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Nov 8, 2007, 1:01 AM
actually to most Indians here, little India is now little Pakistan...

Nov 9, 2007, 4:46 AM
the "urban" Can Tire in Vancouver has a grass parking lot - its kinda annoying in wet weather and was dreadful in the snow

Nov 14, 2007, 5:35 AM
Music World to close stores

Music World Ltd., the last domestically owned national music chain, has been put into bankruptcy protection by new owners who expect to wind down the money-losing business - another victim of a rapidly changing music listening and buying landscape.

With 72 stores and a presence in almost every province, the retailer joins Sam the Record Man and others that have succumbed to the new world of music downloading, online file-swapping services and digital radio. As well, music merchants have been squeezed by Wal-Mart Canada Corp. and other big-box stores that sell compact discs as loss leaders.

"The music industry has gone through tremendous turmoil in recent years," Toronto businessman Kai Voigt, one of the three new owners, said in an interview. "Purely music retail has a sad epitaph."

The Canadian music sector has been hammered by a worldwide drop in record sales, leaving dozens of people out of jobs this year at music labels Sony BMG and EMI, while music chain Sam the Record man closed its high-profile flagship in Toronto last summer.

Music World, previously owned by the wealthy and philanthropically generous Pindoff family, should close by early next year, but its new owners will look for buyers for some of its profitable stores and its inventory, court documents state.

The parent company was bought by the new shareholders last Wednesday and, two days later, got creditors' court protection.

By early next year, British-based HMV will likely be the only remaining national music chain in Canada, with 118 stores.

"Unfortunately the nature of the business is, when companies aren't investing and aren't finding ways to evolve their business, the risk is that you start to fall backwards, and I believe that's what happened to them," said Humphrey Kadaner, president of HMV Canada. It will now consider picking up "a few" of Music World's outlets.

HMV is surviving the onslaught of digital downloads by aggressively branching out into non-music products - DVDs and video games - and transforming into an "entertainment" retailer rather than just a music chain, he said. By the end of this year, HMV Canada will generate more than half of its business from non-music sales.

At Music World, the losses were mounting. Last year, it was $9.2-million in the red on sales of $80.6-million; in 2005, it lost $3.2-million on sales of $96.1-million, according to documents filed with Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

The retailer owed its parent, Pindoff Record Sales Ltd., more than $30-million before the parent was acquired by the new owners, according to court filings. The new owners now owe Pindoff, a secured creditor, more than $20-million. It is the only substantial creditor.

Pindoff also owns a CD and DVD wholesaling division, as well as 60 per cent of a music distribution business in Quebec (neither is included in the court filing). Both "are strong companies which we intend to grow significantly going forward," Lawrence Pollack, another of the new owners, said in an email.

The new owners essentially financed the acquisition with $12-million of an advance from the liquidators that they hired to sell the merchandise, the filings indicate. The retailer will lay off its 648 employees, but keep most of them until Jan. 31, the filings state. It wants to start its liquidation sales immediately to cash in on the busy holiday shopping season.

Mr. Voigt said in the interview that he is now thinking of buying some of the Music World stores in the court-shielded bankruptcy process.

He said he is talking to other smaller retailers about combining their efforts in a new model that would entail expanding into non-music categories.

"We're not ruling out retail, but retail as it exists has to be reinvented," he said. "I'm not anti-retail. I'm anti-losing-money.

Music World was founded more than 35 years ago by Eva and Kroum Pindoff after the couple carted records in their station wagon to convenience stores and pharmacies in Ontario, selling them on consignment.

Contracts with larger retailers followed, and they opened a warehouse in 1962 before launching the first store in Toronto eight years later. At its peak in the late 1980s, it ran more than 100 stores.

Known for their largesse, the Pindoffs donated $5-million to the tsunami relief effort in 2005 and, a year earlier, $20-million to War Child Canada, which helps children living in battle zones.

When reached by phone, Ms. Pindoff had no comment.

The music stops

Sam the Record Man

Sam Sniderman first began selling records out of his brother's radio shop in 1937. He opened the flagship store on Yonge Street in Toronto in 1961, and transformed it into a successful chain of 130 stores across Canada. But by 2001, it was down to 30 stores and filed for bankruptcy. Last summer, it closed the Yonge Street store but the decision did not affect two franchise stores, in Belleville, Ont. and Sarnia, Ont.

Music World

Started in 1970 by Eva and Kroum Pindoff after the couple sold records from their station wagon to convenience stores and pharmacies in Ontario, it expanded to supply larger retailers and opened a warehouse in 1962. At its peak in the late 1980s it had more than 100 stores, but today that is down to 72. On Friday, the chain was granted court protection from creditors.

A&A Records

A&A Records was a Canadian record store chain, which declared bankruptcy in 1991. Many A&A stores were absorbed into the Music World or Sunrise Records chains.


Nov 15, 2007, 4:46 AM
Aritzia tries U.S. on for size

Clothier for the young and well-heeled looks to expand south of the border

VANCOUVER -- Beside the floor-to-ceiling mirrors and textured wood accents that decorate the interior of Aritzia's swish Robson Street outlet hang the racks of designer denim.

These are not your dad's jeans, or even your mother's -- unless your mother's thirst for youth is as substantial as her pocketbook. They are tightly-cut pieces of derriere decoration, some stitched in silver and gold, created specifically for the store's target 15 to 25-year-old woman who is, in the industry parlance, "fashion forward."

A quick jaunt through the store suggests a more proper description might be "obsessed." One pair of jeans sells for $297. Another for $295. Another for $280.

Brian Hill, president of Aritzia clothing stores, is counting on his clothes, customer service and store location to sell the brand.
Photograph by : Photo: Rob Newell / National Post

None of which has proven terribly off-putting to Canadian women, who have made Aritzia's wares the coveted finery of the high school and university set; its cheeky TNA line serving as a de facto teen uniform in some halls.

But can Brian Hill, the store's founder and president, charm American women as skillfully -- and as lucratively?

Beginning with a single Vancouver location built more than two decades ago, Aritzia has seen a recent explosion in growth, nearly doubling its Canadian locations in the past two years alone. It now has 26 locations and is number one or two in most of the malls it operates in, with sales often exceeding $1,000 per square foot in stores that feature live DJs and unflaggingly helpful staff.

But its growth has run up against one problem: there just aren't that many Canadians willing to lay out $300 for jeans. So, rather than cheapen his product to expand to smaller markets in Canada, Mr. Hill turned his gaze southward, and hopes that most of a planned 20 new stores in the next three years will be based in the U.S.

His first two will open in a few weeks, in Bellevue, Wash. and San Jose, Calif.

It is a potentially difficult step for a company that has, to this point, moved cautiously and never closed a single location. But it is, said Mr. Hill, a calculated bet -- and one that retail analysts and Canadian mall owners say he has a good chance of winning.

That is not to say it is without risk. There is the U.S. customer, a person who, said Ron Wratschko, the senior vice-president for western Canada with Cadillac Fairview and a major Aritzia landlord, "looks like us, talks like us, eats the same foods as us -- but is not us." Will Aritzia's product mix and price point appeal in the U.S.?

Then there's climate.

"We sell coats and outerwear," said Mr. Hill. "And then we open up in Los Angeles where it's 80 degrees in the winter. What are we going to do with all our sweaters?"

Lastly, there are operational concerns. Can Aritzia replicate its own sales culture in the U.S.?

Oddly enough, the one thing that doesn't worry Mr. Hill is competition, even though aggressive U.S. retailers have mowed under more than one Canadian market entrant in the past.

But recent years have brought so many U.S. names to Canada --including Mexx, Bebe and Guess -- that a mall here now looks little different from a mall there, Mr. Hill said.

"There is nobody in the U.S. right now that we feel we compete with that we're not already competing with in Canada," he said.

He is confident enough that, like in Canada, his U.S. advertising budget is zero. He is instead counting on his clothes, customer service and store location to sell the brand.

And at least one U.S. retail analyst said Aritzia has a product that could resonate there. Dick Outcalt, a partner in Seattle-based Outcalt & Johnson: Retail Strategists, had never heard of Aritzia, but was intrigued by its meticulous attention to the "theatre of retail" and the sustainability focus it presents on its Web site.

"From the Generation Y standpoint I don't think they care whether this company is from Canada or Colombia. If [Aritzia] believes in what they believe in, they're going to give them a try," Mr. Outcalt said.

"The next part of that question is, will [Artizia] be successful? Well, they're certainly not going to be successful if people don't give them a try."


Nov 21, 2007, 8:28 PM
The first Marimekko concept store in Canada opened in Vancouver, 14 November 2007. With around 2.1 million inhabitants, metropolitan Vancouver is the biggest metropolitan area in Western Canada.

The 180 m2 store is located in trendy Yaletown, a downtown spot known for its hip clothing, shoe and interior decoration shops.

North America is one of Marimekko’s most important export markets, with very strong growth registered in the last couple of years.

This year, Marimekko concept stores have also been opened in Yokohama and Nagoya, Japan; Silver Spring in metropolitan Washington DC, the United States; Graz, Austria; and Aalborg, Denmark.

Run by independent retailers, Marimekko concept stores are shops that sell exclusively Marimekko products and carry a comprehensive selection of merchandise from all the different Marimekko lines: clothing, interior decoration and bags.

Developing and anchoring the concept store idea based on Marimekko’s lifestyle thinking represents an important part in Marimekko’s internationalisation strategy.


Jackie O would be proud


Special to The Globe and Mail

November 17, 2007

Walking into the new Marimekko store in Yaletown on a grey November day provides not only a stylish experience, but also a boost of intense colour therapy.

The Finnish line of fabrics, fashion and bed, bath and housewares is well known for its bold, dynamic prints - such as the famous Unikko floral pattern worn by the likes of Jackie Kennedy. But it's the colours that impress the most - bursts of red, orange, sumptuous greens and luscious blues. In a light-starved Vancouver winter, a trip to the converted Hamilton Street warehouse store is the aesthetic equivalent of an hour under an SAD lamp.

Owners Anne and Steve Miller say that in postwar Helsinki, when Marimekko was founded, "the Finns needed cheering up and colour was the way to do that."

And with the design trends of minimalism and subdued palettes giving way to more colourful leanings, the new Marimekko store couldn't have arrived at a better time.

The Millers - together with their daughters Sarah and Sophie - collaborated with Marimekko representatives from Helsinki to create a gallery-like space to showcase a wide range of products. The Marimekko guidelines are that store walls be painted a "blue-white" to accentuate the colours of the fabrics, but beyond that, individual boutique owners have creative freedom.

The couple say they were honoured to be selected to open the first Marimekko concept store in Canada. While Marimekko products are available at various retail outlets, there are only three other concept stores in North America - in Washington, Miami and Cambridge, Mass. - which all opened last spring.

Marimekko has weathered some storms. After its sixties heyday (Jackie Kennedy was only one of many celebrities that sported Marimekko designs and anyone over 35 is likely to have childhood flashbacks after a tour of the store) and seventies success, the company lost its way in the eighties. But a new chief executive officer resurrected the venerable Marimekko in the early nineties, taking it public again and injecting it with a potent design strategy that bridged generation gaps.

Kristina Isola, daughter of Maija Isola, the designer who invented the Unikko floral print and other Marimekko classics, received the torch. Kristina's reinterpretation of her mother's original vision paid homage to the past, while contemporizing the style.

New designers - including Finns and Japanese (Marimekko, as they say, is "big in Japan") drew from a rich design bank to revitalize and reinvent the classics.

While everyone's mom surely has an old Unikko print frock languishing in a closet, new patterns and prints include Aarre, inspired by the inside of a jewellery box, and Mokki, an homage to the cottage (like us, the Finns like to make the most of their summers).

Some of the most compelling items of the fall/winter fashion collection include a rainbow-coloured raindrop print on black cotton, and a revamped Harlekiini-patterned dress in vivid pinks and browns. Colour classics include a gorgeous red wool coat and a bronze-coloured thermal jacket.

If it's too cold to go outside, you could spend the winter wrapped in the rose-on-black-velvet Festivo-patterned duvet, or one of the colourful plush terry bathrobes with matching towels and shower curtains.

And if you're really inspired, you can buy yards of fabric imprinted with Marimekko designs and do something truly retro - make your own clothes, curtains, bedspreads or tablecloths.

While there is a nostalgia factor at play here for the golden age of fabric design, there is a whole new market for Marimekko.

"It's always refreshing" says Steve Miller, "when people in their twenties walk in and say, 'Wow, what a fabulous design.' "

Marimekko Concept Store

1233 Hamilton St., Vancouver



Nov 21, 2007, 11:13 PM
i like this thing


Nov 25, 2007, 3:57 AM
From: http://www.canada.com:80/ottawacitizen/news/business/story.html?id=207ad6b3-c4f2-4860-8b66-67439a8461b3
Canada's national Tiger
Ottawa's low-key retailer has quietly opened 182 outlets from sea to sea

Kristin Goff
The Ottawa Citizen

Saturday, November 17, 2007

It seems typical of Ottawa-based Giant Tiger Stores Ltd. that it has no grand plans to promote its new status in the Canadian retail market.

The low-profile company intends to send out a press release marking the fact that it is now a coast-to-coast Canadian retailer. The opening of a Truro, N.S., store on Nov. 3 and one in Cranbrook, B.C. last month filled the last links in its cross-country chain of 182 stores.

It is also, as it turns out, the largest Canadian-owned national discount retailer in Canada, now that Zellers and its parent, The Bay, were taken over by U.S. businessman Jerry Zucker.

Giant Tiger is, not surprisingly, proud to be Canadian and flies banners in stores to back up that point. But it is not likely to run a national marketing campaign to promote its latest milestones.

"The strength of Giant Tiger is at the local level," says Jeffrey York, the 44-year-old president. He makes clear that the company doesn't intend to distract customers or its franchisees by focusing on the national company.

"The strength is our people at the local level."

Its strategy of opening stores in small communities or as a "neighbourhood store" in larger cities offering a wide variety of goods at bargain prices, and letting local managers adjust the merchandise to suit their local areas, has helped the company survive a challenging retail environment in recent decades.

Rising competition and changing trends have killed department stores chains like Simpsons and Eaton's as well as discount chains like K-Mart and Woolco. The latter was bought out by Wal-Mart when it came to Canada in 1994.

Len Kubas, a Toronto retail consultant, says Giant Tiger has managed to do well in this environment because it is focused on a retail segment that is not going head-to-head with Wal-Mart.

Giant Tiger is "an impressive operator" that has managed to position itself as a "variety and convenience" store, where people can pick up everything from bargain-priced fashions to food products without driving to the suburbs, he said.

"It is highly focused in terms of what it does" said Mr. Kubas. "It doesn't offer high fashion. It is sort of more than a dollar store but not a department store."

Giant Tiger's people say they've not only survived but thrived in the post-Wal-Mart retailing era.

"Wal-Mart has been no problem at all, obviously since we've grown so much," said Gordon Reid, 74, who founded Giant Tiger in 1961 and now serves as chairman.

Mr. Reid opened the first store on George Street in the ByWard Market with plans to develop a discount chain in Canada after he gained insight into the trend by working with retailers in the United States.

Privately owned Giant Tiger had around $220 million in annual sales and 63 stores by 1994 when Wal-Mart entered the Canadian retail market. Since then, it has nearly tripled its stores and increased sales to $1.3 billion this year.

Part of the growth was due to a deal in 2000 with the North West Co., allowing the Winnipeg company exclusive rights to open franchised Giant Tiger stores in Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. So far, North West has 25 stores.

But a lot of the growth has been organic. Years before Wal-Mart moved to Canada, Giant Tiger spent time studying Wal-Mart's strengths and weaknesses in the U.S., said Mr. York.

