Brief: Ben Sherman Exiting Canada, Tudor Opening 1st Storefront

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UK Fashion Brand ‘Ben Sherman’ Exiting Canadian Retail Operations

UK-based mid-priced men’s fashion brand Ben Sherman is clearing out its remaining Canadian store in Toronto after closing two other units following the spring COVID-19 store shutdowns.

The remaining store at 734 Queen Street West in Toronto is set to close in October after it clears out merchandise. Stock in the store is from the shuttered Vaughan Mills Ben Sherman store near Toronto as well as from the former Square One Ben Sherman store. The Vaughan Mills store opened in the spring of 2015 and the Square One store opened in the summer of 2016.


The Queen Street store in Toronto was the first for Ben Sherman in Canada when it opened in the fall of 2011. Much of the product in the store is 50% off as of last weekend.

A local licensee who has had rights to the brand since 2005 decided to shut the operations down in Canada amid challenging times for retail. Several other international brands are also in the process of pulling out of Canada.


1st Tudor Storefront in Canada to Open in Toronto

Swiss Luxury watch brand Tudor will see its first Canadian storefront open this fall at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. The space will be connected to the mall’s Raffi Jewellers store which also features several other branded spaces.

The Tudor space will face directly onto the mall towards another luxury brand store, Breitling, which opened its first Canadian storefront in partnership with jeweller European Boutique in the summer of 2017.

Tudor was founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1926 by Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex. Tudor continues to be the ‘sister’ company to Rolex with both companies being owned by the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation. The watches, which from afar could be mistaken for Rolex, are generally priced in the $3,000-$7,000 range depending on the style.

Raffi Jewellers, which is the licensee for the new Tudor boutique, operates storefronts at Yorkdale as well as at Square One in Mississauga. The Yorkdale store spans nearly 4,400 square feet. Tudor will replace a Jaeger-LeCoultre boutique that relocated down the hall into a standalone space that is now corporately owned.

Yorkdale is home to the biggest clustering of luxury brands in Canada, and sources say that more announcements are on the way for this year as well as into 2021.


OVO Opens at CF Rideau Centre in Ottawa

World-renowned Canadian musical performer Drake’s fashion retail concept October’s Very Own (OVO) opened its first Ottawa storefront last week at the CF Rideau Centre. Its the sixth location for the brand in Canada and the 12th globally.

The 2,250-square-foot Ottawa store is located on Level 2 of CF Rideau Centre in a retail space located between the mall’s Apple Store and Aritzia stores. Chris Canuel of JLL Canada negotiated the lease on behalf of OVO. Cadillac Fairview is the landlord for CF Rideau Centre and CF Chinook Centre.


OVO’s first store in the world opened at 899 Dundas Street in Toronto in December of 2014. The small boutique was the brainchild of OVO’s co-founder Oliver El-Khatib, and it followed a summer of 2014 pop-up that was held in the same retail space. In December of 2015, OVO opened its second store location at 130 N. La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles, spanning about 2,400 square feet. In December of 2016, OVO’s third store location opened at 54 Bond Street in New York City. A store in London UK opened at 30 Berwick Street in the city’s Soho area in 2017. The OVO brand then turned its sights back to Canada. In August of 2017, OVO opened at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre and in 2018, at Square One in Mississauga which was the first to include a children’s fashion collection. In October of 2018 OVO opened at 1044 Robson Street in Vancouver and in October of 2019, a store at CF Toronto Eaton Centre opened on the mall’s third level.

According to a floor plan on the CF Chinook Centre website, OVO will be opening a store soon at CF Chinook Centre. That location will span about 2,300 square feet according to lease plans.


Swarovski Unveils First Canadian Crystal Studio Retail Location at CF Sherway Gardens in Toronto

On September 25th, Swarovski announced the opening of it first Canadian Crystal Studio retail location at CF Sherway Gardens in Toronto. This announcement marks the continuation of the brand’s global rollout of digital concept stores. The heritage retailer’s global initiative will combine brick-and-mortar retail and virtual components for a modernized and interactive shopping experience.

