Tag Archives: Yorkdale Shopping Centre

Difficulties at Danier

The intense competitive pressures that have wreaked havoc on Canadian retailers in the past few years are showing no signs of slowing down.

The latest victim is Toronto-based Danier Leather Inc., a 44-year old leather-goods retailer that filed for creditor protection in early February. The chain operates more than 80 stores, all of which face the prospect of shutting down unless the company can find a buyer or investor to reverse its grim financial situation.

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The potential closure would leave vacancies in most major GTA shopping centres, including the Toronto Eaton Centre, Sherway Gardens, Square One, Fairview Mall and Scarborough Town Centre, among others.

Danier has carved out a reputation as a destination for leather goods. The brand has certainly had success within that niche, with a wide range of leather outerwear and bags, along with complementary accessories such as scarves, toques and gloves.

As frigid Canadian winters have driven consumers towards parkas and down-filled coats warm enough to get them through days when the temperature struggles to surpass -20 degrees, however, Danier has faced increasing competition from brands such as Canada Goose.

Even if the bulk of Danier’s merchandise is designed for times of year when a lighter jacket is appropriate, consumers who are shelling out hundreds of dollars on winter parkas have likely begun to think twice about spending extra cash on a new spring jacket.

It remains to be seen whether this niche Canadian chain will be rescued, or suffer the same fate as such brands as Mexx Canada and Parasuco Retail Inc.

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Fast fashion meets home décor

Canadians may know Zara best for its clothing, but the retail chain is showing off another one of its specialties: home furnishings.

Zara Home, a sister chain to the international fast-fashion retailer owned by Spain’s Inditex Group, has opened its first GTA store at Yorkdale Shopping Centre.Zara Home Bedding

The store carries such home décor items as rugs, throws, lighting, drapes and bedding, in bright colours, unique textures and trendy patterns designed to spruce up any space.

Similar to the brand’s clothing line, the home furnishing collections include a combination of neutral basics, such as white wooden picture frames and simple glass stemware, and bold statement pieces, along the lines of red patent leather throw cushions, mirrors embellished with third-dimensional silver snakes and skull-shaped candle holders.

Zara Home TableclothAnd, as Zara shoppers would expect, the prices are very reasonable.

Given how eagerly Canadian shoppers embraced the arrival of Zara several years ago, I suspect Zara Home will have no trouble attracting consumers in this country.

With residential construction showing few signs of slowing in Toronto, in particular, the home furnishing market is poised to continue benefitting from plenty of local demand. So, Zara picked a good city for the brand’s new home.

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A new location for Loft

Women’s clothing retailer Loft has opened its second Canadian location, at the Toronto Eaton Centre.

The sister chain to Ann Taylor, owned by Ann Inc., unveiled its first Canadian store at Yorkdale Shopping Centre towards the end of last year (Ann Taylor reaches for “Lofty” new heights). The new downtown location opened on May 31st, and was warmly welcomed by many keen shoppers.

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Loft carries trendy fashions for women, with styles that come in a variety of different fits to flatter such body types as petites and tall women, along with a maternity line. Its styles are somewhat comparable to those available at RW & Co. and Banana Republic.

The new shop is located on the top level of the Eaton Centre, across from Michael Kors. It’s a nice sized store, with a comprehensive section at the back devoted to petite sizes.

The retailer is planning to open three other GTA locations in the months to come, including one in Lime Ridge Mall in Hamilton in July, one in Markville Shopping Centre in Markham in August, and one in Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga in October.

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The retailer also recently expanded its e-commerce capabilities to the Canadian market, so that shoppers on this side of the border can buy Loft fashions online.

The opening of the new store comes about six months after Loft’s higher-end sister chain, Ann Taylor, launched its own location in the Toronto Eaton Centre. That chain has been embarking on its own Canadian expansion strategy, having opened two Toronto locations this past fall.

Canadian women appear to be embracing both well-established U.S. brands, as they continue to expand into this country.

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A celebration, 60s style

Fashion chain Banana Republic is launching a new collection inspired by the popular TV series Mad Men, and Toronto shoppers are invited to help celebrate.

The new collection was designed in collaboration with Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant, and it certainly reflects the distinct 1960s-era styles portrayed in the show: think bold colours and patterns – including plenty of gingham and stripes – and ultra sharp tailoring.

The limited edition collection includes both men’s and women’s styles.

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On Thursday, February 28th, certain Banana Republic stores across Canada will host cocktail parties in celebration of the new collection. Participating locations in Toronto include Bloor Street West, Yorkdale Shopping Centre, and both stores in the Toronto Eaton Centre. The fun begins at 5 pm.