They came up with a five-year strategy to emphasize more fashionwear, lower prices and increase their ability to "be nimble" or react quickly to changes, in preparation for the changes that it expected Wal-Mart would bring.

The company lets managers decide what to stock in individual stores, picking from a menu of Giant Tiger goods. Items are delivered by courier daily. The company, which has a team of globe-trotting fashion buyers, has also become efficient at delivering bargain-priced versions of the next trend quickly, sometimes within a few weeks.

Ironically, the competitive pressures that contributed to the disappearance of K-Mart, Woolco and others turned out to be a boon to Giant Tiger.

Since the late 1960s, Giant Tiger has worked on a franchise model that involves recruiting experienced retail managers, setting them up in a corporate store and then financing them to turn the store into a franchise operation that the manager would own.

It was a policy that attracted lots of highly experienced managers as the retail industry went through it sharp adjustment. At one point there were 17 ex-K-Mart managers running Giant Tiger stores, along with "a flood from Zellers and Wal-Mart," according to Mr. Reid.

Mr. Reid set out in 1961 to deliberately build a national discount retail chain. It was clear to him that the retail operations needed to grow to be able to order in quantities that would make the system work.

But the franchise idea just came along as a stroke of luck.

In the early days, "we were opening stores but we weren't making any money because the people who were managing them were just the people who were available," Mr. Reid said. Things changed when one manager, Jean-Guy Desjardins, wanted to start his own store in Maniwaki, and Mr. Reid formed a partnership with him.

It was an 'ah-ha' moment.

"Gee, the store made money and I didn't have to do anything. He did the advertising, he found the location, he merchandised it to suit his customers, he did everything," Mr. Reid recalls. "And, I thought, 'by golly, that's a good system.'

"From that point on all our stores were franchised."

Nov 25, 2007, 3:59 AM
From: http://www.reportonbusiness.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20071116.wdecision1117/BNStory/robExecutive/home
Mark Pacinda: How do you say ‘Boston Pizza' in French?
Globe and Mail Update
November 16, 2007 at 6:19 PM EST
When Boston Pizza International Inc. decided it wanted to crack the Quebec market four years ago, the B.C.-based chain's executive team was warned by industry veterans that they shouldn't even bother.

Outsiders have had a notoriously tough time winning over Quebec consumers, and the eatery business is particularly difficult, given the sometimes puzzling culinary preferences of the francophone majority, they were told.

No doubt about it, La Belle Province presents its own challenges as an island of predominantly French language and culture in North America.


Companies keen on making a foray into Quebec with their product or service need to be alert to the differences and respect the predominance of the French language.

To cite one recent case of what can happen when you fail to heed Québécois sensibilities: Coffee chain Second Cup sparked public protests and complaints last month when it dropped from some of its signs the two French words – “Les cafés” – that appeared before its English name.


Boston Pizza president Mark Pacinda decided his company was ready to expand into Quebec, but not before it built a credible base in the province.

The results so far indicate that the bet on Quebec is a winner. After just 21/2 years, Boston Pizza will have 24 restaurants in the province by the end of the year and is on track to have 50 by 2010.

The chain boasts more than 280 Canadian locations and sales last year of $647-million.

“We really took our time going in,” Mr. Pacinda says. “The first thing is that we wanted a Quebec team on the ground.”

A separate regional head office for Quebec was opened in the Montreal suburb of Laval 18 months before the first outlet was opened, in 2004.

Quebec City native Wayne Shanahan was hired to spearhead the Quebec strategy.


Once the button on a Quebec launch was pressed, no detail was overlooked. For example, research was conducted into whether a French version of the brand name was warranted. “There's obviously no translation for Boston or for Pizza and we decided the name as it is would work,” Mr. Pacinda said.

A key discovery was that Quebeckers want to have the option of a multicourse lunch, not just the more packaged “combo plate” offering.

“They want a ‘table d'hôte,' in other words an entrée, a salad and desert,” he said.

Also, because wine has more of presence in the province than in the rest of the country, Boston Pizza's wine list in Quebec was expanded from the standard eight choices to 25 labels, Mr. Shanahan says.

The fine-tuning was even extended to the pizza pie: In Quebec, the cheese goes on as a final layer, not underneath the toppings. The Boston Pizza version was dubbed “La Québécoise Boston.”

And two Quebec standards – poutine and sugar pie – were included on the menu.


Making sure that all business is conducted in French was also important, Mr. Shanahan said.

Many companies that move into Quebec, and even some local anglophone firms, don't bother to ensure that legal and business paperwork, and even day-to-day communications, are in French, he said.

“What you want to do is essentially be a francophone company.”

In another first for Boston Pizza, a local advertising agency was hired.

A separate ad campaign was created, including billboards that displayed a Quebec vanity licence plate with the words “Boston, QC” on it.


Boston Pizza's carefully plotted wooing of the Quebec market is a strategy increasingly practised by retailers eager to make inroads in the province or consolidate their position.

Wal-Mart Canada Corp., for example, went on the offensive in the wake of the outcry over its decision two years ago to shut its Jonquière store after it became the first outlet in North America to be unionized. Wal-Mart insisted the closing was because the store wasn't meeting its financial targets.

The retail behemoth nonetheless was portrayed as a cold corporate outsider that cared not a whit about Quebec society.

A “Buy Quebec” campaign was launched last year, aimed at sourcing more homegrown products and groceries while playing to the province's regional tastes and local pride.

Outfits like Boston Pizza and Wal-Mart will obviously never be known as true Québécois companies.

But as Normand Turgeon, a marketing professor at the business school HEC-Montréal, wryly notes: “If you're going to be a bottle blond, you're better off choosing the right shade.”

Nov 25, 2007, 4:00 AM
From: http://www.thestar.com/article/277276
Going to the wall for the Asian mega-mall

Condo malls – common in Asia, but not in North America – have appealed to new immigrants who want to set up their own business.

The phenomenon is largely responsible for the explosion of Asian malls in the GTA.

Before 1989, all shopping centres were typically owned by developers who leased out their units, according to a Ryerson University study.

In a condominium mall development, units are purchased by individual investors. The owners form a corporation, collectively owning the building and shared spaces. The developer collects a management fee. The first condo mall was the Chinatown Centre in Toronto's downtown Chinatown, built in 1989.

A multitude have been built since then, the most prominent being Markham's Pacific Mall.

A decade ago, Carole Bell, then deputy mayor of Markham, was roundly criticized for saying Asian malls and signs were driving away non-Asians. Today, more than one in three Markham residents identify themselves as ethnic Chinese, and the issue is more likely to be about traffic than anything else.

Tony Wong

Scarborough/Markham border is ground zero as developers battle for share of market
Nov 17, 2007 04:30 AM
On the site of a former Canadian Tire store in Toronto's east-side Scarborough neighbourhood, Sheldon Esbin is showing off his gleaming new mall.

"This used to be the garage bay," says Esbin, pointing to a restaurant that serves upscale Shanghai cuisine. No oil changes here, but crispy shredded ginger eel will set you back $13.99. Over in what would presumably be sporting goods is a cosmetics boutique. A pint-sized jar of face cream sells for $568.

"You could go on vacation for that," laughs Esbin, CEO of Splendid China Tower, an Asian-themed mall that opened earlier this year.

While most people won't be beating a path to Scarborough to buy pricey face cream, Esbin hopes they'll at least sample some of his other stores once they get over the sticker shock.

At the border between Scarborough and Markham, the neighbourhood surrounding his site has one of the largest residential concentrations of ethnic Chinese in Canada. The area has become ground zero in a battle of developers for the growing Asian market.

Not since the 1970s and 1980s, when Chinese migration moved north to Scarborough, then upward to Markham and Richmond Hill, has there been such a massive amount of planned development in the GTA.

Covering 96,000 square feet at Kennedy Rd. and Steeles Ave., Splendid China is directly across the street from the 270,000-sq.-ft., glass-wrapped Pacific Mall and the separately owned 300,000-sq.-ft. Market Village Mall – which bill themselves as the largest indoor Asian mall complex in North America – on the Markham side.

But that title won't last long. A five-minute drive east at Middlefield and Steeles, another 435,000-sq.-ft. mall is under construction. That mall, its developer says, will claim the title.

But the other malls don't plan to sit idly by. They each have plans to expand; Splendid China by as much as 200,000 square feet and Market Village and Pacific Mall by up to a combined 300,000 square feet.

When the dust is settled, about one million square feet of Chinese retail mall space is in development or being planned for the area – equivalent to a new office skyscraper in downtown Toronto.

"This is the most extensive development we've had in some time. What you are seeing is the birth of a major new shopping district," says Shuguang Wang, chair of the department of geography at Ryerson University, who has written studies on Chinese commercial activity.

A major reason for all the activity is that ethnic Chinese have been the fastest growing immigrant group in Canada over the last two decades, says Wang, and the majority settle in the GTA. Chinese is the third- most-spoken language in Canada, after French and English.

"The malls are appealing to the new waves of immigration that are looking for services," says Wang. While the GTA already has five Chinese districts – in Markham, Mississauga and Scarborough, and two in Toronto – the border between Markham and Scarborough is the new frontier. And right now, it's high noon.

At Scarborough Community Council last month, lawyers for the Markham malls argued expansion at Splendid China could have a severe impact on already clogged roads.

In a battle that promises to become more heated, Splendid China lawyers claimed the Markham malls simply want to delay the application of a competitor.

A decision on the Splendid China application is expected to come before the Ontario Municipal Board in December.

One person who isn't happy about all the new building is Sam Cohen, the developer who created the Pacific Mall more than a decade ago and turned it into Toronto's most successful Asian mall development.

"It's a free country. Anyone can build. But the problem is, if you put a new mall in, you could have a problem with over-saturation. Especially when you have all these malls so close together selling the same items, it becomes like a zoo," says Cohen. "Just because one mall does well, now you have everybody coming at once."

Cohen is worried about traffic spilling over from Splendid China across the street, creating congestion for clients at his mall and impacting his own expansion plans, which may include a hotel on site.

A mechanical engineer by training, the 63-year old developer formed Torgan Group with a partner more than 20 years ago and started building strip plazas and medical buildings throughout the GTA. Cohen says he built Pacific Mall because he "thought it would work well. I imagined a town with streets and avenues and a lot of daylight. So I put in a lot of windows."

Behind Cohen's glass-enclosed Pacific Mall sits the rustic Market Village, with retail shops that would fit into an Anne of Green Gables theme park. Most people think the malls are part of the same development since they share parking space, but they have different owners.

Market Village is the most poignant symbol of the change in Markham's demographic. Built as a general mall, with touches of Victoriana, almost two decades ago, it played up the rural roots of Markham – a place to have tea and crumpets, not dim sum.

More than 10 years ago, sensing change in the area, lawyer and developer Rudy Bratty decided to change it to Asian development. The success of Market Village led to other Asian building in the area, which led to controversial comments by then-deputy mayor Carole Bell that there were too many Asian theme malls in Markham and that "everything's going Chinese." One wonders what she'd say now.

Certainly, with mainland China the No. 1 source of immigration to Canada, and many newcomers settling in the Markham area, the prevailing sentiment is to build – and the bigger the better.

Market Village's expansion has already been zoned and approved by Markham, says the mall's lawyer, Barry Horosko. The expansion, combined with plans by Pacific Mall, would bring another 300,000 square feet of space to the market.

Horosko says his client isn't opposed to the expansion of Splendid China, but wants to make sure the City of Toronto "does a proper job in making sure the necessary road improvements are in place."

Splendid China's Esbin, a lawyer turned investment banker and developer, says he's spending millions on road improvements.

But right now, the malls are competing for consumers. Esbin says they can co-exist, and possibly bring new customers to the area.

"It's about mall wars. We're all trying to get market share, but it's a big market," he said.

The war may exact a toll. Apart from the traffic, the area is also in danger of being overbuilt, with too many retail stores targeting a narrow community, warns Wang.

But all the new development could produce a destination shopping point and potential tourist draw, especially if Canada receives Approved Destination Status with China, which would mean more tourists from the mainland, she says.

"I don't think we will see this kind of intense activity again for a long time," Wang says.

Meanwhile, as the Markham and Scarborough malls fight over future market share, Terry Yiu is busy constructing his 21st-century vision of what an Asian mall should look like.

A five-minute drive east along Steeles Ave. from Splendid China, Yiu broke ground this summer on what must surely be the death star of Asian shopping malls, on a massive 8.5-hectare site in Scarborough.

The 435,000-sq.-ft. first phase will already make it the largest such mall in the Greater Toronto Area.

"We are building a regional mall, not a neighbourhood mall. This will be a destination point for consumers," says the 41-year-old developer, who has another 8.1 hectares to work with for phase two.

Yiu's aiming high, starting with his mall's name.

The Landmark is a legendary mall in Hong Kong's central financial district, housing Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and China's only Harvey Nichols department store.

The Scarborough Landmark won't have quite the same cachet, but Yiu wants to eschew what he calls the "junky" flea market aesthetic of some Asian malls.

His mall, with the look of a space-aged aircraft hanger, will give a nod to its Canadian farming roots. Two heritage homes, the Underwood House and the William Stone house, will be preserved and placed inside the mall, possibly for use as coffee houses or restaurants.

"People shop in Canada for needs. But people shop in Hong Kong for wants. Shopping is like a religion in Hong Kong," says Yiu, who grew up in Hong Kong before moving to Canada to study chemistry at the University of Guelph. "This design is the culmination of shopping for three years in malls around Asia."

The first phase will offer shopping and entertainment zones, and Yiu's open to ideas for the second phase. "The sky's the limit," he says.

"It's a chance to build something special."

Dec 6, 2007, 1:20 AM
Lululemon is on its way to Halifax

It’s not just a rumour anymore; lululemon is making its way to Halifax.

Sara Gardiner, spokeswoman for the yoga-inspired clothing chain, said she’s thrilled the popular garment company is setting up shop in Halifax because she gets random calls from people in Nova Scotia asking for the store.

She said there have been rumours for a couple of years about the possibility of a franchise in Halifax, but it just hasn’t happened yet.

“I can finally today say, we have signed a lease, so it’s going to be coming in mid-May,” she said Wednesday.

Gardiner said Halifax has been on the company’s radar for several years but they make it a priority to find the right time and right location for an opening.

“We wanted to make the perfect entrance and this is great,” she said.

Bernie Smith, spokesman for the Spring Garden Road Business Association, said he heard the shop would be joining the Mills Brothers empire.

“My understanding is that the Mills people are building an extension piece on to the building to accomodate it,” he told The Daily News.

The company’s first store opened in the Kitsilano beach area of Vancouver, B.C. in 2000 and since then franchises have popped up across the country and around the world.

The Spring Garden Road location will be the first lululemon shop to open in Atlantic Canada.

Gardiner said the Halifax location has been a long time coming.

“We have had Halifax on our radar for quite a while,” she said.


Dec 8, 2007, 8:23 PM
Lowe's enters crowded market
VP says quick customer service will set U.S.-based chain apart from competitors

December 08, 2007
Lisa Grace Marr
The Hamilton Spectator

Lowe's success in Canada may rest in the little red buttons in every one of its aisles.

It all comes down to differentiation -- what makes Lowe's stand out.

Alan Huggins, vice-president of operations said at Lowe's, it's about staff.

Its Hamilton job fair attracted 2,000 people and that helped the Hamilton's store objectives of getting the right staff in the right positions, he said.

"We were able to pick the best of the best. The friendliness and actions of our customer service staff is second to none. That's the main thing."

So if there's no one around to help pick up a heavy vanity or get a blind cut to a custom width, just touch the button and a call for help comes over the store's speaker.

Quick response to customers may be the edge Lowe's needs in a market with a lot of tough players.