Conceived as a dynamic and creative space, Swarovski’s latest retail offering elevates the in-store experience by providing a memorable, highly interactive, and socially-focused environment. Interactive, digital touch points throughout the store aim to enhance the purchase process, but also create an inviting space in which customers can immerse themselves into the sparkling world of Swarovski. The heart of the shopping experience is at the Crystal Bar, an immersive jewelry station where consumers can spend time discovering new products, curating looks with styling consultations from Swarovski’s in-store experts, and exploring product ranges virtually.

“When developing the concept, we really tried to learn from our consumers and address their needs,” Robert Buchbauer, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO Consumer Goods Business commented. “From augmented reality screens catering to shoppers who want to quickly select products, to the Sparkle Bar where people can enjoy trying on products for as long as they like, we believe we have created a memorable in-store experience for everyone.”

The series of openings will represent the fourth generation of Swarovski stores and the latest iteration of the brand’s retail approach over the past 125 years.


Longo’s & The Longo’s Family Charitable Foundation Pledges Largest Donation in Company History to The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation

Longo Brothers Fruit Markets and the Longo’s Family Charitable Foundation have announced a breakthrough donation of $2.5 million to The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation — marking the largest single philanthropic gift ever made by the Longo family.

The legacy donation will be distributed between two major areas of impact for The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation; the Tumour Immunotherapy Program and the Space Transformation Campaign, supported through direct philanthropy, and the ongoing sponsorship of Scotiabank Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer. The donation complements Longo’s corporate areas of focus, which include disease prevention and education, child and youth leadership initiatives, and nutrition and food aid programs.

Longo’s donation to the Tumour Immunotherapy Program will directly support the program’s research and its scientists, who are helping to prolong and save lives through their ground-breaking initiatives.

As part of the donation, the new Longo’s Family Lounge in the Blood Lab will be part of the Space Transformation Campaign and will provide comfort and privacy to the nearly 2,000 patients who visit the lab each week.

Made in Alberta Awards Supporting Local Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Sustaining the vibrant small enterprises and entrepreneurs who create the backbone of local retail landscapes is imperative at this time and the Made in Alberta Awards have returned for a second year to celebrate and share the stories of Alberta’s most inspiring producers, makers and creators.

Held in Calgary last month on September 26th and 27th at Southcentre Mall and this month in Edmonton on October 3rd and 4th at Kingsway Mall, a special Made in Alberta Marketplace will be taking place to celebrate winners, runners up and finalists from this year’s Made in Alberta Awards at a curated pop up market. These two-day events will invite Calgarians and Edmontonians to experience the very best that Alberta creatives and entrepreneurs have to offer in one convenient location. The markets will be safely socially distanced throughout the malls and will feature more than a dozen local businesses from across the province.

The Made in Alberta Awards celebrate great Alberta products, businesses and ingenuity. By highlighting Alberta-made products through a variety of channels, including digital, in print and in person, the Made in Alberta Awards program supports and promotes local businesses and encourages people to shop local.


DUER Announces Expansion into the US Retail Market

Canadian retailer DUER — a Vancouver-based company that specializes in the design of technical performance wear — has announced the opening of its first-ever U.S. retail location in Denver, Colorado.

Set to officially open in early October, 2020, Duer’s first US location will be in the RiNo district. Spanning over 1600 square feet and featuring top-sellers across all collections, including—performance denim and the No Sweat and Live Lite collections — the Denver location will be the brand’s first international store.

Co-Founder Gary Lenett is confident in the quality and differentiation of DUER’s offerings, and steadfast in his belief that the brand’s designs will resonate with customers across geographies despite the recent economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lenett believes the brand offers consumers a combination of comfort, quality, and functional versatility that is currently unmet by competing offerings in the market.

“Denver has been on our radar for quite some time – we chose to not let the current retail climate cloud our eagerness to expand within the U.S despite the tough year. We have a strong base of DUER fans already in the Colorado region thanks to our Wholesale network of retailers including our latest partnership with Mountain Standard in Boulder,” said Lenett.

In the face of COVID-19, DUER has adapted its strategy in favour of smaller format stores featuring the brand’s best-selling designs, to ensure they mitigate the risks associated with entering a new retail market without sacrificing the DUER shopping experience. The Denver location will incorporate the experiential elements present in the Canadian stores, inclusive of a denim playground complete with swings and performance rubber flooring.

