Blog

Bizou Opens First Store in France

March 05, 2014

Earlier this year, fashion accessories specialist Bizou opened its first international location at La Toison For in Dijon, France. The premises is 700 sq.ft and is situated on the mall’s upper level. Neighbouring tenants include Guess, Desigual, Superdry, Pandora, Mango…etc The new store is part of license agreement concluded last year, with french based KBS Retail. Two more openings in the country are scheduled for later this year. 

Bizou has also confirmed that it will open 2 locations in Ontario locations this spring: Place d’Orleans (Ottawa) and Georgetown Marketplace. Additional sites are planned for later in 2014. Further, the company has plans for considerable growth domestically in 2015 & 2-16, where 3-5 new stores are budgeted (per year). Expansion will focus on the following provinces: Ontario, Quebec, and maritime provinces. Size required is 600-900 sq.ft

Bizou was founded in 1982 and is privately owned by Marcel Labrecque. The company currently operates 130 locations.

For more information, please visit the company’s website at www.bizou.com.

Fossil Signs Lease for Bloor Street Flagship

February 13, 2014

Fashion accessories specialist Fossil confirmed its plans to open a 2,500 square foot flagship store on Bloor Street. The premises, previously occupied by Aldo, is situated on the exterior of the Holt Renfrew centre, in the heart of Toronto’s Mink Mile (on Bloor between Yonge & Bay Street). Neighbouring tenants are Aritzia, BCBG, Zara and Holt Renfrew. The store will be the second largest Fossil (full price) in Canada; the largest being the newly opened store at Yorkdale, which is 2,600 square feet. Opening is scheduled for June 1.

In addition to the Bloor Street store, Fossil will open 8 more units in Canada this year: Montreal Premium, Market Mall, Niagara Outlet Collection, Polo Park, Tanger Outlets Ottawa, Masonville Place, Lime Ridge, Quartier 10-30. Fossil will finish 2014 with a total of 32 Canadian locations. 

Fossil is primed for further Canadian expansion and expects to open 5-8 locations in both 2015 and 2016. Fossil’s size requirements are 1250-1500 square feet (minimum store width of 23.5 feet). Super regional centres, downtown high streets and outlet centres are preferred.

In other Fossil news, the company has confirmed a Q4 global launch for its new Tory Burch timepiece collection.  

Fossil operates over 543 corporate stores in 15+ countries including: US, UK, Canada, Italy, France, China, Australia….etc. Further, the company’s net sales are now in excess of $3 billion.
For additional information regarding Fossil, please visit their website at www.fossil.com.

JNBY Struts its Stuff in Calgary

January 15, 2014

In early December, upscale ladies apparel retailer, JNBY, opened their first location in Alberta, at The Core in downtown Calgary. The new store is the company’s 4th Canadian location, and first store outside British Columbia. The premises (formerly occupied by Boutique of Leathers) is 1380 sq.ft and is located on the mall’s Plus 15 Level. Neighbouring tenants include Nine West, Marciano, Banana Republic, Browns, Judith & Charles. The store design is contemporary, elegant and chic and embraces the industrial post-modernist style.

JNBY is now prepared to look at opportunities in Toronto. The company hopes to enter the market early in 2014 with a pop up store. High pedestrian street-front locations (such as Queen St and Yorkville) are preferred. Super regional mall will also be considered. Size required is 1250-1750 sq.ft.


JNBY was founded in China, in 1994. The company’s name is an acronym for Just Naturally Be Yourself. JNBY’s apparel is original and innovative, design driven and often inspired by trends in fashion, art and industrial design. JNBY’s target customer is the fashion forward, urban, 20-40 year old female. Today, the company operates over 500 locations worldwide. 

For all of the information on JNBY, please visit their website at www.jnby.com.

The Core is located in the heart of downtown Calgary on 8th Avenue. The property spans three city blocks and consists of TD Square and the former Calgary Eaton Centre. The four level mall has 175 stores with a GLA of 566,959. The shopping centre is anchored by Holt Renfrew. Other major retailers include Harry Rosen, Brooks Brothers, H&M, Michael Kors, Aritzia, Sephora…etc. The Core is jointly owned by Alberta Investment Management (AIMCO) and Ivanhoe Cambridge.

Finally, I’d like to thank Stan Boniferro of 20 Vic (leasing manager for The Core) for his help in negotiating this agreement. Stan is a great leasing guy, very hard working and with a wealth of experience.

Bizou in Expansion Mode

December 02, 2013

November was a busy month for Bizou. The fashion accessories specialist opened three (3) new stores. Further, the company announced plans for additional expansion. 

Bizou recently opened locations at Galeries de la Capitale in Quebec City, Galeries de Hull and at Place Alexis Nihon in Montreal.  

As always, the stores are extremely well designed - chic and fun (see photo).  

In addition to the above, this year, the company has shown a strong commitment to upgrading its existing store fleet. In total, 14 stores were renovated in 2013.  

I spoke last week with Bizou’s CFO, Alain Duval, who notes that the company is very pleased with its performance and results. In this regard, comp store sales have increased 8.5% YTD. 

Looking forward, Bizou is aggressively looking to expand. The company anticipates the opening of 5 new locations in 2014. Markets of interest include Ontario, Maritime provinces, and Quebec. Super regional\regional malls and high pedestrian streetfront locations are preferred. Size required is 650-1000 sq.ft. 

Bizou was founded in 1982, and is privately owned by Marcel Labrecque. Today, the company operates over 130 stores in Canada. 

For additional information on Bizou, please visit their website at www.bizou.com.

Naturiste Re-Branded

November 25, 2013

Everything at Naturiste is new.