MadMen

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A big ‘night out’ for Toronto fashionistas

Fashionistas will be out in full force this Thursday night, as Toronto retailers partake in an international celebration of all things fashion.

Fashion’s Night Out is coming to the streets of Toronto for the first time this year.

The window display at H&M’s Bloor Street store promotes Fashion’s Night Out. This location, along with the Eaton Centre one, will celebrate the event with drinks, music and special offers.

The international event launched in New York in 2009 as a collaboration between American Vogue, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, NYC & Company and the City of New York. It now brings together shoppers, retailers, designers, celebrities and media at swanky parties and shopping events in 18 countries around the world.

In Toronto, the celebration will be permeating all corners of the city’s retail scene. Here are some events to check out:

  • The Toronto Eaton Centre is extending mall hours, remaining open until 11 pm, and will host a public fashion show at 7:30 pm in Centre Court. Check it out to see the latest fashions from Stuart Weitzman, Juicy Couture and GAP.
  • Many retailers at Yorkdale Shopping Centre will also stay open until 11 pm, and while they’re there, shoppers can also enjoy presentations on beauty trends, fall and winter fashions and personal style tips.
  • Holt Renfrew’s ‘Hot in the City’ street party kicks off in front of the chain’s Bloor Street store at 7 pm, and runs until 10 pm. But the celebration needn’t stop there – the store will stay open until 11 pm.
  • Nearby in Yorkville, there will be plenty of sales and swanky shopping events. Cumberland will transform into a runway featuring trendy looks from New York fashion week, compliments of Aveda Canada, and MasterCard’s Stylicity Lounge at Hazelton Lanes will feature complimentary styling and make-up applications, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres until 11 pm.
  • Queen Street West will also be buzzing, with celebrations and special offers at retailers such as Rue Pigalle and Preloved.

Check out the full list of participants here.

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A cozy new store for a coveted brand

Luxury fashion brand Tory Burch has opened its first Canadian boutique at Yorkdale Shopping Centre.

The company, which launched in 2004, is known for its “preppy bohemian” clothing, handbags and shoes. Some of the brand’s products are available at high-end retailers such as Holt Renfrew, but the new Yorkdale store, which opened in May, gives Toronto customers a one-stop shopping destination for everything Tory Burch.

The boutique has the feel of a cozy and luxurious walk-in closet, with merchandise displayed on shelves, cubbyholes and inset racks; plenty of mirrors; and seating nooks for tired shoppers.

The shop carries a selection of clothing, handbags and shoes, with the signature cutout Tory Burch logo splashed across items throughout the store.

The chain operates dozens of stores throughout the U.S., along with several international boutiques in markets such as Dubai, South Korea and Italy.

The brand arrives in Toronto after having steadily gained popularity among fashionistas in the past few years. In the past six months in particular, shoes and bags adorned with the recognizable logo seem to have completely infiltrated Toronto’s fashion scene.

Tory Burch’s success has been helped by the fact that the brand’s merchandise is regularly sported by high profile celebrities, such as Blake Lively, Paris Hilton and Kristen Bell.

As a shopper who appreciates a nice pair of flats, I’ve become a fan of Tory Burch footwear, in particular (the ‘Reva Ballet Flats’ have been among the brand’s most popular items) and so I’m excited to see this brand become even more accessible to Toronto shoppers.

Now, if only I had my own closet as big and well-stocked as this one.

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Ann Taylor reaches for “Lofty” new heights

Yorkdale Shopping Centre will soon be welcoming a new women’s clothing brand, which, until now, has only been available south of the border.

Loft, a division of Ann Inc., is gearing up to open its first Canadian location at Yorkdale in late 2012.

Loft offers trendy and versatile (and affordable) women’s fashion that’s appropriate for both work and leisure, along with shoes, swimwear, and accessories such as bags, belts and sunglasses. And to ensure it has something for everyone, the chain carries a maternity line and special collections for tall women and petites.

The new store will be the chain’s first outside of the United States. It currently operates 501 stores across the country, along with a slew of outlet stores.

As Loft adjusts to life in Canada, it will have company: Ann Inc. recently announced that it would also be opening its first international Ann Taylor locations in Toronto this fall. The company plans to open one store in the Toronto Eaton Centre and another in a location yet to be announced.

A somewhat higher-end brand than Loft, Ann Taylor caters to successful and “relatively affluent” career women with everyday fashions, accessories and a collection dresses for weddings and special events.

Loft and Ann Taylor are the latest in a long list of American retailers that have broken into the Canadian marketplace in recent years. And with Target making its grand entrance into this country’s retail scene next year, this trend shows no signs of slowing down.

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