John Torella, senior analyst with retail consultant firm J.C. Williams Group, said it's possible Lowe's innovative merchandising aimed at female customers may not be enough.

"How are they going to be special, relevant and say, 'We have something different' ... that's what we're really anxious to see," he said . "Every strategy eventually fails. I think everyone is recognizing the impact of the female customer on this category. Based on the advertising I've seen, I don't see any attempt to differentiate. To me, it's pretty status quo. I was expecting a lot more.

"The jury is out as to whether or not the market can really sustain high-profile brands we have in this category."

Torella said Lowe's faces the additional challenge of trying to emerge in a competitive market in a foreign country with its complex mix of new immigrants and different preferences.

In Canada, the dominating brands in the $40-billion industry are Home Depot and Rona Inc., both with about 15 per cent of the market share, according to estimates by Michael McLarney, editor of Hardlines, a home improvement industry trade publication.

Canadian Tire (home improvement/hardware only) and Home Hardware stores fall into third and fourth with about 12 and 11 per cent of the market. (However, Lowe's U.S. is already eight times larger than Rona.)

Torella said part of Rona's advantage lies in its vast array of formats that can be tailored to various markets.

Home Depot Canada's strength is in its sheer size and impressive buying power as the second-largest U.S. retailer with a heavyweight Annette Verschuren as its Canadian president.

McLarney said, "The concern here was Home Depot in Canada has always been a lot more female friendly than in the U.S. and so is RONA ... could Lowe's meet that challenge?

"Once you see the stores, I think you'll see they can do that ... very stylish merchandise mix. What we were concerned about is will they take into account the distinct Canadian taste, the cultural differences, but it looks like they're getting off on the right foot."

In addition, Huggins said there has been attention paid to Lowe's Canada's product mix. For example, Canadian tastes run to more contemporary designs, cedar decking and there is a demand for higher-end appliances, such as Bosch and an extensive list of standard-sized assembled and unassembled cabinetry.

Certainly the competition in the market hasn't slowed growth.

Huggins said Lowe's estimates there is room in the market for about 100 more stores -- they've already approved 20 more sites across the country.

"We think the customer will decide where to shop, whether or not the market is saturated," he said. "

In fact, in 78 per cent of Lowe's U.S. markets, there is a major competitor within a 16-kilometre radius.

There's no sign the competition is sitting back as Lowe's walks in.

Rona is on a tear, with its announcement of intentions to open about 50 new stores, primarily in Ontario and Quebec. That includes a 100,000-square-foot "female-friendly" store in Waterdown, which opened this fall.

The focus on female-friendly merchandising means more decor items, more visual displays and more selection.

Rona also purchased Dick's Lumber, a Western Canadian chain in September and announced Thursday a new ad agency for a new marketing campaign.

Home Depot has a very aggressive international growth strategy, with plans to expand its new Asian division.

McLarney argues there is room in the market for larger format stores.

"The population in Canada is growing especially in the urban areas where these big boxes are located: Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. With help from immigration, the consumer base keeps growing enough that it will be enough to accommodate," he said.

He said though that big-box stores in Canada have definitely maxed out at around 22 per cent about five years ago.

"At the same time the big box is turning into something different ... they're turning into the new department store. It's just who's going to capitalize and reinvent the most imaginatively, that's the question."

There are numerous merchandising innovations at Lowe's, all aimed at helping customers see their dream before it's a reality.

While it has stacks of two-by-fours, plumbing pipe and a suite of tool bays like other improvement stores, it also offers 82 ceiling fans, 69 refrigerators, 64 dishwashers, nine blenders, plants, kitchen cabinets, curtains, rugs, stickers for the walls, and the list goes on.

"We debated a new title for our store: If you can't find it here you don't need it," joked Huggins. "If you're coming in here dreaming of a project, our customers say this is the place."

Dec 9, 2007, 12:17 AM
the Lowes I have been to have been quite nice - more like home depot than Rona - some nice brands for paint (like Laura Ashley) - hopefully they carry them here

Dec 9, 2007, 12:39 AM
the Lowes I have been to have been quite nice - more like home depot than Rona - some nice brands for paint (like Laura Ashley) - hopefully they carry them here
I hope Lowe's buys out Rona. Either that or Rona comes down to the USA and makes for a strong 3rd competitor to Lowe's and Home Depot here.

I will tell you, it's gonna be a bloody business battle between Lowe's and Rona.

Dec 9, 2007, 12:47 AM
they can probably beat Rona on service - Rona has horrible service from my experience - its next to impossible to find anyone for help and the cashiers are pretty aloof

Dec 9, 2007, 12:49 AM
I've seen the new Lowe's here in Hamilton and it's HUGE! Monster size box, probably doubled the typical Home Depot format. They must carry everything. Doesn't open until Monday. You can also see the Garden section (greenhouses) which again is HUGE!

Dec 9, 2007, 12:57 AM
Here's an aerial view of the Lowe's store in Hamilton.....


The green is the new Lowe's and the blue is Home Depot, you can see how huge the Lowe's store is.

In Hamilton there's no Reno, just in the suburbs, so that's probably one reason why Lowe's choose to open it's first store in Hamilton.

Dec 16, 2007, 5:55 AM
the Lowes are really nice - can't wait till they head west!

Lowe's Expands Internationally, Opens First Canadian Stores

Home improvement retailer opens locations in South Brampton, Brantford, Hamilton

TORONTO, Dec. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Lowe's Companies Canada, ULC (Lowe's), a subsidiary of Lowe's Companies, Inc. , today opened its first three Canadian stores in the Greater Toronto Area, marking the home improvement retailer's first international expansion. At 7 a.m., stores opened in South Brampton, Brantford and Hamilton. Three additional stores are slated to open February 1, and a seventh is planned to open shortly thereafter. Lowe's has more than 15 additional Canadian sites in the pipeline in various stages of development.

"Today is about delivering on the promise we've made to Canadian customers since we announced our decision to bring Lowe's passion for customer service to Canada," said Don T. Stallings, president, Lowe's Canada. "Lowe's is ready to meet the unique home improvement needs of Canadians with our everyday low prices, products and services. Every customer presents a new opportunity to deliver on that promise."

Stores in East Gwillimbury, North Brampton and Toronto are slated to open February 1, followed by one in Maple. Lowe's announced in 2005 its intentions to open its first stores in the Greater Toronto Area, with as many as 100 stores in Canada over time. Each new store creates up to 175 local jobs and represents an average investment of more than $18.7 million CDN(1) ($18.5 million USD).

The company opened its Canadian headquarters in Toronto in 2006 and now has more than 700 Canadian employees in the office and its stores. Lowe's continues to hire employees for its upcoming stores and offers comprehensive benefits for regular full-time and part-time positions. For more information, visit www.lowes.ca/careers.

Lowe's investment in local communities goes beyond its retail locations. The Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation recently announced a $500,000 contribution to the YMCA of Greater Toronto for Camp Pine Crest as well as local Toronto-area projects. In addition, employees have already volunteered on home renovation projects with the Home Ownership Affordability Partnership (HOAP) in Hamilton and participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for the "Lowe's Loop" fitness trail in Brantford's Fordview Park. Work on the trail will begin in the spring.

"Lowe's has a long and proud history of giving something back to the communities we serve," added Stallings. "Our focus is on education, safe and affordable housing and community improvement projects for places that bring people together. It's a commitment we take seriously, and all of us at Lowe's Canada look forward to serving the community and truly becoming a part of it."


Dec 17, 2007, 12:39 PM
From: http://www.chainstoreage.com/story.cfm?ID=82912NFX&RefPage=Homepage
Bed, Bath & Beyond Opens in Canada

Richmond Hill, Ontario - December 7 - Bed Bath & Beyond opened its first store in Canada at the Glen Shopping Center in Richmond Hill, Ontario. The 34,000-sq.-ft. store opened its doors on Friday.
“We are excited to open our first store in Canada and to share our longstanding traditions of exceptional customer service, great value and a broad assortment of merchandise with the GTA [Greater Toronto Area]. Our new location in the town of Richmond Hill, which is experiencing a time of extensive growth, is centrally located off major highways and offers easy access for customers,” said Steven Temares, CEO of Bed Bath & Beyond.

Dec 17, 2007, 12:48 PM
From: http://www.retailingtoday.com/story.aspx?section=FoodConsumables&id=34557
Food co-branding advances in Canada
By Mike Duff

STELLARTON , Nova Scotia (Dec. 11) Co-branding in private label food has emerged as a trend, and a recent example involving Canadian supermarket chain Sobeys suggests why it is an increasingly popular option for retailers who want to address particular issues.

Sobeys has struck a deal with Disney Consumer Products for a co-branded kids’ food and healthy beauty aids line dubbed Compliments Junior Disney that includes nearly 100 new products, the majority of which are formulated to address acute nutritional issues. Of course, Sobeys isn’t the first food retailer to co-brand a private label. It isn’t even the first to do so with Disney. Disney Magic Selections launched at Kroger in 2006, featuring Disney and Disney Pixar characters—as does Sobeys Compliments Junior —on the packaging of a 100-SKU food and health and beauty aid line. Like Sobeys Compliments Junior, Kroger offers a heavy concentration of healthy alternatives. The program was set for expansion this year to baby and toddler products, personal care and floral items.

With children’s health and obesity concerns rife in both the United States and Canada, demand for products with a superior nutritional profile has grown. The approach that both Kroger and Sobeys have followed provides instant recognition, and even a degree of credibility via the Disney name. The Disney co-brands also specifically associate the chains with efforts to boost children’s health in the markets they serve, a nice point of differentiation.

Not all co-branding efforts are focused on children or even health. Costco’s co-branding of its Kirkwood private label with Paul Newman and Martha Stewart plays to the wellness trend to a degree, but also introduces a gourmet element into the own-brand story.

At Sobeys, the Disney name is married to the supermarket operator’s Compliments private label. The co-branded line includes Compliments Junior Disney Mickey Burgers, Compliments Junior Disney Alpha-Taters mashed potato letters and Compliments Junior Disney fruit Pic-Mix dried fruit snack. While not every product might be considered healthy, 75% of Compliments Junior Disney products meet the criteria of the Canadian Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Health Check initiative, providing a designation that’s similar to the heart-check seal awarded by the American Heart Association’s Food Certification Program.

Compliments Junior Disney also addresses the concerns of busy parents by including among the package graphics a Canada’s Food Guide serving information icon that highlights the applicable daily serving of vegetables and fruit, grains, dairy and alternatives, or meat and alternatives. Packaging also offers key positive product attributes through the use of four icons, highlighting the nutritional benefits each product delivers as it impacts the health of teeth, bones, eyes or muscles. All products are formulated for easy preparation to help out adults who need convenience in coping with their busy routines, and are priced at a discount of about 20% to competitive branded products to aid family budgets.

As the 100-SKU size of the launch suggests, the Compliments Junior Disney program was intended to address children’s nutritional issues as comprehensively as was practical. “From the start, we designed Compliments Junior Disney around healthful products,” Scott Cooper, Sobeys vp of consumer marketing and location planning for corporate brands, told Retailing Today, but he added that the retailer, in taking the broad view, kept in mind that food items kids won’t eat can’t be healthy. “They have to taste great and have to have a dimension of fun.”

The fun angle is important as today’s kids are increasingly vocal about products purchased for them. Character tie-ins inform children that the products have their sensibilities in mind. Disney, by virtue of its long history in children’s entertainment, may be regarded as something of an authority on both the sensibilities of children, as well as their uniqueness and sensitivities. “Disney did a great job helping us segment the product portfolio properly to target kids of different ages,” Cooper said.

Which suggests another advantage of co-branding—bringing new kinds of consumer product experience into a retailer’s private label program. In the case of Compliments Junior Disney, that meant helping Sobeys modify the program to the consumer and regulatory requirements of the Canadian market.

Julie Mills, Disney’s senior manager of food, health, beauty and pets for Canada, said food products have become a priority for the company in its role as a licensor. Disney especially wants to identify itself with solution-oriented items for today’s families, so it is working with partners to develop convenient, healthy products that use graphics and flavor to entertain kids as vehicle to improve their health. Disney’s support of its co-brands doesn’t stop there, though. Disney has been working with Sobeys on a big promotional push that will introduce Canada to Compliments Junior Disney throughout the coming months.

“This will be one of largest marketing support programs Sobeys will be doing this year,” Mills noted. “There will be TV, radio, print and Web advertising, as well as a lot in-store. Sobeys will be using wraps around their trucks to advertise. We’ve allowed them to use some of our best creative [and] given them access to our art library so they can best use our characters.”

Thus, Disney has helped Sobeys develop a comprehensive program to address nutritional issues impacting Canadian children in a manner that meets parental needs, but also addresses the preferences of kids, even those kids who are normally wary of anything that might be good for them.

Dec 17, 2007, 2:57 PM
Those damned home improvement centres. Here is an idea: How about having leaflets at the front of the store, complete with a map? It is virtually impossible to find anything at these places, what with the merchandise stacked 100 feet high.

Dec 18, 2007, 5:49 PM
Victoria family buys venerable tea merchant

The Canadian Press

December 18, 2007

Victoria -- Murchie's will remain in B.C. hands.

A Victoria company has bought the tea and coffee vendor, which was founded 113 years ago in New Westminster, but recently fell on hard times and went into receivership.

John Simson, president of Belmont Management Ltd. and Grant Kuebler, managing director of Murchie's, say the company will be owned by a Victoria family.

All of the six Murchie's retail outlets, including five in Metro Vancouver and one in Victoria, will be maintained.

Globe & Mail (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20071218.BCBRIEFS18-3/TPStory/National)

Dec 18, 2007, 9:55 PM
YAY not that i ever went there but yay

Jan 4, 2008, 1:02 PM
I tried finding a national article on this, but wasn't able to. Here are the local links I saw: Calgary - http://calsun.canoe.ca/News/Alberta/2008/01/04/4752223-sun.html , Edmonton - http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/business/story.html?id=20db77fc-5aa8-4420-8ff2-d3d4de5f900e , London - http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/News/Local/2008/01/04/4752327-sun.html , Halifax - http://thechronicleherald.ca/Front/1001539.html , Windsor - http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/story.html?id=e55807c9-4245-4fe2-8b35-ee827dd53c25&k=4873 , Thunder Bay - http://www.tbsource.com/Localnews/index.asp?cid=103408

Wal-Mart's 24-hour shopping goes year-round
Kitchener store one of 25 across Canada to extend holiday hours experiment
January 04, 2008

When Nicole Woodbridge's work day ends at 3 a.m., she'll be able to shop for everything from toys to tools.

Wal-Mart is opening its department store at the Sunrise Shopping Centre 24 hours a day for time-pressured people like Woodbridge, who is a server and bartender at the Duke of Wellington pub in downtown Waterloo.

The west-end Kitchener store is one of 25 Wal-Mart outlets across Canada that will be open around the clock throughout the year, the retail giant said yesterday.

Woodbridge, who works into the early morning hours three times a week, says the convenience of being able to shop in the wee hours appeals to her.

"I do my grocery shopping after work since the Sobeys (on Bridgeport Road in Waterloo) is open 24 hours," she says.

"During the day, I don't have time since I mostly sleep and only have time to do a few things before going to work."

Woodbridge is part of a demographic that Wal-Mart is trying to better serve, says company spokesperson Kevin Groh.

Groh says the retailer has seen an increasingly positive response to the 24-hour concept from shoppers in the last three Christmas shopping seasons.

This past December, Wal-Mart opened 80 of its stores around the clock. In the middle of the month, it decided to open 110 more stores 24 hours a day.

The chain has 292 stores across Canada.

"Our instinct is that, in these 25 markets, there's great demand. We had no idea how popular this would be."