For more information on the brand, please visit:

Hudson’s Bay and Inland Partner to Support BIPOC Brands

As part of Hudson’s Bay continued commitment to its support of Canadian and BIPOC brands, the company has announced its new partnership with Canadian designer platform INLAND to offer customers some of Canada’s most exciting emerging brands in apparel and accessories. 

This expanded product offering will be available across the country through the newly launched INLAND online shop, available through beginning October 2, running through to December 31, 2020.

“Hudson’s Bay is committed to delivering customers an exciting product assortment that represents ALL Canadians, and ensuring a diverse representation of brands are included in our matrix is an integral part of our strategy,” says Wayne Drummond, Chief Merchant, Hudson’s Bay. “Through this partnership with INLAND, we’re excited to work with and put a spotlight on these Canadian brands that we know our shoppers are looking for, and that complement the existing Canadian brand offering we have at Hudson’s Bay.”

“INLAND is a community where customers, designers and makers come together to celebrate the fabric of Canada through incredible design,” says Sarah Power, Founder and Creative Director of INLAND. “We are committed to putting locally created pieces into every wardrobe and are very excited to be partnering with Hudson’s Bay to help make that a reality. By promoting sustainable collections, advocating for diverse representation and empowering local voices, we make it easy for Canadians to feel good about everyday wardrobe choices.”

  • Anne Mulaire, an ethically manufactured designer apparel brand with all merchandise made sustainably with organically sourced fabric, founded by Winnipeg-based Ojibwe/French designer Andréanne Mulaire Dandeneau.
  • Omi Woods, a Toronto brand founded by Ashley Alexis McFarlane, which represents her Afro-Canadian heritage with each of her poignant, everyday jewelry pieces ethically handmade with fair trade African gold and globally sourced conflict-free fine metals.
  • Pretty Denim, a premium women’s denim brand producing in-season small batch quantities, founded by Toronto-based stylist Tahnee Lloyd-Smith. Pretty Denim uses distinct silhouettes to create a cohesive wardrobe that pairs the durability of traditional denim with timeless tailoring. Pretty Denim maintains a slow and ethical fashion position. All of the garments are made in Canada in a non-factory setting.

Balzac’s Coffee Roasters Expands with First Cafés in York Region

Balzac’s Coffee Roasters, a boutique coffee chain which offers artisanal café experiences, has officially announced the opening of two new cafés in York Region – Kleinburg and Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC). 

Known for its freshly roasted coffee, beautiful café designs and attention to detail, the brand’s new cafés are the first in the region, bringing the total number of Balzac’s locations in Ontario to 16.

A proudly Canadian brand, Balzac’s was established in 1993 with the first café opening three years later in Stratford, Ontario. Balzac’s cafés serve as a community focused gathering place, with each unique location embodying the culture and historical significance of its surroundings. Both new locations compliment this focus, with the Kleinburg location housed in the newly restored Arthur McNeil House and the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre location situated in the heart of this burgeoning community, with soaring ceilings and an airy modern aesthetic. 

“We couldn’t be more excited to open the doors to our new cafés and introduce more Ontarians to Balzac’s Coffee,” said Diana Olsen, President and Founder. “It’s a bit of good news in otherwise challenging times and reminds us that even with social distancing and new safety enhancements, people still love to connect through great coffee. We are also in a position to quickly adapt to further government and health regulations – should there be a need.” 

While there has been a shift in consumer behaviour amidst the pandemic, Balzac’s focus continues to be on providing their customers with a safe and enjoyable café experience – whether in café or at home. To that end, the brand has strengthened their digital offering over the last six months, providing customers with an order ahead option through their App, a coffee subscription service, a contactless delivery option and same day shipping for online orders in the GTA. The shift has proven to be successful with a record number of e-commerce sales and continued brand loyalty.

In addition to carrying a variety of locally roasted blends, espresso-based drinks, baked goods and food, Balzac’s is also excited to share the launch of several new menu items in the cafés. Their limited-edition Café Harvest beverage will be available until November 1, boasting locally sourced ingredients like pumpkin puree, Canadian maple syrup and their organic Fairtrade espresso. Other items include their newly designed ground coffee in a can, and merchandise unique to their respective locations.

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