Tag Archives: Spring

An expanded retail footprint for essence

European makeup brand essence has gained more shelf space in the Canadian retail market, thanks to a recent mega retail merger.

essence, which is owned by German cosmetics company Cosnova GmbH, is known for fun and affordable makeup products, with an average retail price of just $3.69.

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The brand made its Canadian debut in 2012, under an exclusive distribution partnership with Shoppers Drug Mart. With the 2014 acquisition of Shoppers having brought the drug store chain under the ownership of Loblaw Companies Ltd., essence has now gained a massive new distribution network.

In addition to its presence within Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix stores, essence is gaining real estate this spring within certain Loblaws grocery stores.

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Under the new distribution arrangement, designated Loblaws stores will carry twice as many essence products compared with the amount of essence merchandise available at Shoppers Drug Mart. Loblaws stores will also carry certain exclusive essence products that are not available anywhere else in the Canadian market.

The essence brand seems a good fit for Loblaws, where its in-house fashion and cosmetics brand, Joe Fresh, shares a similar philosophy of trendy items for affordable prices.

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At a downtown Toronto event in late February, essence showcased its spring makeup collection, including certain Loblaws exclusives. The new collection features plenty of pastels and bright spring colours that are sure to attract shoppers as the products make their debut on the shelves of their new retail partner.


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Filed under Department Stores & Big Boxes, Events

Fashionable finds at Dufferin Mall. Really.

Dufferin Mall is rebranding itself as a fashion destination, and as part of a unique marketing effort to promote its new identity, it sent models onto the streets of Liberty Village this week to get Toronotonians talking about the shopping destination.

The mall is taking steps to distance itself from the reputation it’s had in the past. With discount retailers Wal-Mart and No Frills as the mall’s primary anchors, it has tended to be viewed as a lower-end mall.


However, the shopping centre has recently invested in upgrading its look, and has attracted a variety of popular fashion retailers along the way. They include: H&M, Le Chateau, Costa Blanca, Aldo, Spring, and Aeropostale, among others.

To promote these and other retailers, this week the mall launched a campaign called ReallyRunway, which effectively turned the streets of Liberty Village into one giant runway.


Models, dressed head to toe in the latest spring trends from various Dufferin Mall retailers, were sent out onto the streets to showcase the fashions. Each carrying huge bouquets of helium-filled green and black balloons, the models were easy to spot and thus, drew plenty of attention.

The campaign also featured a media kick-off party at trendy Liberty Village lounge Locus 144, where bloggers and fashion media were able to get a closer look at the models’ trendy outfits. They featured such current trends as bright coloured pants, 1960s mod-style fashions and black and white patterns.


It’s no easy feat for any business – especially a shopping centre – to shed one image and adopt an entirely new one. Once consumers have formed an impression, it tends to stick.

But with its bold marketing campaign, Dufferin Mall seems to be doing a good job of getting people talking. And if it’s successful, it’ll prompt shoppers to give the mall another chance.

I’ve only been to Dufferin Mall a handful of times, but the last time I stopped by, I did notice quite a drastic difference in the mall’s look and feel, and the quality of retailers. I’m sure other shoppers who give the mall a second chance will be similarly impressed.

As another ploy to get shoppers engaged, Dufferin Mall also recently introduced free Wi-Fi access throughout the entire mall – a convenient perk for tech-savvy shoppers.

And, the shopping centre has launched an iPhone app that features a full store directory, contact information and contests, and keeps shoppers informed on current store promotions.

With its new focus, new feel and new services, it’s a new chapter for Dufferin Mall.

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Filed under Events, Fashion, Shopping Hubs

Sterling steps out of Toronto’s retail scene

Toronto shoppers will have fewer places to look for cheap-chic shoes in the months ahead, as Sterling Shoes exits the city’s retail scene.

Struggling footwear company Sterling Shoes LP, which owns five chains: Sterling Shoes, Shoe Warehouse, Joneve, Gia, and Freedman, has announced that it’s closing 53 stores across the country.

The Vancouver-based retailer has been operating under court protection from creditors since October. Like many retailers, it was hit by declining sales during the economic downturn, which came at a particularly vulnerable time for Sterling, as it had expanded aggressively in the three years leading up to the recession.

The Sterling Shoes chain, which has the biggest presence in the GTA of all the banners, is exiting Ontario entirely. It’s closing half of its 55 stores, leaving it with 28 once the restructuring is complete.

That means all of Sterling’s GTA locations will close. This includes locations in:

  • Toronto Eaton Centre
  • Richmond Adelaide Centre
  • Dufferin Mall
  • Scarborough Town Centre
  • Oshawa Centre
  • Square One Shopping Centre, Mississauga
  • Erin Mills Town Centre, Mississauga
  • Markville Shopping Centre, Markham
  • Lime Ridge Mall, Hamilton
  • Upper Canada Mall, Newmarket
  • Promenade Mall, Thornhill
  • Hillcrest Mall, Richmond Hill
  • Bramalea City Centre, Brampton

Most of the remaining Sterling Shoes stores are in Alberta and B.C., along with a couple in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Meanwhile, the company’s Joneve and Gia chains are being shut down entirely, while its Freedman and Shoe Warehouse banners are only shrinking slightly.

These four banners have less of a presence in the GTA. The ones closing include:

  • Sherway Gardens (Joneve)
  • Bramalea City Centre (Joneve)
  • Hillcrest Mall (Freedman)
  • Oakville Place (Freedman)

Freedman will no longer have any GTA stores, but all of Shoe Warehouse’s Ontario locations will continue to operate as usual. The company will have a total of 105 stores once the restructuring is complete.

Of all the banners, I’m most familiar with Sterling – a destination for trendy, affordable shoes where I’ve stumbled upon a good find once or twice. It’s too bad the stores are closing, but I can’t say I’m too surprised.

It’s a crowded market, with chains like Aldo, Spring, Stepss and The Shoe Company competing for the same shoppers. So, it’s important for retailers to stand out in order to survive – and perhaps Sterling didn’t shine as bright as it should have.

What’s the silver (or, ahem, sterling)  lining? As the stores begin to wind down their operations, shoppers will have a chance to score some pretty great deals on shoes, to the tune of up to 50% off all merchandise. Keep in mind, though, that anything you buy is final sale.

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Filed under Fashion, Store Closures