Groh says Wal-Mart will continue to operate on a 24-hour basis in markets such as Kitchener as long as shoppers demand the convenience.

"It's really up to our customers."

Groh says the decision to continue with the 24-hour concept is being driven by "shift workers and families whose lives test the boundaries of the day. There's great value in letting customers know we're there for them when they're ready to shop," he says.

Wal-Mart isn't the only retailer that is experimenting with around-the-clock hours. Over the Christmas shopping season, Zellers opened some of its stores for 24 hours, including three department stores in Waterloo Region.

The Real Canadian Superstore on Highland Road in Kitchener's west end also remained open for 24 hours until Christmas.

Sobeys operates seven grocery stores around the clock in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge.

John Winter, president of retail consulting firm John Winter Associates, says the 24-hour experiment appears to be paying off handsomely for retailers.

"You have to assume this was an enormous success," he said. "This is an absolutely new phenomenon in Canada to have department stores open 24/7."

Winter says Wal-Mart's move will likely force its competitors to consider a similar strategy.

"I would think it will be a temptation for some supermarkets to open 24 hours. It doesn't take all that much more labour to operate 24 hours."

In Wal-Mart's case, its stores already are 24-hour operations because workers restock shelves throughout the night, Groh says. The retailer will add a small complement of employees to serve customers.

Winter says following Wal-Mart's lead will be tricky for some unionized supermarket chains like Loblaws. Wal-Mart's employees are not represented by a union.

Al McLean, secretary and treasurer of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1977, which represents Zehrs and Real Canadian Superstore employees, says the 24-hour concept is problematic for workers with young children. He says he would not be surprised if Wal-Mart's competitors consider following its lead.

"It does unfortunately have a ripple effect," he says.

The Loblaws group of supermarkets has no plans to move to the 24-hour concept in the region, says company spokesperson David Primorac.

When the Highland Road superstore opened around the clock before Christmas, employees could volunteer to work nights for a dollar-an-hour premium, but they were not forced to work the shifts.

"The key thing is it was voluntary," McLean says.

He's not convinced that expanding a store's hours results in more business. Instead, it could simply "spread out the business" over longer hours, he says.

Jan 4, 2008, 6:22 PM
I tried finding a national article on this, but wasn't able to.

."The key thing is it was voluntary," McLean says.

He's not convinced that expanding a store's hours results in more business. Instead, it could simply "spread out the business" over longer hours, he says.

This last quote sums it up IMO. There is only so much money to go round. The Sobey's near my house that is open 24/7 is pretty dead after about 23h00. Once in a blue moon its OK to get milk, but in all honesty we could all get our food in the hours we currently have at most supermarkets.

Jan 6, 2008, 1:52 AM
walmart being open 24 hours here was stupid

I ended up going a few times around 1 am and big chunks of the store were not accessible due to them being roped off for florr waxing or pallets blocked them making them unpassable

hopefully they can figure out how to do that better

Jan 6, 2008, 3:14 AM
Before Xmas, I went to Wal-Mart at 6:00am on a Saturday morning. The number of night stockers and other staff outnumbered customers. No lineups at the shelf-checkout, no screaming kids, and no idiots who think they are still driving their cars when they have their shopping carts in the aisles. No area was roped off that I saw, it was accessible, but the floor cleaner was running and I just avoided it. I enjoyed this "shopping experience," and will do it again now that my Wal-Mart is one of the 4 in Calgary that has gone to 24 hours.

Policy Wonk
Jan 6, 2008, 5:59 AM
I went a few times at 1:00 - 2:00 hoping to find a recently stocked Wii for Chirstmas, but none we to be found.

crooked rain
Jan 6, 2008, 5:15 PM
Those damned home improvement centres. Here is an idea: How about having leaflets at the front of the store, complete with a map? It is virtually impossible to find anything at these places, what with the merchandise stacked 100 feet high.


I find a trip to Home Depot a nerve-wracking experience.

Jan 6, 2008, 5:23 PM

I find a trip to Home Depot a nerve-wracking experience.
Back in the day, Home Depot used to.

I know Lowe's does and they just opened up in Canada.

Jan 16, 2008, 11:45 PM
From: http://seekingalpha.com/article/58366-chipotle-mexican-grill-does-the-growth-justify-the-price
Chipotle Mexican Grill: Does the Growth Justify the Price?
posted on: December 26, 2007

One of the great success stories of 2007 is Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) which is up 157% for the year. The company has revolutionized the idea of fast food and developed a very loyal customer base that drives stability and growth. One of the primary reasons it has been so successful in retaining customers is the commitment to healthy ingredients and respect for the process by which it raises meat, poultry and dairy products. In keeping with the trends that made such successful food and beverage retailers as Ben & Jerry’s and Starbucks (SBUX), The company has nurtured a culture that spans beyond the eating experience to a way of life.

It seems quite odd that such a firm would have been incubated by a behemoth such as McDonalds (MCD). However, while the culture is very dissimilar to that of the Golden Arches, management was able to learn from some of its parent company’s strengths. These strengths manifest themselves through operating efficiency and disciplined growth as Chipotle continues to beat guidance numbers and improve the profitability of the firm. Despite food cost increases including scarcity of avocados this year, operating margins continue to trend higher as evidenced by a 23.0% margin in the Q3 report versus 21.5% in the year ago quarter.

The most recent quarterly earnings release uncovered the typical positive surprises as earnings beat consensus numbers at $0.62, with comparable restaurant sales up 12.4%. The comp store sales increase number has become an increasingly important metric as the installed base of restaurants open for one year now exceeds 500 stores. Looking to new locations, CMG opened an additional 28 new stores with the majority being placed in markets the company already has a presence in. New stores in existing markets should benefit from existing customer knowledge and loyalty and need fewer promotional resources to drive sales. As far as new markets are concerned, the company has targeted Salt Lake City, Birmingham and Philadelphia as the newest additions to cities it serves.

Presently, the company operates all of its restaurants within the US and believes the potential for domestic stores is around 3,000 locations. Since current restaurants only comprise a quarter of that level, there is significant room for growth before the company runs into restrictions. Management expects 130-140 new openings for 2008 and that is on top of expectations towards the high end of 110-120 locations in 2007. While domestic growth is still the primary focus, the company will open its first non US store in Toronto, Canada next year. This will likely give management a chance to test out its ability to manage currency risk and international regulatory issues which could be beneficial if international growth became more of an objective in the future. While no plans have been announced beyond the single Toronto store, this is likely a test for management to gain experience for further growth long-term.

Chipotle’s balance sheet is quite healthy with $167m in cash at the end of the quarter. Typically companies with such strong cash positions would begin to talk about share repurchase plans or dividends to investors. However, CMG cannot use cash in this manner at the present time as that would jeopardize the tax-free status of the company’s spin-off from McDonalds. Instead, the company will use the cash to fund new store openings and continue its aggressive growth strategy. Additional capital can be spent for measures that drive efficiencies such as a new hand-held POS system which allows staff to charge customers while they are standing in line which decreases the wait time and bumps up the number of customers able to be served during peak lunch hours.

Despite the impressive cost saving efforts, and robust growth plans, most analysts do not recommend purchases of the stock. There is an incredible amount of respect for management and the strength of the Chipotle brand, but since the stock is trading at 54 times next year’s consensus numbers, there is little room for any error. If any important metric were to slip or the growth rate was called into question, it is likely that the stock would take a significant hit. One has to look no further than Crocs (CROX) to note how vicious a sell-off can be when a momentum name stumbles.

Despite my recommendation to buy the stock in June and again in August of this year, I am now suggesting that investors take a careful look at their own investment style to consider if this name is right to hold. For those who wish to invest in quality companies with strong management and hold those positions indefinitely, there is nothing wrong with CMG’s long-term prospects. However for those who are opportunistic traders, I would suggest moving capital out of this name as the likelihood of the stock increasing 157% next year is very poor. I would expect the stock to be range-bound for the next several quarters as fundamentals catch up with the stock price and therefore the risk/reward ratio for owning this well oiled machine is not favorable to me at this time.

Rusty van Reddick
Jan 17, 2008, 12:38 AM
Toronto already has Burrito Boyz! Give US Chipotle!

Jan 26, 2008, 7:03 PM

EDMONTON - Alberta's first Apple store opens July 1 in West Edmonton Mall, selling Macintosh computers, iPods and iPhones.

The 6,000-square-foot outlet has projected annual sales of over $30 million, mall president Don Ghermezian said Friday. "They just recently expanded into Canada. They've been a smashing success in Toronto."

A strategy of attracting such "unique new tenants" boosted total revenues of mall retailers by 11 per cent in 2007, he said.

Calvin Klein opened its first Canadian store in the mall on Dec. 4, with 2,200 square feet, selling men's and women's apparel and other products.

DeSerres, a 100-year-old Montreal-based chain of arts and crafts supplies, opened there last fall. Lucky Brand Jeans will open in April. Both will be exclusive in Alberta.

Across the province, seasonally adjusted retail sales rose 7.6 per cent in the 12 months through November, 2007, Statistics Canada has reported.

While this was less than the phenomenal 16-per-cent growth of 2006, "there's still pretty good strength in the Alberta shopper," said Todd Hirsch, senior economist at ATB Financial.

Nationally, retail sales rose 8.3 per cent.

"Some cooling in labour markets could impact retail sales growth in 2008," said economist Marc Pinsonneault at National Bank Financial. But "futher price declines and a positive residential wealth effect for Canadian households" will continue to stimulate spending, he predicted.

Ironically, good times for Alberta retailers are bad for Retail Alberta.

The industry group, founded in 1896 as the Retail Merchants Association, ended its affiliation with the Retail Council of Canada in 2006, aiming to sharpen its focus on independent stores rather than national chains.

But it closed the Edmonton head office in December and now has no local employees.

The organization is merging some operations with Retail British Columbia, based in Vancouver.

Retail Alberta provides member benefits including training programs, insurance and discounts on credit-card fees. It also is an industry voice to the provincial government.

Ironically, with strong sales retailers apparently feel less need to maintain their memberships.

"It's funny, as business is strong, organizations have a tough time," said Michael Ouellette, a member of Retail Alberta's board of directors.


© The Edmonton Journal 2008

Jan 27, 2008, 6:02 PM
I heard a rumour of one opening at yonge and bloor or somewhere on Bloor...

Jan 29, 2008, 5:14 AM
Retail remains strong in Canada, says shopping centre expert

Vancouver Sun

Monday, January 28, 2008

WHISTLER - A U.S. recession won't automatically force a dramatic plunge in Canadian retail sales this year, International Council of Shopping Centers chairman Rene Tremblay said Monday.

"We always have to be concerned about the impact of the U.S. market but things are going so well in Canada now that we should be fine," he said in an interview after a speech to the ICSC Whistler Conference.

Tremblay said Canadian retailers face a more "challenging" environment this year because of the slowing U.S. economy. But he insists several key Canadian economic fundamentals should ensure the industry remains vibrant and growing at a "respectable" pace.

He said interest rates remain near historical lows - which is good news for consumers - and job growth and personal income growth should remain positive in Canada this year.

"Consumers are still there and they're still buying," Tremblay said. "They're very resilient and confident, especially in Western Canada. You're in the right part of the country right now."

He said the Canadian housing market could slow down this year but a "U.S.-style correction" is not likely. Tremblay noted existing home sales in Canada rose by 7.9 per cent last year but fell nearly 13 per cent in the U.S.

He predicts Canadian retail sales will grow by about five per cent this year, compared with 5.7 per cent last year and 6.4 per cent in 2006 - the best performance since 1997.

Tremblay noted the strongest retail categories last year included pharmacies (up 9.1 per cent), furniture (up 8.5 per cent), building and home supplies (up 7.3 per cent) and clothing (up six per cent).

Canadian shopping centre sales increased by 3.3 per cent during the first 10 months last year, with Alberta (up 6.8 per cent) and B.C. (up 6.2 per cent) leading the country.

Tremblay said an aging and more diverse consumer base in Canada has made shoppers more knowledgeable and demanding - placing more emphasis on services, health, beauty and wellness.

"We have to make our properties more fun and more comfortable because consumers want to feel like VIPs when they shop," he said. " . . . Having spas in malls is not the norm yet but that's where we're heading, making more of those options available."

Tremblay also said 24-hour-a-day shopping is not far away in Canada, noting Wal-Mart recently introduced 24-hour-a-day stores in this country.

"You can shop almost 24 hours a day in the U.S. and I think we'll see it pretty soon in Canada," he said. "It's a new way to reach consumers and make sure you're available when they want."



Feb 12, 2008, 4:55 AM
Liberty has opened in Victoria

1630 Store Street


Rusty van Reddick
Feb 12, 2008, 5:39 AM
Liberty has opened in Victoria

1630 Store Street


...meanwhile the Calgary "location" is looking more bombed-out and decrepit every day. Really insulting that they manage to open the one in Victoria which was announced the same time as Calgary's while they have done nothing in Calgary but kick the squatters out, or try to.

And for those who are curious- it's the building that used to house Tumblebeans and that little soap shop at 14 St and 24th Ave SW.

Mar 5, 2008, 5:58 AM
it will be worth the wait - what they did with their broadway store is pretty amazing

Coach is opening up in Metropolis
H&M opens in Lougheed Town Centre in April

Mar 23, 2008, 5:31 PM
Apple Store is now recruiting employees for a Calgary store at Market Mall on their website. With Chinook Centre and TD Square/Calgary Eaton Centre both doing huge renovations that won't be done until 2010...I guess Market Mall is the best way to enter the market quickly. Hopefully the deal actually goes through this time.

Mar 24, 2008, 4:10 AM
Wal-Mart takes aim at 'Bollywood' market

Competitors differ on effect of Wal-Mart

A move by retail behemoth Wal-Mart Canada into Bollywood fashion is causing ripples in Canada's South Asian merchant community.

The new "Bollywood Signature" line of women's clothing, unveiled last month at Wal-Mart stores in Ontario and British Columbia, is causing some smaller retailers to wonder about their new giant competition.

"I think they are attacking the small-business owner when they do stuff like this," says Sunny Khurana, who does the buying and selling for a 37-year-old family business that includes two Guru Bazaar Sarees and Fabrics stores and one Rokko Fabrics outlet, all in south Vancouver.

"For them, it's a matter of economics, if they don't make money on it, they'll get rid of it. In our case, it's our bread and butter, and we have to make it work."

Brennan O'Connor, Business Edge
Ranka Group fashion director Nina Snow with samples of Bollywood Signature fashions for Wal-Mart Canada.

Selling South Asian fashion is part of Wal-Mart's latest strategy in Canada, as it continues to roll out its "Store of the Community" concept.

Company officials say the idea is to identify multicultural population clusters around its stores, using data from market research firm AC Nielsen and the Canadian census. In turn, this information allows stores to stock merchandise that reflects the unique characteristics of the local communities and customers served.

The clothing is only available in a limited number of Wal-Mart's 298 Canadian stores, says Karin Campbell, manager of corporate affairs for Wal-Mart Canada.

"For us to be successful we need to be a store of the community," she says. "It's about understanding the community we serve and tailoring our merchandise to reach their culture and traditions."

The Bollywood Signature line consists of an initial nine traditional and ornate salwar kameez - three-piece South Asian suits for women - and is available in 15 stores - 12 in B.C. and three in Ontario.

The suits come with pants (called salwars), a long shirt or tunic (called a kameez) and a matching scarf (called a dupatta) and are characterized by rich and vibrant colours and feature hand-sewn stone and bead embellishments.

Apparel and design house Ranka Group of Companies of Markham, Ont., is supplying the line to Wal-Mart. It already provides the retail chain with children's wear, men's and ladies' clothing and winter accessories.

