Luxury Brand FENDI Opens 2 Boutiques in Montreal [Photos]

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Now located in Toronto, Craig is a retail analyst and consultant at the Retail Council of Canada. He's also the Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for the past 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees. He is also President & CEO of Vancouver-based Retail Insider Media Ltd.

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Italian luxury fashion brand Fendi has opened two impressive boutique spaces at Holt Renfrew Ogilvy in Montreal. It’s part of an expansion for Fendi in Canada which has included several concession openings within Holt Renfrew stores.

FENDI’S ‘NEW CONCEPT’ WOMEN’S BOUTIQUE FEATURES LATEST STORE DESIGN

Last week, Fendi opened a ‘New Concept’ women’s boutique on the street level of Holt Renfrew Ogilvy at 1307 Ste-Catherine Street. The 672-square-foot boutique houses Fendi’s iconic bags, leather goods, and accessories in one area. An adjacent area in the concession house women’s ready-to-wear clothing and footwear.

The women’s boutique showcases the brand’s latest store design which includes a facade, columns, and diagonal flooring in Italian Arabescato Vagli marble which Fendi says was inspired by the architecture of Roman churches. Ivory-coloured leather shelves are suspended by tubular structures in champagne metal, while marmorino walls add further character to the space. A curved sofa in light blue velvet and a handmade carpet with a geometric pattern features nuances from green to lilac. Handmade 3D plaster wall accents feature a textured FF logo designed by the late Karl Lagerfeld who was the designer for Fendi from 1965 until his death last year. On Tuesday September 9, it was announced that British designer Kim Jones was hired by Fendi to replace Lagerfeld. Jones will design Fendi’s women’s couture collection, women’s ready-to-wear and furs.

Fendi joins 10 other luxury brand concessions on the main level luxury hall at Holt Renfrew Ogilvy including Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Chanel, Dior, Tiffany & Co., Saint Laurent, Gucci, Prada, David Yurman, and Bottega Veneta. Fendi is the final piece of the puzzle for the luxurious new street level of Holt Renfrew Ogilvy which is unlike any other store in Canada. The historic Ogilvy department store building was expanded to about 250,000 square feet over six levels and is directly connected to the new Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences, featuring the priciest hotel rooms and condominium residences in the city.

FENDI UNVEILED READY-TO-WEAR MEN’S BOUTIQUE IN HOLT RENFREW OGILVY

Last week, Fendi also unveiled a new 527-square-foot men’s concession on the fourth floor of Holt Renfrew Ogilvy. The boutique carries the full range of Fendi men’s ready-to-wear as well as leather goods and accessories. While the main floor women’s Fendi boutique was designed to be ‘feminine’, the new fourth floor men’s boutique is said to have been designed with masculine shades of green and camel. Textured silver FF walls create a backdrop for forest green lacquer and cork shelving which accents the boutique’s carpet which is of the same green shade.

The fourth floor men’s store at Holt Renfrew Ogilvy is home to 25 luxury brand concessions, branded wholesale areas, and an expansive footwear hall. We featured the new 40,000-square-foot men’s floor in Retail Insider when it opened in the spring of 2019 — it’s the largest men’s department in the Holt Renfrew chain by far.

In late 2018, Fendi opened its first Canadian concession at Holt Renfrew in Vancouver in a concession space on the third floor. An accessory boutique on the main floor as well as a men’s space on the lower level followed. In January of 2019, Fendi opened a 3,000-square-foot ‘world of’ boutique on the main floor of the Holt Renfrew flagship store at 50 Bloor Street West in Toronto, carrying Fendi’s full line of apparel, bags/accessories, and footwear for both women and men. In the fall of 2019, Fendi unveiled an impressive 1,900-square-foot women’s boutique housing ready-to-wear, bags/accessories and footwear, at the Holt Renfrew store in Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. That Fendi boutique features entrances facing the mall as well as from within Holt Renfrew, and a separate men’s Fendi concession is located a few steps away in a 600-square-foot space.

For some historical background, Fendi once had a licensed standalone boutique space in Canada. In 1996, multi-brand retailer Collections International opened a Fendi bag and accessory boutique at 1005 Alberni Street in Vancouver (corner of Burrard Street). The boutique operated there until the early 2000s. The space was joined by adjacent spaces and is now occupied by a very impressive Tiffany & Co. flagship.

The Fendi brand has been available in Canada for decades as a wholesale account at Holt Renfrew. More recently, luxury brands have demanded that they be able to operate leased concession spaces within multi-brand stores. Taking a page from sister retailers Selfridges in the UK, Brown Thomas in Ireland, and De Bijenkorf in the Netherlands, Holt Renfrew revised its business model several years ago to become a house of luxury brand concessions with limited specialty retail operations. What has resulted is a situation where Holt Renfrew has a broader depth of certain luxury brands than competitors Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom in Canada. That’s primarily because the brands carried at Holts are handling their own operations within the store.

Because Holt Renfrew carries Fendi’s entire apparel and bag/accessory categories, it’s less likely that Fendi will rush to open standalone stores where it has an operating presence in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. That means landlords potentially miss out on opportunities in Bloor-Yorkville in Toronto, Alberni Street in Vancouver and on Rue de la Montagne in Montreal.

If Fendi is highly successful within its current Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver concessions, it could look to eventually open standalone units in the luxury areas of those cities — a situation that could leave Holts exposed. Already, partner brand Louis Vuitton exited the downtown Calgary and Edmonton Holt Renfrew stores while opening standalone suburban stores at CF Chinook Centre and at West Edmonton Mall. It was a hit to the productivity of the Holt Renfrew building in Calgary, and was the primary contributing factor to the closing of the downtown Edmonton Holt Renfrew store in January.

Industry insiders say that Fendi could look to eventually open standalone stores at the overhauled Oakridge Centre in Vancouver as well as the Royalmount project under construction in Montreal. West Edmonton Mall is also said to be a contender.

What’s interesting is that luxury brands such as Fendi are saying that their Canadian sales are higher now than at this time last year. Certainly not all retailers in Canada can boast the same. People with money are staying in Canada and spending it here to treat themselves. Some very prominent Canadians are visiting and spending money in local destinations as opposed to other countries. What is resulting is a boom to some areas attracting visitors and locals spending big dollars.

The completion of Holt Renfrew Ogilvy in Montreal marks a milestone in what was intended to be a decade-long ‘superstore’ construction strategy for the Holt Renfrew chain. In 2007, Holt Renfrew relocated its Vancouver store into a much larger space at CF Pacific Centre which now spans more than 190,000 square feet. In 2009, Holt Renfrew relocated its Calgary store into a 150,000 square foot building once occupied by Eaton’s. In 2012, Holt Renfrew doubled the size of its Yorkdale store in Toronto which currently measures about 130,000 square feet. In 2016, Holt Renfrew opened a 140,000-square-foot store at Square One in Mississauga. While growing its fleet of stores, Holt Renfrew closed smaller units in Ottawa, Quebec City, Winnipeg, and Edmonton.

The 190,000-square-foot 50 Bloor Street West flagship Holt Renfrew store in Toronto is undergoing a renovation as well, which includes a soon-to-be-completed facade as well as three overhauled retail levels. We’ll be reporting on this within a couple of weeks when the facade and display windows are finished, and provide some details on the next steps in that store’s transformation.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Hopefully Fendi opens standalone boutiques. I think its feasible. Several brands in at least Vancouver operate both standalone boutiques and concessions within Holt Renfrew like LV, Tiffany’s, Burberry, Gucci, Prada, Moncler, etc. We’ll see what happens with Oakridge in a few years and even the Amazing Brentwood in the shorter term.

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