Holt Renfrew’s Men’s Push

The department store is developing a freestanding men’s store on Bloor Street in Toronto to tighten its grip on Canada’s luxury market.

Holt Renfrew is developing a freestanding men’s store on Bloor Street in Toronto to tighten its grip on Canada’s luxury market amid rising competition.

This story first appeared in the February 14, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The freestanding men’s store, the first for Holt, will be located at 100 Bloor Street, site of a former Roots store. The men’s store will have 14,000 square feet over two levels and is expected to open in the fall.

“The stand-alone men’s shop will be a classic sartorial store and supports our growth plans to further enhance our luxury men’s wear and Holt Renfrew’s presence on Bloor Street — the destination for luxury,” said Mark Derbyshire, president of Holt Renfrew.

Holt officials said the men’s unit will take inspiration and ideas from the company’s recently renovated and expanded Yorkdale Shopping Centre store in Toronto, where there’s an area for men called The Lounge. It feels like a den, with a black BMW motorcycle and foosball table; luxury offerings from Fendi, Tom Ford and Jimmy Choo, among other designers, and a bevy of services such as free straight-razor shaves on vintage barbershop chairs, and free shoe shines. Holt has no additional freestanding men’s units in the works.

The retailer is also planning a major renovation and expansion of its 179,000-square-foot Bloor Street flagship, which will continue to sell men’s wear. “Enhancements for our 50 Bloor West flagship store will start in September and will add retail space,” Derbyshire said. In between the flagship and the future men’s store are Holt’s offices, a Gap, an office tower and Harry Rosen. Bloor Street is considered the Rodeo Drive of Toronto, housing Tiffany, Hermès and other luxury and upscale retailers. J. Crew Collection has just opened a store there.

Holt is working hard to strengthen its business in Canada to thwart Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom, which both recently revealed locations for their first stores in Canada. Nordstrom will land right in the heart of downtown Toronto by opening a 213,000-square-foot store in the Toronto Eaton Centre in fall 2016. The first Nordstrom in Canada will open in the fall of this year at Chinook Centre in Calgary. After that, Nordstrom will open full-line stores in Ottawa, Vancouver, Yorkdale and Toronto’s Sherway Gardens. Nordstrom envisions eight to 10 full-line stores and several Nordstrom Rack units across Canada, as well as a separate online site.

In Toronto, Hudson’s Bay Co. will carve out 150,000 square feet of its 750,000-square-foot downtown Hudson’s Bay flagship to open its first Saks store in Canada in fall 2015. In spring 2016, Saks will open a second Canada unit at Sherway Gardens.