"They have strong South Asian roots. We approached them to design this line; we felt they had the expertise and the knowledge," says Campbell.

Ranka Group fashion director Nina Snow says the South Asian clothing is designed in-house, but manufactured in India.

"We employ a lot of South Asian people and everybody who found out about the line is thrilled. I've had a lot of people thank me profusely for doing this," says Snow. "The response we're getting is that it's convenient, it's a great price point and there's a lot of pride in the community that Wal-Mart is recognizing this South Asian community need."

Brennan O'Connor, Business Edge
Ranka Group International CEO Kash Sood and fashion director Nina Snow are supplying women's clothing to Wal-Mart.

However, individual merchants like Sunny Khurana in Vancouver sees Wal-Mart's entry as a potential problem for small businesses that sell similar merchandise. "On a personal level, we'll have to try and carry items that are different and give them (customers) better service.

"They (Wal-Mart) are not creating another market, the pie is the same size and they'll be taking a piece of the same pie," says Khurana. "We can adapt because we know the market, but I think some of the borderline businesses may not survive, they may hurt them.

"The whole gist is they're not generating any new business, they're taking the existing away."

Khurana's stores sell a variety of clothing and fabrics, including a wide range of salwar kameez. He says he can compete with Wal-Mart on price if he has to.

"I think you'll have some people who might shop there, it's very hard to say at this point. It's not like buying the same exact item. I'm sure they'll do some business."

Other merchants are confident that Wal-Mart's arrival on the South Asian fashion scene won't squeeze them out of business.

Sarab Singh, co-owner of the Chandan Fashion Centre in Toronto's Gerrard India Bazaar - described as the largest marketing place of South Asian goods and services in North America - says she is not worried even though she carries Bollywood-style jewelry, Bollywood-style sarees and a full selection of salwar kameez.

"No, this will not hurt my business," says Singh, whose store has been in business since 1985. "We carry pure dupioni silk and pure silk chiffon, plus I buy designer clothes.

"Our market, the Gerrard India Bazaar, is on the Internet. People from Germany, France, the U.S.A. and England always come on my street, though not all of them come in here."

Singh adds that, unlike Wal-Mart, her store offers an onsite tailor who can alter the outfits to meet a client's specific tastes.

Maureen Atkinson, senior partner with the Toronto-based J.C. Williams Group, a retail and marketing consulting firm, says Wal-Mart has simply taken a page out of what grocers have been doing for a long time - catering to their neighbourhood base.

"The thing about grocery stores, with their relatively limited trade area, is they have to respond to what the neighbourhood tastes are or they lose a big portion of their customers," says Atkinson. "On the food side, they're doing what a lot of good food retailers have already figured out what they have to do. On the general merchandise side, they're (Wal-Mart) probably more of a leader on that side."

Atkinson also says that when mainstream retailers introduce these types of products, it widens consumer horizons to items they normally don't buy. "I think it's good. The more we know about other cultures the better off we are."

Wal-Mart also says it isn't trying to bump small merchants out of the market.

"Wal-Mart Canada isn't in the specialty business and many great stores offer these products," says Campbell. "What we're offering is a great basic Indian suit at an affordable price and we're simply trying to meet the needs of our local South Asian customers."


Mar 25, 2008, 12:01 AM
it will be worth the wait - what they did with their broadway store is pretty amazing

Coach is opening up in Metropolis
H&M opens in Lougheed Town Centre in April

Coach also has South Centre (Calgary) on their website - but haven't heard any formal announcement here.

Good to see West Ed is getting all there "Alberta exclusives/firsts" for now...it'll be good to see some of those migrate south when Chinook/South Centre/TD are complete, as I'm guessing that's the major reason Calgary still doesn't have an Abercrombie/Hollister store.

Mar 25, 2008, 12:07 AM
Another sign of the money in Calgary (and AB in general):


Bentley just opened their dealership in Calgary as well.

Apparently, they expect to sell about 50% of the volume they do in Ontario. In speaking with a Vancouver Lotus/Lamborghini dealer last year, half of all of their sales in the last few years were to Alberta customers.

Mar 25, 2008, 12:26 AM
I thought Bentley Calgary opened a long time ago, I always heard ads for it on Q.

Edit: Nevermind, I see you were just mentioning that, and your post was actually about Ferrari.

Mar 25, 2008, 4:00 AM
my friend and I visited a little print/art shop in yaletown a couple weeks ago and he sells little prints and such some are in the $1000's of dollars and some are a $35 or cheaper

but he said years ago when the dollar was low the Americans would come in and buy all his stuff but its dropped off since than and now he said they have been replaced by Albertans who come in and buy large amounts of what he sells

he said they have so much disposable income compared to Vancouverites and they can afford to buy nice things, since housing is cheaper etc where they are from

so as long as Rich albertans help keep BC alive its all good ;)

Mar 25, 2008, 5:03 AM
Ah, that is a fine example of what economists call a "wealth effect" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wealth_effect)

Policy Wonk
Mar 25, 2008, 9:23 AM

Mar 27, 2008, 4:04 PM



Looks like our retail growth... from two years ago... seems pretty high

Alberta led country for 2006 retail growth (http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/calgarybusiness/story.html?id=7c2f67c2-92ea-487e-8090-f20cfe9ad1ab)
From Herald News Services
Published: Thursday, March 27, 2008

Economy - Canadian retailers rang in profits of $21.8 billion in 2006, up 9.5 per cent from the previous year and the highest level since 2002, Statistics Canada said Wednesday.

The tills were really humming in Alberta, where retail revenue jumped 12.2 per cent to $58 billion and operating profits soared 27.2 per cent, the most of any province.

Nationally, overall revenues were $427.2 billion in 2006, up 5.7 per cent, with the biggest consumer purchases being vehicles and home and garden products, the federal agency said.

Of the total, chain stores saw revenues of $190.3 billion in 2006, up 7.3 per cent, and non-chain stores $223.5 billion, up 4.6 per cent, while non-store sales -- through e-commerce, mail-order and vending machines -- totalled $13.4 billion, up 1.3 per cent.

The 2006 figures are the latest available.

© The Calgary Herald 2008

Mar 27, 2008, 4:08 PM
Canadians extend spending binge (http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/calgarybusiness/story.html?id=b585d31a-c2c3-4ac9-8015-40e2bbf81675)
Report says debt obligations can still be met
Eric Beauchesne, Canwest News Service
Published: Thursday, March 27, 2008

Canadian consumers, unlike Americans, not only keep spending and borrowing more, but are also meeting their debt payments. And for the most part, they are expected to continue doing so.

The credit crunch has not put the squeeze on Canadian consumers, with household borrowing still rising at a double-digit pace, which is in contrast to what is happening to consumers south of the border, a major Canadian financial institution said Wednesday.

And despite rising debt levels and the expected slowdown in Canada's economy, CIBC World Markets also anticipates only moderate increases in bankruptcies, mortgage defaults and credit card delinquencies here, which is also in contrast to what's occurring in the U.S. This is due to the strength of Canada's job market, where unemployment is at a modern-day low of 5.8 per cent and employment at an all-time high, CIBC said.

"So far, the credit crunch did not impact the Canadian household credit market in any significant way," CIBC World Markets said in its report. "Household credit in Canada is rising by an annual rate of well over 10 per cent, with both consumer and mortgage credit expanding at a similar rate."

Not only is credit readily available to the average borrower in Canada, the price of that credit has not increased much since the onset of the credit crunch last summer because of the cuts in interest rates by the Bank of Canada, CIBC economist Benjamin Tal, author of the analysis, explained in an interview.

While high-risk borrowers here are being squeezed by the credit crunch just as they are in the U.S., the difference here is that there has not been any surge in such borrowers, he said.

Here, CIBC noted that the level of mortgage debt, which rose by 13 per cent last year, accelerated significantly in the final months of the year and through the first two months of this year.

However, there was a regional gap within Canada, with the strongest growth in the West, reflecting the greater economic strength in that part of the country.

Meanwhile, the ratio of debt to personal disposable income reached an all-time high of 130 per cent in the final quarter of last year as debts rose by three per cent, or nearly double the 1.6 per cent rise in disposable income.

The slump in the stock market and slowdown in the pace of housing price increases also boosted the debt-to-asset ratio to 17.1 per cent, the first increase since early 2006, but still shy of the recent peaks reached earlier in the decade.

The mortgage arrears rate has seen some volatility, but remains at an extremely low 0.26 per cent, CIBC said.

"Note that this trend is very different than the situation in the U.S., where delinquency and foreclosure rates have risen notably in recent months," it said. "There is little doubt that low interest rates played a role here, but even more important was the fact that the labour market has been relatively healthy in recent years."

© The Calgary Herald 2008

May 9, 2008, 3:11 PM
Looks like Mac's is coming east...I'm going to miss Mainway. Say what you will about the Irvings, but they ran excellent convenience stores...

Irving, Couche-Tard swing convenience stores deal
Published Friday May 9th, 2008

Retail Energy company handing over Mainways, Blue Canoes and Big Stops to Que. firm

Irving Oil Ltd. is saying goodbye to its Blue Canoes as it exits the convenience store business in Atlantic Canada and New England.

The privately-owned, Saint John-based energy company is handing over its Mainways, Blue Canoes and Big Stops to Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (TSX:ATD.B), North America's second-largest convenience retailer.

Under the 20-year deal, Couche-Tard will lease 252 Irving-owned and franchised stores. The partnership includes fuel and convenience store revenue sharing.

"We think this really is a marriage made in convenience retail heaven," Harry Hadiaris, director of the business to consumer marketing at Irving Oil, said Thursday.

"The partnership will create more growth opportunities for both of our companies in the northeast, including the southern New England states and New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania."

The Irving convenience stores will be re-branded. Couche-Tard operates its stores under the Couche-Tard and Mac's brands in Canada and Circle-K in the United States. Big Stops will retain the existing branding.

Gas pumps will retain the Irving brand and the family-owned company will continue to supply fuel to the stores.

Hadiaris said the partnership will allow both companies to focus on what they do best.

"It will "¦ give our company the opportunity to focus on our core business of processing and marketing clean fuel to our customers," he said. "Couche-Tard is a world-class leader retailer, they are a leader in our industry. They operate excellent stores."

Irving Oil first partnered with Couche-Tard in 2001. Under that deal, 56 Irving Mainway stores converted to the Couche-Tard brand in Quebec. Couche-Tard operated the stores while Irving Oil supplied the liquid fuel. In 2003, Irving Oil leased 16 stores and stations in Atlantic Canada to the Canadian Tire Corporation.

Michel Bernard, Couche-Tard's vice-president of operations for Eastern Canada, said the acquisition of the 252 Irving stores presents a strategic opportunity for his company to expand its business in the northern United States and Atlantic Canada.

"We had no platform in the north, northeast U.S., now we have platform and we will build from that platform," he said.

As Couche-Tard grows its business, there are opportunities for Irving Oil to supply fuel to new stores.

"Our preferred brand would be Irving," said Bernard.

Bernard said the Irving stores were running at similar productivity levels as Couche-Tard's own stores.

"The sales level is pretty much similar. The average is $1.1 million, about our average in Eastern Canada as well. (The Irving) network is very well operated."

At an average of $1.1 million in sales, the 252 store deal represents annual revenues of roughly $277 million.

It is not know if there will job losses or gains as a result of the deal, which still must receive federal regulatory approval.

According to Irving Oil's website, the company's store network, which includes company-held stores as well as franchises and third-party stores that sell Irving fuel, includes 737 stations in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario and New England.

That network includes 122 stores in New Brunswick, 72 in Newfoundland and Labrador, 100 in Nova Scotia and 21 stores in Prince Edward Island.

Retail gas analyst Michael Ervin, president of Calgary's MJ Ervin & Associates Inc., said Irving Oil's deal with Couche-Tard is part of a larger industry trend.

"It's a pretty astute move," he said. "They, like other petroleum marketers have begun to see kind of the limits of how far they can take vertical integration.

"When you get to the point of having to account for bags of chips and cans of Coke, I think that's where, quite rightly, most petroleum marketers are beginning to throw up their hands and say 'that's far more than what we really want to get involved with'."

May 10, 2008, 9:31 AM
we just got humpty dumpty snack mix in BC

kinda weird

May 21, 2008, 12:42 AM
H&M opens downtown (vancouver) Thursday

Young and trendy expected to flock to retailer's flagship store

With the grand opening of H&M's flagship store downtown Thursday, Vancouverites will see more than just fashion bargains. As the hordes of shoppers now traipsing out to the suburbs to buy from the affordable, fashion-forward store stay in town, we'll see reductions in smog and greenhouse gas emissions, too.

Ever since H&M opened at Coquitlam a year ago, the young and trendy have been driving there from all over the Lower Mainland to find designer clothes at prices they can afford. Everyday shopping at the store has been like the frenzy of the Army and Navy shoe sale.

H&M spokeswoman Laura Shankland said the store was overwhelmed by the consumer interest. On opening day, 600 people lined up before it unlocked the doors. In April, they opened their second store at Lougheed Mall.

Now, she says, the Swedish clothing giant is delighted to launch its biggest Canadian store in the space formerly occupied by Holt Renfrew in Pacific Centre. Shankland hopes the response will be similarly huge.

The first 250 people in line will receive a randomly selected H&M gift card preloaded with a value between $10 and $200.

"We are very excited," she says. "It's an amazing location and it's been such a long time coming."

Acknowledging that crowds in Coquitlam made it tough to get a fitting room, Shankland recommends customers take advantage of the store's 30-day return policy and try clothes on at home.

At 28,660 square feet, the Pacific Centre location is big. Really big. Big enough to house a wide selection of clothes for kids, teens and adults of both genders.

And unlike the Coquitlam store, the downtown location will have H&M's highest-fashion collection featuring the latest in international trends for both men and women, promises Shankland.

Shoes too. "We have a great selection of shoes, everything from your very basic flip-flops to dressy shoes and boots for fall."

For men, the store will carry a Modern classic collection, tailored men's suits made of fabrics from Italy and cashmere sweaters.

When the store opens, it will feature summer fashions highlighting ethnic prints, tropical colours, swimwear and accessories.

H&M has collaborated in the past with international designers and celebrities, including Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, Viktor & Rolf, Madonna and Roberto Cavalli. This fall, H&M introduces a line from Comme des Garçons' founder and head designer Rei Kawakubo. The collection will feature clothing for women and men, as well as some pieces for children, accessories and an exclusive unisex fragrance.

H&M has 38 stores in Canada: 22 in Ontario, three in Alberta, 10 in Quebec and now three in British Columbia.


May 21, 2008, 3:51 AM
Apple to Open Vancouver Store Earlier Than Expected, May 24

After years of speculation and waiting, Apple is finally opening its new store here in Vancouver, BC. The grand opening is scheduled for Saturday, May 24 at 10:00 am. Although Apple is known to surprise its fans, this news doesn’t come as a surprise. It comes as a pleasant shock.

Just a month ago (photos (http://www.palluxo.com/2008/04/20/apple-store-in-vancouver-to-open-august-19/)), the store was undergoing extensive renovations at 701 West Georgia Street. You may recall that the opening comes more than a month after we were told by two contractors, speaking on condition of anonymity, that the Vancouver Apple (http://www.palluxo.com/2008/05/20/apple-to-open-vancouver-store-earlier-than-expected-may-24/#) is scheduled to officially open on August 19th (http://www.palluxo.com/2008/04/20/apple-store-in-vancouver-to-open-august-19/).

At that time, they noted the date was subject to change depending on ongoing Pacific Centre Mall renovations.

Apple clearly sped renovations and finished early, most likely to prepare its sales terrain for new surprises expected to unfold during Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June. Last week, Apple also opened its largest U.S. store in Boston.

