt Renfrew Ogilvy for women’s ready-to-wear, leather goods, and footwear.
Saint Laurent also has a limited wholesale presence in Canada. That includes Nordstrom in Vancouver, which houses separate Saint Laurent leather goods and women’s ready-to-wear boutiques. Saks Fifth Avenue in downtown Toronto also features a leather goods boutique although a ready-to-wear boutique on the third floor closed last year. Saint Laurent fashions can also be found at Holt Renfrew at Square One in Mississauga and some pieces are available at Holt Renfrew in Calgary.
Saint Laurent operates locations globally, including more than 25 full-priced U.S. stores and several Saint Laurent outlets. In downtown Portland, Oregon, Saint Laurent recently opened a large standalone store at Pioneer Place, marking the brand’s further expansion into secondary markets. The brand is also carried in upscale department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom in the United States. Saint Laurent is owned by French luxury holding company Kering. Designer Anthony Vaccarello is the designer for Saint Laurent, having replaced Hedi Slimani in 2016.
Fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent founded the brand in 1961 and in the 1980s and 90s, Yves Saint Laurent was considered to be the pinnacle of fashion globally. The company had stores around the world including a substantial number of units in the United States. Department stores were an important part of the ‘Saint Laurent Rive Gauche’ expansion strategy. Stores such as Marshall Field’s, Dayton’s, Wanamaker, Rich’s, L.S. Ayeres, Kaufman’s, Halle’s, Nan Duskin, I.Magnin, and others featured Rive Gauche shop-in-stores.
In Canada, Yves Saint Laurent boutiques once operated in Toronto at Hazelton Lanes (now Yorkville Village) as well as at 1330 Sherbrooke Street West in Montreal. Department stores such as Simpson’s (now the Hudson’s Bay Company) and Morgan’s also carried the brand in decades past.
West Edmonton Mall has been adding high-end retailers over the past several years. Last year, Canada Goose opened in the mall featuring a 'cold room', joining brands such as Hugo Boss, Marc Cain, Coach, Stuart Weitzman, Mackage, and others. The first luxury brand to open at West Edmonton Mall was Tiffany & Co. in 2013. Mall landlord Triple Five is innovating with a new Toyota Experience centre that will be opening next year, with more announcements to come. West Edmonton Mall is also looking to add some of the successful brands that once were carried at Holt Renfrew in Edmonton — the downtown store closed in January of this year. Interestingly, Saint Laurent did not have a presence at Edmonton's former Holt Renfrew store.
Despite not having a Holt Renfrew store, Edmonton will have some bragging rights when the Saint Laurent store opens its doors — it will be the only standalone location in Alberta. Calgary and Edmonton have had a rivalry for years and the next luxury brand to be announced at West Edmonton Mall also does not have a standalone presence in Calgary. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and report on what’s happening at West Edmonton Mall as the centre expands its offerings to become Canada’s next luxury retail node.