To visit Vancouver Apple store, just enter the lobby at 701 West Georgia Street and you will see the store located across the way from Harry Rosen. You can’t miss it, but just in case you do - here is a map (http://www.pacificcentre.com/rtecontent/document/Jan08map.pdf).


May 21, 2008, 4:37 AM
Holt Renfrew plans restaurant, in talks with top chefs

Holt Renfrew is planning to open its first fine-dining restaurant at its downtown Vancouver flagship store by next spring.

But just who will operate that 5,000-square-foot rooftop facility remains the subject of intense speculation. How about Hell's Kitchen celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay?

That's the name bandied about in Vancouver foodie circles these days, but Holt Renfrew president Caryn Lerner would only confirm Tuesday the company is currently negotiating with "a number of different restaurant operators."

Holt Renfrew president Caryn Lerner Tuesday visits the Vancouver store, which is preparing for its first anniversary.
Photograph by : Ian Lindsay, Vancouver Sun

"We are very eager to find the right partner and to open the restaurant," she said in an interview at the Vancouver store.

"We want to find somebody who understands what we're about and can provide the right dining experience for our customers."

Renowned New York chef Daniel Boulud -- now a partner at Lumiere restaurant in Vancouver -- recently revealed he had been in talks to open a Holt Renfrew restaurant in Vancouver, but that deal fell through.

Lerner said it makes sense for Holt Renfrew to open the best restaurant with the best available operator possible.

"We're known as a luxury lifestyle retailer, and we're home to all the world's luxury brands," she said. "I think as we get into the restaurant business, we should have something akin to that on the food side."

If Ramsay takes the Holt Renfrew Vancouver restaurant deal, he would be third celebrity chef to enter the Vancouver market in recent months -- along with Boulud and celebrated chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, now negotiating to open a new restaurant next year in the Shangri-La Hotel.

"I'm not a restaurateur, but I think what's exciting about Vancouver is there's a real pulse to the city that one doesn't feel anywhere else," Lerner said.

"With the Olympics coming and the strength of the economy in the west, the excitement and buzz in the restaurant industry is only a reflection of other energy that's coming from this part of the country."

She said Holt Renfrew is very happy with its $50-million Vancouver investment, which doubled the size of the Pacific Centre store a year ago to 137,000 square feet.

Lerner said the store's spa, concierge and valet parking services have all been well-received, and noted there has been a "phenomenal" takeup of the expanded personal shopping services -- where consultants personally select merchandise for individual shoppers. Personal shopping sales rose 42 per cent last year over 2006 levels.

Holt Renfrew has three Toronto stores, along with single locations in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City.

The company will open a new 140,000-square-foot flagship store in Calgary in the spring of 2009.

Vancouver retail consultant David Gray said the new Holt Renfrew store in Vancouver appears to have met or exceeded sales expectations.

"Anecdotally, in my experience, there is still a little bit of an elitist mentality with some staff -- where they kind of size up shoppers as they come into the store," he said. "But I have to say it's a lot better now than it was in the past."

Gray, president of DIG 360, said the expansion of Holt Renfrew has attracted other top-notch retailers to Pacific Centre, including H&M, which opens a new store in the mall on May 22.


May 21, 2008, 4:39 AM
Teenflo opens Vancouver store

VANCOUVER - Teenflo has launched a Vancouver store with a made-in-Canada women's clothing concept that probably wouldn't have worked in the city 16 years ago, Teenflo Canada president Charles Le Pierres said Tuesday.

The upscale fashion brand - aimed at working women from 25 to 50 - opened its first western Canadian store in Pacific Centre this past weekend and Le Pierres likes its chances in its new market.

"When I first came to Vancouver 16 years ago, the city was more laid back and even women wore shorts and T-shirts," he said in an interview. "But now people here are very much aware of what's going on in the fashion world and they don't want to wear something that was in fashion a year ago."

Teenflo President Charles Le Pierres outside new store in Pacific Centre in downtown Vancouver.
Steve Bosch/Vancouver Sun

The Teenflo brand, which is not aimed at teenagers, was created in Paris in 1975 from the names of the two original founders - Martin and Florence.

Le Pierres and his wife, Judy Richardson, acquired the brand's North American rights in 1990 and currently operate two Montreal stores, with plans to open two new Toronto outlets within the next year.

Teenflo clothes are also sold through retailers like Holt Renfrew in Canada and Bloomingdale's in the U.S. and everything the company sells is made in Canada - specifically by contractors with Ontario manufacturing facilities. Le Pierres said about 80 per cent of Teenflo fabrics are imported from Italy.

He said the company has resisted the temptation to produce its clothes at cheaper prices overseas because quality remains a huge priority.

"We are a high-end brand and we buy very expensive fabric," Le Pierres said. "I know our Canadian contractors can give me top-quality garments."

He said Canadian manufacturers can also produce and deliver clothes to Teenflo faster than Asian producers.

"In China, you need to wait three to four months before you get your goods but in Canada, I can order more pants and get them in two weeks - maybe four to five weeks for jackets," Le Pierres said. "That gives me a much faster turnover and really helps when you know exactly what the market wants right now."

He feels many customers don't realize Teenflo merchandise is produced in Canada but expects when they do, most appreciate the fact the company supports Canada as a place to do business.

Teenflo's concept of quality at reasonable prices includes tops priced from $150 to $225, dresses from $200 to $300, pants from $240 to $275 and blazers from $375 to $450.


May 27, 2008, 3:03 AM
perhaps starbucks expansion is coming to the atlantic and quebec???

Starbucks Buys Canadian Assets, Development Rights

May 21 (Bloomberg) -- Starbucks Corp., the world's largest coffee-shop chain, said it will buy the assets and development rights from Coffee Vision Inc. and Coffee Vision Atlantic Inc., its licensee in Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

About 40 licensed locations will become company-owned stores, Starbucks said today in a statement. The chain didn't disclose financial terms of the transaction that's set to close Aug. 25.

Starbucks has declined 19 percent in 2008 as U.S. customer visits fell for three straight quarters. Last month, the chain said it will slow U.S. expansion this year after second-quarter profit dropped 28 percent.

Founder Howard Schultz, 54, who was brought back as chief executive officer in January, will focus on retraining employees, developing new products and expanding in Europe and Asia.

Starbucks, based in Seattle, declined 16 cents to $16.68 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The chain had 900 company-run and licensed stores in Canada as of March 30.


Starbucks buys Coffee Vision
39 outlets. All based in Quebec and Atlantic Canada

Starbucks Coffee Co.'s push for growth in Quebec and Atlantic Canada now is in the hands of the multinational's Canadian subsidiary.

It announced yesterday it's taking over operation of 39 licensed stores in Quebec and Atlantic Canada from Coffee Vision Inc.

As part of the sale, more than 700 employees are expected to become employees of Starbucks Coffee Canada.

The deal is scheduled to close Aug. 25. Terms were not disclosed.

"I am proud of what we've created in Quebec and Atlantic Canada," said Michael Aronovici, president of Coffee Vision Inc., which in the past decade established 29 Starbucks stores in and around Montreal, three in Quebec City, four in Halifax, two in New Brunswick and one in Newfoundland.

"This is a great time for Starbucks Canada to step in and continue growing the business."

Colin Moore, president of Starbucks Coffee Canada, said Aronovici's company had done "a fantastic job establishing the brand," and the future of the chain in eastern Canada "is very bright."

Including Chapters and hotel locations, there are currently about 50 Starbucks outlets in Quebec and eastern Canada. Across Canada, the chain has about 900 company-operated and licensed stores.

Aronovici said one of the difficulties in establishing the chain here was securing prime real estate during a period of economic boom.

"The real estate market was incredibly tight," he said. "It took a while to gain those superior sites."

U.S.-based Starbucks, which has more than 16,000 stores in 44 countries around the world, reported total revenue of $9.4 billion U.S. and net earnings of $673 million in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, but recently forecast its first profit decline in eight years because of slowing U.S. sales.

The focus will be on international growth in the next few fiscal years, and Canada will be an important market in that strategy, Moore said.


May 30, 2008, 1:41 AM
I noticed an ad for Target during some highlights from a hockey game in Medicine Hat.... foreshadowing, or just cross-border advertising?

Jay in Cowtown
May 30, 2008, 2:56 AM
I noticed an ad for Target during some highlights from a hockey game in Medicine Hat.... foreshadowing, or just cross-border advertising?

It was probably the pesticide:D ... we have our own watered down version of Target, it's Zellers.

Jun 22, 2008, 10:04 PM
Retail giants drawn to hot sales market

Local shopping malls set to open big name stores

Despite sales growth slowing down, international retailers continue to see Calgary as an attractive market to set up shop.

Coach, a leading American designer of fine accessories and gifts for women and men with headquarters in New York, will open its first Calgary store -- and second in Alberta -- at the Southcentre Mall by the end of July this year, said Shawn Hanson, general manager of the mall.

"It's a testament to our leasing team and the quality of retailers we're attracting in the project," said Hanson of the southeast mall's current $102-million redevelopment and expansion which will also bring in American retail giants Restoration Hardware and Crate & Barrel.

Coach's store at Southcentre will be just over 2,000 square feet. The store is known for its handbags, women's and men's small leathergoods, business cases, weekend and travel accessories, footwear, watches, outerwear, scarves, sunwear, jewelry, fragrance and related accessories.

Coach, which was established in 1941, also recently opened its first store in the province in West Edmonton Mall.

A recent Retail Sales Outlook report by Kubas Consultants forecast retail sales in the Calgary Census Metropolitan Area to grow by 7.5 per cent this year compared with last year. In 2007, retail sales growth was 8.6 per cent while in 2006 it was a whopping 16.2 per cent.

Total retail sales in the Calgary area are forecast to hit $24.6 billion this year -- up from $22.9 billion last year and $21.1 billion in 2006.

Meanwhile the northwest Market Mall says American Apparel, Ecco Shoes and Shooligans (a children's shoe store) have confirmed they are coming to the shopping centre and will be open later this summer or early fall.

"Retail is so vibrant in Calgary and there is more demand for space from retailers than Calgary is able to supply in available space. So when an opportunity arises, it is great to see the U.S. and European retailers come into Calgary. In 2007, Market Mall saw the opening of Calgary's first H & M and Sephora stores," said Jane Dorsett, general manager at Market Mall.

At Southcentre, Hanson, said "the significance of having a store like Coach (is because) it's definitely complementary to the two deals with the American retailers such as Restoration Hardware and Crate & Barrel. It's a nice complement to those two retailers. But it's a testament to where we're going with our mix. We'd like to see it go to a more mid-high to higher-end level and Coach is definitely a fantastic retailer to help us get there."


- - -


- First opened in 1974;

- 100 Anderson Road S.E.;

- Retail gross leased area of 925,053 square feet prior to redevelopment;

- Approximately 6.5 million visits annually;

- Retail gross leasable area will increase by 35,000 square feet;

- New retailers to include Coach, Crate & Barrel and Restoration Hardware;

- Total investment in redevelopment is $102 million;

- Redevelopment completion set for July 2010.

Source: Southcentre


Jul 16, 2008, 11:38 PM
New American owners plan to freshen up the Bay, Zellers
Hudson’s Bay Co. sold

TORONTO — The Hudson’s Bay Co. has been bought by the owner of upscale American department store chain Lord & Taylor, which plans to expand its brand into Canada and give a fresh approach to both the Bay and Zellers.

HBC, which has a 338-year history that contributed to the exploration and development of large parts of Canada, has been under American ownership since 2006, when it was bought for $1.1 billion by entrepreneur Jerry Zucker.

Since Zucker’s death in April, there had been speculation that HBC would be sold.

The buyer, New York-based NRDC Equity Partners, plans to give HBC operations a major facelift that will expand on the behind-the-scenes work that Zucker had initiated.

NRDC launched a similar plan in 2006 when it acquired the Lord & Taylor group for $1.2 billion in cash and took a bottom-up approach to reworking the image of the company.

NRDC also owns Fortunoff jewellery stores and Creative Design Studios home-decor chain.

The value of the deal hasn’t been publicly disclosed, but representatives for the Bay and NRDC have said it’s “slightly” higher than the initial sale price of $1.1 billion two years ago.

The combined company, to be known as the Hudson’s Bay Trading Co., has 75,000 employees and annual sales totalling more than US$8 billion.

Richard Baker, a principal with the new owner, becomes CEO of Hudson’s Bay Trading Co. and 38th governor of the Hudson’s Bay Co. He said NRDC will make a new investment of $500 million in the project.

“Enormous potential exists by upgrading the offerings at both the Bay and Zellers and by bringing Lord & Taylor, Fortunoff & CDS into the mix,” Baker said.

He said Lord & Taylor is set to launch 10 to 15 stores in Canada, filling a gap in the Canadian retail landscape between the mid-market Bay department stores and the more upscale Holt Renfrew chain.

“We are not closing any Bay stores to open up Lord & Taylor, and the primary focus is to improve the Bay business,” Baker said in an interview.

Those improvements include bringing in more outside brands, improving customer service and broadening product selection, he said, noting that the company will adopt a more competitive approach to gaining market share.

Zucker’s widow Anita Zucker, chairwoman and CEO of the InterTech Group, said NRDC was an excellent fit for the company, with their strong background in retail and real estate.

“The InterTech Group now turns to other global opportunities to continue to build and strengthen our portfolio of companies,” she said in a statement.

Since the demise of the legendary Eaton’s chain, the Bay’s main direct competitor has been Sears department stores owned by Sears Canada Inc. (TSX:SCC), which acquired a few of the Eaton’s locations and added them to its existing chain.

Prior to that, the Canadian department store chain underwent a period of consolidation — including HBC’s acquisition of the Woodward’s and Simpsons chains — that left very few retailers offering the Bay’s broad range of fashion, jewelry, housewares, appliances, furniture and electronics.

“In Canada, the Bay has not had to deal with a lot of competition so we believe they haven’t been as aggressive and focused on service and price and the quality and selection of the merchandise as they could be,” Baker said.

With the plan, the Bay could wind up having several stores, such as a Lord & Taylor location or Fortunoff jewelry store under its roof.

“Many of the (existing) stores are oversized and we think that by bringing in other brands within the box we can make the stores more efficient,” Baker said.

Reworking the face of Hudson’s Bay Co. comes two years after Baker and his team gave operations at Lord & Taylor a fresh coat of paint, revamping everything from advertising to the look of bags and boxes shoppers took home.

“We worked with the vendors in order to bring in all kinds of new brands that weren’t presently sold at Lord & Taylor and we moved the business up-market that way,” Baker said.

“There’s tremendous opportunities at the Bay in order to modify the offering in order to be attractive to a larger segment to the population.”

Zellers — a national discount department chain similar to Target in the United States — will undergo a similar initiative with a focus on lower priced options aimed at creating a “more exciting place to shop,” Baker said.

“Jerry Zucker and his team did a phenomenal job over the last two years, but they were doing a lot of back-of-the-house inventory optimization,” he said. “You can’t just tinker in the background to be more efficient. You have to drive the top-line.”

While Baker denied that any of the Bay locations will switch signs to Lord & Taylor that plan might change, suggested Richard Talbot, the chief executive of retail watcher Talbot Consultants International.

“Having the Lord & Taylor banner in their back pocket, they’ve got an extra option there. They could rebrand the downtown stores Lord & Taylor and keep the suburban stores as the Bay,” he said.

“Over the last couple of years under the Zucker regime, they’ve had a good look at which stores are going to work and what aren’t. They haven’t made any major changes, and that information is going to be available.”

NRDC was a minority owner along with Zucker’s InterTech Group in Hudson’s Bay Co., which was founded in 1670 and is the oldest continually operating company in North America.

As part of the new changes, the company will replace Hudson’s Bay chief executive Rob Johnston with a new leader who will be announced on Thursday. Johnston is a Montreal native who orchestrated the takeover by Zucker.

Both the Bay and Zellers will get new chief executives in the longer term.


Jul 17, 2008, 12:07 AM
I think this is good news, the Bay is in desperate need of re-branding and Americans know how to do department stores. I was kinda hoping Nordstrom would expand here though. I hope the downtown stores continue to be known as the Bay, they're the best part of the chain.

Zellers — a national discount department chain similar to Target in the United States — will undergo a similar initiative with a focus on lower priced options aimed at creating a “more exciting place to shop,” Baker said.

I don't know how shopping in a red & white fluorescent lighted hellhole could ever be exciting. I guess it couldn't get any worse.

Jul 17, 2008, 1:36 AM
One of the possibilities are that the downtown Bay stores would be cut in half, with the other half becoming L&T. Makes some sense to me.

Looks like there will be a lot fewer Zellers stores once this is all said and done...no closings, just rebrandings. Some (the ones in the bigger malls) may go up to L&T, the tiny and small-town-nowhere ones to some new brand.

Jul 17, 2008, 3:07 AM
One of the possibilities are that the downtown Bay stores would be cut in half, with the other half becoming L&T. Makes some sense to me.

Looks like there will be a lot fewer Zellers stores once this is all said and done...no closings, just rebrandings. Some (the ones in the bigger malls) may go up to L&T, the tiny and small-town-nowhere ones to some new brand.
And eventually, you may see middle of the road Zellers locations go to Target.

Jul 17, 2008, 3:11 AM
Saddest day in Canadian history almost for retail that is.

I think the Lord and Taylor take over is just bad news all around. Canada can basically say goodbye to having anything Canadian owned in the retail world. How do you like that. A country can't even keep its last department store and most historical company Canadian. Sell out to the Americans yet again.

And this is the worst part. We can basically say goodbye to the grand old downtown department stores in our Canadian downtowns that have remained retail icons and landmarks. L&T already said alot of the stores are oversized.
That is total American thinking, and I have no doubt they will downsize the stores to the size of suburban mall branch stores. People will not get any better selection at the downtown store, and will stop going, and you will have the classic American issue of a downtown department store that offers nothing better than a suburban branch store, and people will not make a trek to go downtown.
The worst thing for a downtown retail district is to have an American company operating a department store. They can't wait to pull the downsize talk. And as far as I am concerned it will be the downsizing that will do in these grand old stores.

Canada really needs to stand up and stop this takeover of our companies by international groups.

The days for the Bay Queen Street are probably numbered as North America's second largest department store. I bet L&T can't wait to cut half of that store off, and make it no better than a suburban branch store. One only need look at the downtown L&T stores in American cities besides the NYC one, to see they are no better than a suburban store. And than they wonder why people don't make the trek downtown to shop(as they complained in Pittsburgh before closing that store).

You take the smaller stores like Calgary Downtown or Vancouver Downtown which are only in the 500,000 sq foot range. Cut those in half, and the store will be no larger than a suburban mall store. Actually they will be smaller, as many suburban Bay stores can top the 300,000 mark.

Jul 17, 2008, 3:53 AM
HBC has been owned by Americans for a few years prior to this sale though

time to shed a tear was a few years back

Jul 17, 2008, 3:54 AM
It isn't news that its owned by Americans, that happened years ago now.

Jul 17, 2008, 4:10 AM
Saddest day in Canadian history almost for retail that is.

Do you shop there miketoronto? I mean, all the time?

It's no doubt department stores have faced stiff competition with a lot of the brands they sell opening their own smaller stores. But, if you've spent even a small amount of time in the US department stores - Macy's, Nieman Marcus, Nordstrom, etc...you'd have some idea how bad the Bay has looked for years (with, possibly the downtown Toronto store as an exception - which, really is on its own with selection, displays, etc). Heck, even Sears "looks" better in the last 10 years since most have renovated.

I used to shop at the Bay (and Eaton's) almost exclusively 20 years ago...but not any more. History is history - and that will never change. I don't need to keep the Bay around just because of that connection...we need a good department store - or the Bay reinvented.

Jul 17, 2008, 4:25 AM
Saddest day in Canadian history almost for retail that is.

Haven't spent a dime in any Bay store in years....is there a reason to shop there? Anyways, in the latest press release, they are saying that no Bay stores will close - they will only get better under the new ownership....

And actually, no offense, Mike, but I use you as a contrarian indicator, as you are almost always off in your conclusions....

This is then possibly the BEST day ever for Canadian retailing...:P

Jul 17, 2008, 4:36 AM
Yikes! The Brooks Brothers suit is on its way to Vancouver

Venerable haberdasher chooses city as its first Canadian beachhead

But JFK aside, Washington is a boring town. Who dresses like that here on the West Coast? Look around. Do you see many Hollywood types wearing Brooks, other than in a film like Pearl Harbour where they are playing dead men?

Hang on. After checking out the company's website, let me rephrase that bit. Some A-list stars have indeed been known to wear Brooks Brothers. It's just that most of them are dead.

Here's a certified list, straight from the company: "Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., Rudolph Valentino, Errol Flynn, Rudy Vallee and John Barrymore were some of the best-dressed men of their time, and all were Brooks Brothers customers."

Oh, there's one woman, too: "Katharine Hepburn, one of the first Hollywood starlets to don trousers, headed to Brooks Brothers for her tailoring."

So what did we do in Vancouver to deserve this tired cultural import from the United States? Well, it appears we're on the world map. As the demand for the Brooks suit seems well sated to the south, the Brooks company is now being run by a stylish Italian, Claudio del Vecchio. He wants to grow the line here. He is going global and trying to spruce up Brooks Brothers yesteryear image.

Vancouver -- now much on the European mind given its scores on global livability surveys -- is part of del Vecchio's expansion plan that will see Brooks flagship stores pop up in Milan, Paris and Hong Kong. Supposedly in this global push, the Italians are smartening up the Brooks Brother Suit. They are even daring to charge as much as for its new, high-end stuff as Giorgio Armani does.

Maybe, I'm wrong to be so down on a suit. Maybe it'll be different here with the Italians running the show.

But 190 years of history are on my side. As every American Willy Loman can tell you, a Brooks Brothers Suit is irresistible, but it makes life a bit greyer. Just what Vancouver doesn't need.


Brooks Brothers to Expand Into Canada Next Year, Globe Reports

July 14 (Bloomberg) -- Brooks Brothers plans to expand into Canada next year, betting that men looking for suits averaging $900 each are underserved by domestic competitors, The Globe and Mail reported.

The men's apparel chain, which has about 350 locations globally, is planning to open as many as 12 outlets in Canada, starting in Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary, the report said. Brooks Brother is owned by Retail Brand Alliance Inc.

Brooks Brothers will market itself in Canada as a brand between apparel chains Moores Retail Group Inc. and the ``higher end'' Harry Rosen, the Globe reported.



they have some pricey accessories... should do well with the label set

18-Karat Gold Dress Watch

Gentleman's Alligator Dress Watch

Alligator Soft Frame Bag

Alligator Handbag

Jul 17, 2008, 10:18 AM
The Bay had an American share holder owning mostly all its stocks. That is different from an American company fully taking over The Bay.

Also one of the first words was "downsize" of stores. That is not good, and I am telling you, they are going to kill the unque style of the downtown stores and turn them into smaller suburban style branch outlets.
American companies do not know how to operate legendary downtown stores anymore.

And for a matter of fact I do shop at the Bay alot. I only shop at the downtown Toronto Bay. But I find they have a ton of great stuff and are not out of date like some of you claim. The selection and style at the downtown store is amazing. And to think L&T could come in now and shrink that and ruin it is sad.

I have been to Macy's. And if you guys actually did shop at Macy's in the USA, and The Bay here, you would see that both stores carry almost the same brands. I do not find Macy's to be any better in most regards.

Jul 17, 2008, 12:26 PM
Saddest day in Canadian history almost for retail that is.

I think the Lord and Taylor take over is just bad news all around. Canada can basically say goodbye to having anything Canadian owned in the retail world. How do you like that. A country can't even keep its last department store and most historical company Canadian. Sell out to the Americans yet again.

And this is the worst part. We can basically say goodbye to the grand old downtown department stores in our Canadian downtowns that have remained retail icons and landmarks. L&T already said alot of the stores are oversized.
That is total American thinking, and I have no doubt they will downsize the stores to the size of suburban mall branch stores. People will not get any better selection at the downtown store, and will stop going, and you will have the classic American issue of a downtown department store that offers nothing better than a suburban branch store, and people will not make a trek to go downtown.
The worst thing for a downtown retail district is to have an American company operating a department store. They can't wait to pull the downsize talk. And as far as I am concerned it will be the downsizing that will do in these grand old stores.

Canada really needs to stand up and stop this takeover of our companies by international groups.

The days for the Bay Queen Street are probably numbered as North America's second largest department store. I bet L&T can't wait to cut half of that store off, and make it no better than a suburban branch store. One only need look at the downtown L&T stores in American cities besides the NYC one, to see they are no better than a suburban store. And than they wonder why people don't make the trek downtown to shop(as they complained in Pittsburgh before closing that store).

You take the smaller stores like Calgary Downtown or Vancouver Downtown which are only in the 500,000 sq foot range. Cut those in half, and the store will be no larger than a suburban mall store. Actually they will be smaller, as many suburban Bay stores can top the 300,000 mark.

HBC is already American.

Better to have some fresh investment/management, then to see the company fold entirely, a la Eaton's (Eaton, in Quebec: the catastrophic apostrophe)

Jul 17, 2008, 12:31 PM
HBC is already American.

Better to have some fresh investment/management, then to see the company fold entirely, a la Eaton's (Eaton, in Quebec: the catastrophic apostrophe)

Different to have an American owner. But this is a huge corportation. Also different to have an owner who is just going to revive the stores, instead of downsizing them.

Don't tell me a major city like Toronto has to downsize The Bay Queen. That was the headline in the paper today. They are already talking about breaking that building up.
Funny how a city of half a million could support a million sq foot store. But now that we have over 2.5 million, the store has to be smaller.
sorry, but I do not trust American's with downtown retail. They do a bad job for the most part, and care nothing about what these stores stand for or their history.

Let David Jones or Myer from Australia take over the HBC. Atleast those two companies understand the value of downtown stores, and instead of downsizing have
improved and even in some cases expanded the downtown stores.

Jul 17, 2008, 12:50 PM
^I was very sad to see the demise of the downtown Eaton in Montreal. It was the second-largest dept store in North America, after Macy's in NYC.

But through bad management, and changing consumer tastes and geodemographics, they could no longer make a go of it. Sad, but that is the way that retailing works (in marketing, we have a theory called the "Wheel of Retailing"...go check it out).

It is a business decision. Of course, you are free to disagree with it.

Beats having some Canadian-born loony muck things up. Remember Robert Campeau?

Jul 17, 2008, 12:57 PM
I totally disagree that these stores can not make it. Cities around the world including ones in Australia, right on down to London, Paris, etc all support massive stores the size of some of our Bay stores. The only difference is, the companies in those cities actually work at making those stores legendary and the best they can be.

American companies could care less, and lets be honest, don't know how to operate urban stores anymore. Canada's downtowns have a sad day ahead when this new company decides that our cities deserve no better than a branch suburban style store in the heart of our retail cores. No matter if you shop at the Bay or not, you can not deny the fact they are important anchors to our downtown retail cores.

I could care less about the suburban stores. But it is the messing around with the "real" Bay stores downtown that is the issue.

Jul 17, 2008, 12:57 PM
To express miketoronto’s point differently, American department store chains are more Darwinian in outlook and less civic-minded. For the most part, they all have (and retain and even expand) lavish, expansive downtown stores in places like Midtown Manhattan because those stores tend to flourish. But unlike Canadian chains like The Bay and Eaton often did, they won’t keep large stores in downtown areas just because they’ve always been there and it is unthinkable not to have a large Bay on, for example, Rideau St. in Ottawa.

So if the store works – great. If not – too bad, so sad. During New York’s tough years, even Manhattan itself was unserved by certain major American retailers that would have (you would have thought) logically had a presence in the downtown of the country’s largest city.

Reading this thread I can’t help but think of the downtown stores (not just in Paris) of French chains like Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, or El Corte Inglés in Spain…

Jul 17, 2008, 1:01 PM
Let David Jones or Myer from Australia take over the HBC. Atleast those two companies understand the value of downtown stores, and instead of downsizing have
improved and even in some cases expanded the downtown stores.

Funny enough, I was going to mention David Jones and Myer in addition to the French and Spanish chains, but ended up leaving them out.

I can remember visiting Australia some years ago and walking into DJs and Myer, and thinking, yeah these are like The Bay and Eaton’s back home (they especially reminded me of the Montreal stores on Ste-Catherine). Since then, Eaton’s has disappeared and who knows what will happen to The Bay.

BTW, the Ogilvy store on Ste-Catherine still has that big city department store feel.

Jul 17, 2008, 1:11 PM
This has nothing to do with the stores not making money.

The guy who bought The Bay now, is interested in the properties.

Do you know he is in the process of downsizing the Lord & Taylor store in Manhattan. He wants to cut it in half to the size of a suburban branch store, and build condos on the remaining floors.
Sorry guys, but don't tell me a legendary store in Manhattan that has been operating for over 100 years has to be downsized to a store that will be smaller than similar style department stores in other world cities. I don't buy that, and it just shows they are worried more about making money off the property.

The Bay would not keep a store open if it is not making money. The Downtown stores make money. And they make money because they continue to offer a large selection and unique downtown style.

The only stores that were not making money were the downtown stores in smaller cities like Kitchener, and Peterborough. That is what did EATONS in partly.

I worked in retail though when EATONS was going down and we dealt with suppliers that supplied the downtown Toronto EATONS, and they even said that store was a money magnet. They said that store did great, and they did not understand how SEARS ruined it, because they could have made money at that location.

And The Bay did close stores that were not doing well downtown. They downsized the Downtown Winnipeg Bay, and they closed the downtown Edmonton Bay and opened a much smaller suburban style store downtown instead.

But do not tell me Queen Street is not making money and can't keep its current size. Go into that store on a Saturday and it can be packed. Sure the furniture floor won't be wall to wall people. But that store does good. They just need to restore it more and add even more selection and style and they could get even more people in.

I have a book about downtown renewal at home, and they even have a section that talks about how American department store companies have on purpose killed downtown stores. Dillards the most famous in that regard. But Lord & Taylor no better. They sucked Pittsburgh for millions in development money, and built a store downtown that was smaller than a suburban store. They then complained that no one wanted to come downtown to shop and closed the store, and Pittsburgh lost out on gaining back the development money. That is what happens when you build a store downtown that is only like 100,000 sq feet.

Jul 17, 2008, 1:34 PM
This has nothing to do with the stores not making money.

The Bay would not keep a store open if it is not making money. The Downtown stores make money.

True, it's not about making money, full stop. It's about making *enough* money, or the most money possible.

Jul 17, 2008, 6:11 PM
And for a matter of fact I do shop at the Bay alot. I only shop at the downtown Toronto Bay. But I find they have a ton of great stuff and are not out of date like some of you claim.

Ah...well, there's your first problem with seeing the bigger picture...Toronto's downtown store is the Bay's flagship store - it has a selection unique to it, and NO other Bay stores - regardless of being downtown or suburban. In fact, I believe the Yorkdale store has the same selection - and is treated on the same level - as the other city's downtown stores. Truly, the Bay downtown Toronto can almost compete with Holt for some things (trust me, I've spent hours just waiting for my wife in the shoe department there). One of my friend's partners was the store product managers of the store in downtown Calgary - and we had this exact discussion of the downtown TO store being different...he had plans to bring Calgary "closer" to the level of selection and service - but that never happened (and he has since moved to the Chinook store).

The other Bay stores don't compete with the big Dept stores in the US - in terms of service, product, and just plain old "looks". You're right, Macy's would come close - but, I've found that even they have a better selection. Nordstrom's, Nieman Marcus, etc are definitely on a different level.

The biggest problem with the Bay is they haven't quite figured out how to fill the gap between a dept store like Sears, and one like Holt (which, is growing quite well - and easily compares to the same level of dept store in the US). They continue to add cheap line of clothes over the years (some available at Zellers too I believe), and the service has gone down. Heck, even since the Americans took over, they thought introducing the new yellow bags would look more sophisticated (or something silly like that). The "Made in China" Olympic wear is an embarrasment - that's if you can find it, since its not proudly displayed in the stores.

Sorry, Miketoronto. The Bay needs to change, or just go. And drop the crappy Target-looking Zellers along the way too.

Jul 17, 2008, 6:13 PM
^I was very sad to see the demise of the downtown Eaton in Montreal. It was the second-largest dept store in North America, after Macy's in NYC.

Interesting...do you have sq footage #s for that? I always thought the Bay Downtown Toronto was the largest (at just over 1 million Sq Ft I believe), and Winnipeg's Eaton's or the Bay was the second largest in the country. I'm sure Winnipeg's Eaton's was the second largest Eaton's, anyway.

Jul 17, 2008, 6:18 PM
Nordstrom's and Nieman Marcus are not really full line department stores like The Bay or Macy's.

Also I don't want the Bay to go fully upper class. We need a middle class place to shop to. I think The Bay right now has good middle class and upper class selection, atleast in the downtown store.

That is fine if this owner wants to make the stores better. But carving up the downtown stores is not the answer. How are you suppose to make a better store by cutting it in half and basically cutting in half what you will carry. People are not going to come downtown to shop at a store that is the same size as the one at the mall and features the same selection.

I guess no more Christmas Street, where they take a large part of one floor in the downtown store, and turn it into a huge Christmas store. They won't have the room.

Jul 17, 2008, 6:22 PM
Nordstrom's and Nieman Marcus are not really full line department stores like The Bay or Macy's.

Also I don't want the Bay to go fully upper class. We need a middle class place to shop to. I think The Bay right now has good middle class and upper class selection, atleast in the downtown store.

Again - read my post in FULL above - the downtown store in TO is VERY unique.

The other Bay's do NOT fill that "middle class" place to shop, and has very little to no "upper class" selection.

You're right that Nordstrom's and Nieman Marcus aren't "full line" department stores - but they are department stores. This is the part where the Bay needs to wake up, and re-invent itself. The days of needing a "full line" department store are gone. Even Sears has successfully moved a large chunk of their "other" stuff to new independant furniture/appliance stores.

When was the last time you shopped for a washer/dryer? Downtown Toronto? See my point?

Jul 17, 2008, 6:24 PM
...But carving up the downtown stores is not the answer. How are you suppose to make a better store by cutting it in half and basically cutting in half what you will carry. People are not going to come downtown to shop at a store that is the same size as the one at the mall and features the same selection.

I guess no more Christmas Street, where they take a large part of one floor in the downtown store, and turn it into a huge Christmas store. They won't have the room.

Mike - stop grouping the "downtown stores" together!!!! Arggghhhh....

If you're really that misty-eyed about it, go hang out in the furniture/appliance section of the Bay downtown Calgary...or Winnipeg...or Vancouver. You'll see EXACTLY why it makes sense to reduce!

Jul 17, 2008, 7:11 PM
The following quote from the link below shows why we must worry a little the new owners of the Bay. As you can see they don't care about cities at all.


"Just last November, the president of NRDC, the acronym that owns the Lord & Taylor department store chain, said he wanted to close the shopping icon's flagship Manhattan store on Fifth Avenue and 39th Street. "It's nice having a Manhattan store, but I wouldn't call it key," said President Richard Baker. "We want to be where people live, not where they work.""

"Now, NRDC is saying it wants to keep the store up and running. What changed? Well, it may have something to do with the City's Landmarks Commission announcement that it's considering making the 1914 building a landmark."

Jul 17, 2008, 7:28 PM
the days of huge department stores are over though - the bay in vancouver has about 7 floors and the top floors are dead and the christmas street is dead year after year - most of the ornaments are still there in january unsold - me and my friend usually scoop in when things are 75% off

in portland they took an old 8 or 9 level macys and knocked it down to a reasonable amount 4 floors i think and are converting the rest into a hotel - when we visited prior to the announcement of a hotel they had sealed one level off entirely and the top levels were pretty much me and my friends looking around on our own - where as the suburban mall stores were quite busy

anyway a discount store like Zellers would do well in downtown vancouver there is nothing to compete with and a large base of customers in need of cheap offerings

Jul 17, 2008, 7:55 PM
I don't think the age of the big store is over. I think it is stupid that 50 years down the road now, we have less selection in our retail districts, than before, eventhough we have bigger cities. You are telling me a big city can't support a big store?

This is a North American thing. It is funny how department stores in Paris not only have huge stores, but also have expanded their stores. The large department store Galleries Lafayette in Paris just bought a year or two ago a building across the street, and added even more selling space.
There is one difference though. These stores don't have suburban branch stores.

We basically have killed these stores ourselves in North America. And good owners and managers can bring them back.
The reason these department stores are losing customers is because the tiny stores they downsize to don't offer good selection.
I would not shop at department stores either if I had to contend with the tiny suburban branch stores. But the flagships offer great selection.

Don't know about Vancouver store, but the downtown Toronto Christmas Street in the Queen Street store sells out in like the first week of december if not before.

Amazing how grand department stores flourish in places like London, Paris, and even Australia. Yet you are telling me Canada can't support a grand store.

The continued downsizing like what was done in Portland will remove the grandure and reason to go downtown. It will turn downtown into nothing special, and people will have no reason to go if the stores are the same size and offer nothing different then the tiny suburban stores. You can bet the new reovated Macy's in Portland is not the same as the old store and probably has very little selection compared to before.

Jul 18, 2008, 5:39 AM
personally i am sad to see them go but better something be done than see them dead and empty

i personally loved the european dept stores i got to visit and yes the suburban stores have totally killed off their downtown mother stores - selfridges music department was an HMV!

me and my friend were just looking at the furniture downtown in the bay last week and considering that most dwellings are small the furniture is all oversized monster house stuff - so not what anybody downtown wants to buy or could buy as they have no space

plus their pricing is pretty high - you can get much better deals at other stores

they need to revamp what they carry so you really have to shop there since its not at every other store already

we can't blame anyone but ourselves - its not the evil corporations ruining everything its the people/consumers who are behind the death nail

Jul 18, 2008, 12:03 PM
I love the furniture section at the Bay Queen Street store. It is an entire floor, and they have different themed rooms to showcase the designs, including a Japanese room. Amazing stuff.

Jul 31, 2008, 6:03 AM
South Surrey descends on new Wal-Mart 'Supercentre'

A massive Wal-Mart store opens at 24th Ave and 160th Street. There are 31 check outs in the store.
Photograph by : Ian Smith/Vancouver Sun

Shoppers jammed the 1,000-stall parking lot at Wal-Mart's newest supercentre in south Surrey, the second such format store and biggest in B.C., not long after its grand opening Wednesday at 8 a.m.

The 218,000-square-foot behemoth boasts a full grocery store with bakery and deli, a first for B.C., bringing the world's largest retailer into this province's grocery wars.

"[The supercentre] format is the way of the future," Rick Mather, Wal-Mart's district manager for B.C. supercentres, said in an interview, "one-stop shopping, that's where we're going."

Replete with lower environmental impact touches such as LED lighting in exterior signage and a recycling centre, the outlet also houses a pet centre, clothing aisles, a pharmacy and automotive centre. It also leases space to a Tim Hortons, a McDonald's, a hair salon and nail salon.

Mather said B.C.'s first Wal-Mart supercentre, opened in Duncan on Vancouver Island, has had good success, and "if you look today, we're doing well ."

Mather estimated that 300 to 400 people lined up to be among the first in the doors to get at opening specials such as seedless grapes for 97 cents a pound, giant packs of brand-name disposable diapers for $29.97 and 15-roll packages of brand-name paper towels for $9.97.

Mather added that Wal-Mart was drawn by the location, a large parcel of property at the southwest corner of 24th Avenue and 160th Street, in the epicentre of what has become the sprawling growth of the south Surrey and White Rock areas.

"It's accessible road-wise," Mather added, "right off Highway 99."

By late morning Wednesday, the store's 34 checkout counters were all buzzing with multi-cart lineups; for many shoppers, it was the one-stop-shopping concept that lured them.

"I actually just came in to see what was available," Surrey working mother Gurmit Athwal said, "but I ended up buying lots of stuff. I felt they were very, very, very reasonable prices."

Athwal had to make three trips to cart out all of her purchases, from king-sized bedding sets to dishwashing detergent, and reckons that the store will change the way she shops.

Juggling two jobs, Athwal said that Wal-Mart's convenient hours, 6 a.m. to midnight, will allow her to shop between shifts. The store is also conveniently located within a 10-to-15 minute drive from her home.

"I felt that I can just come to the store and get all my shopping done," Athwal said, "and I'm going to do that."

Stephen Casson also made a brief five-to-10 minute trek from his home, curious to check out the store that he has watched develop.

"It's a very large store, and I must say I'm very impressed," Casson said. "It's going to be interesting to see what happens with the local guys, the small stores, but the economy's booming out here, housing's growing."

Chander Arora, owner of Michael's Artisan Bakery & Cafe just down 24th Avenue from the Wal-Mart, is one of those small retailers concerned about how his business will be affected.

"I can't stop anybody from having a business," Arora said, but,"they have a bigger outfit, more buying power and try to undercut people."

He hopes his bakery's unique offerings - European-style breads such as spelt and caraway rye, rich baked goods such as chocolate hazelnut cheesecake - will help differentiate his business from the mega-competitor down the street.

"We try to give a personal service and we know a lot of our customers by name and what they require," he said,

Mel Jesson, partner in the neighbouring Black Bond Books, said "you can't go up against Wal-Mart."

However, he doesn't anticipate the south Surrey outlet of Black Bond's 10-store chain will suffer much, since it caters to customers interested in books other than the best-sellers on Wal-Mart's shelves.

"There's a certain novelty when there's a new place," Jesson said, "whether it's the big books box [store] or a store like Wal-Mart. But that'll wear off."

Retail consultant David Ian Gray, with the firm Dig360, said smaller stores that do things that Wal-Mart doesn't do should have less to worry about.

"[Wal-Mart] is really going up against a Superstore, or Save-On-Foods," Gray said.

Shoppers who regularly go to specialty stores such as Whole Foods or Capers, or like to hit their corner produce store for the freshest fruits and vegetables likely won't change their habits.

However, stores like Safeway or Save-On-Foods, and even big boxes like Canadian Tire, will have to step up service to compete.

Gray added that the supercentre has been key to Wal-Mart's resurgence over the past couple of years.


Supercentre opens

[i]By Laura Baziuk - Peace Arch News

Published: July 30, 2008 3:00 PM
Updated: July 30, 2008 5:02 PM

It was not even 10 a.m. yet on opening day, and already hundreds of people had emerged from South Surrey's Wal-Mart Supercentre – one of the chain's biggest stores in B.C. – shopping carts full.

"It's good. I don't have to go to Langley anymore," said Candis Golanowski.

She had visited the 215,000-sq. ft. store's fresh produce section, which regular Wal-Marts do not have and therefore gives this location its supercentre name. "I'm very impressed with the meat prices."

Cars crawled the parking lot, cash registers buzzed and dinged and blue-vested employees fluttered through the aisles.

"It was pretty crowded," said Stephen Chen. He and his family came from Vancouver to check out the wares, and ended their trip armed with a GPS unit, rice pot, TV, laptop and paper towels.

Another shopper, who identified himself only as Darren, left with a 50-inch flat-screen TV. He went in looking for a deal on diapers.

Assistant store manager Brenda Canning said, so far, opening day has brought few problems.

"I'm amazed. I've actually had coffee, that's how smooth it is," she said.

"The customers are very excited. We sold out of (Nintendo) Wiis in, like, five minutes."

The Grandview Corners location is at 2355 160 St.


Jul 31, 2008, 6:04 AM
I love the furniture section at the Bay Queen Street store. It is an entire floor, and they have different themed rooms to showcase the designs, including a Japanese room. Amazing stuff.

same as downtown vancouver

but the furniture isn't that special

Jul 31, 2008, 1:51 PM
My question is: Do Walmarts make people ugly? Or do they just draw ugly people? The prototypical Walfart customer is an overweight woman in her late 40s/early 50s, with a bad beehive hairdo, wearing a Minnie Mouse shirt.

Jul 31, 2008, 2:31 PM
My question is: Do Walmarts make people ugly? Or do they just draw ugly people? The prototypical Walfart customer is an overweight woman in her late 40s/early 50s, with a bad beehive hairdo, wearing a Minnie Mouse shirt.

You’re making me feel better. On the rare occasions that I go to Wal-Mart, I always come out of there depressed about the place I live in.

Glad to hear it’s the same thing everywhere!

Jul 31, 2008, 2:48 PM
My question is: Do Walmarts make people ugly? Or do they just draw ugly people? The prototypical Walfart customer is an overweight woman in her late 40s/early 50s, with a bad beehive hairdo, wearing a Minnie Mouse shirt.
It can't be any worse then the prototypical shoppers at a Supercentre location. I mean hell, those stores have been a part of the Western Canadian landscape for 20-25 years now? Now that's a true Supercentre.

Rusty van Reddick
Jul 31, 2008, 5:27 PM
My question is: Do Walmarts make people ugly? Or do they just draw ugly people? The prototypical Walfart customer is an overweight woman in her late 40s/early 50s, with a bad beehive hairdo, wearing a Minnie Mouse shirt.

Yeah but that prototype has morphed into fat African American woman and fat Filipinas wearing fake Gucci sunglasses. It's all bad. Walmart is a soul-destroying experience and I cannot fathom being SO poor that you'd have to shop there. I'd sell a kidney first.

Jul 31, 2008, 8:43 PM
^I hate to admit, we shop there...not much choice in a smaller center. I do try to go to other places first - or wait to go to the city, but sometimes, its just convenience.

The worst part is, they sell a lot of pure junk. I think we've made at least 3 trips back to return garbage (don't ask why we bought it in the first place...let's just say "lesson learned"). Even a $4 battery operated water gun for my son...we actually bought two. Neither of them worked.

Jul 31, 2008, 9:30 PM

Rusty van Reddick
Jul 31, 2008, 10:17 PM
^I hate to admit, we shop there....

...but you don't HAVE to, right? :-)

Jul 31, 2008, 11:06 PM


That's gold Jerry... GOLD!

Jul 31, 2008, 11:10 PM
If you have 8 kids and the babydaddies are all in prison you don't have many alternatives.

crooked rain
Aug 1, 2008, 12:28 AM
It can't be any worse then the prototypical shoppers at a Supercentre location. I mean hell, those stores have been a part of the Western Canadian landscape for 20-25 years now? Now that's a true Supercentre.

Yeah, we've had Superstores for a long time, but the uglies congregate at Wal-Mart. The Asians go to Superstores, and young Asian women are hot.

crooked rain
Aug 1, 2008, 12:28 AM

She raises a valid point.

O-Town Hockey
Aug 1, 2008, 12:38 AM
I hate getting all dressed up in my nicest T-shirt to go to Walmart!