New name. Check. New logo. New website. Check and check again. New packaging and labels, new products, new store design, as well as, a new corporate culture and philosophy. Check.

When Stephen Rosenhek and Melanie Kau purchased Naturiste in November 2012, they were faced with many challenges and obstacles. The company they had acquired, while credible and well established (with unparalleled experience), had been neglected and had lost focus and direction. Now one year later, Naturiste has successfully developed and implemented a series of exciting new initiatives that have re-energized the brand.

The process began with a thorough evaluation of Naturiste’s mission, motivations, customer habits, and market trends. The results of the analysis facilitated a significant shift in both brand identity and core values, and subsequently, the company’s target market. Naturiste will now cater to a more youthful clientele - in their early 40’s. This new consumer is active and energized, mindful and communicative. 
Here’s an overview of some of the major changes.

Tradename & Logo - Naturiste is a company focused on natural products and natural solutions. In this regard the ‘r’ in Naturiste has been designed to look like a tree to help communicate a very strong tie to nature and health and wellness. A fresh new look. And yes, the ‘Le’ is no more. 

Website - Launched earlier this month, the new site is visually pleasing, more personalized, highly educational, with many unique features. Test your Health, Ask a Naturopath (for those of looking to know more about what ails them), a section dealing with  natural products for children. Healthy recipes; they got that too.

Packaging and labelling - I reached out to Nauriste co-owner, Stephen Rosenhek, to solicit his insight on the changes. Stephen noted that ‘consumers have indicated that they are confused about what exactly Natural Health Products (NHPs) do.  In order to help the consumer we have a multi-pronged approach.  Firstly, our products are arranged by product universe that address specific issues or themes.  i.e. Heart, Joint Care etc.  All of our products in a given product grouping will carry the same colour label to give the consumer a visual clue.  Such as all cardio products carry a red colour label.  Since some products can be useful in more than one category we developed a “pastille” (little colour coded icon indicating the product category) system so a label may have more than one pastille. All labels clearly say the name of the product and its principal benefits.  All products also show their Health Canada license number as well as the specific license information (product claim) that health canada has approved.  All of this is designed to give the consumer more information and clarity and assistance.’ The new approach is informative, smart, and simple to navigate.

Product development - The company is investing important capital in R&D. In September, Naturiste launched its own private, sport nutrition brand - PE 2.0. Also, the company is poised to introduce a natural sun cream line, as well, a new natural body care line. 

Store Design - Naturiste hired award winning retail designers GHA, to create an interactive, engaging customer experience that embodies company’s new vision and direction. The new design prototype feels natural and warm and incorporates a plethora of visual touch points. The renderings (see attached) are absolutely fantastic. This not your mother’s Naturiste.   

Naturiste has also become actively philanthropic and is now committed to giving back to the community. Recently, the company was the main sponsor of the Eye Disease Foundation and helped raise over $75,000.  Further, Naturiste has become the lead sponsor of the UQAM Citadins (representing amateur athletes at UQAM). Also, earlier this year, as part of a special promotion on women’s issues, Naturiste provided 10% of its sales revenue to numerous women’s shelters in Canada.

Stephen and Melanie have done an outstanding job re-positioning Naturiste. 

Brand revitalized - CHECK!

Naturiste plans to open 5 new locations in 2014. Markets of interest include Montreal, Gatineau and Ottawa. Naturiste prefers to locate in super regional centres. High pedestrian street front locations will also be considered. Size required 1000-1250 sq.ft.

Naturiste was founded in 1968 and was one of the first companies to promote a holistic approach to health and wellness. Today, Naturiste operates approximately 68 locations in Quebec and New Brunswick. Stores specialize in the sale of (i) vitamins; (ii) sport & health supplements (iii) health and beauty products; (iv) herbal & medicinal teas; (v) protein shakes. Stores also offer on-site seminars on such topics as health, medicine, sport, and nutrition.    

For all of the latest info regarding Naturiste, please visit their new website at www.naturiste.ca.

Lole Signs Lease at Square One

November 19, 2013

Ladies activewear specialist, Lole has confirmed its next Canadian store opening will be at Square One in Mississauga. The premises (currently occupied by Capezio) is 1,133 sq.ft and is located alongside such tenants as H&M, Gap, Express, Ann Taylor Loft, A\X Armani…etc. The store will open May 1, 2014.

Lole currently operates six Canadian locations, and is bullish on further expansion. Plans call for the opening of 6 new stores in 2014. Targeted markets include Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver. High street and super regional centres are preferred. Size required 1250-1600 sq.ft. 

This year the company opened 4 stores: West Edmonton Mall (the largest shopping centre in North America), and on Toronto’s posh, Yorkville Avenue. Lole also opened in Paris at Aéroville (centre). Finally, the company opens an outlet store next week, at One Nation in Val d’Isere, one of the most prestigious ski resorts in French Alps.

Lole’s performance continues to strongly impress and clearly, the brand and products are resonating. Comp store sales are up 30% YTD.  

In addition to the above, Lole hosted over 10,000 people this summer, to its White Yoga Sessions in Paris, Toronto, Salt Lake City and Montreal. These events were magical.

Lole is owned by Quebec based Coalision Inc, whose parent company is Kilmer capital (whose CEO is Larry Tanenbaum of Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment). In addition to Quebec, Coalision Inc operates offices in the US, France and Hong Kong. The company has a total of 13 Lole stores in Canada, US, France and Switzerland.

Square One is the largest shopping centre in the province of Ontario. 1.6 million sq.ft, with 350+ stores. The property is owned by OMERS and managed by Oxford Properties. The shopping centre is anchored by Walmart, Target, Empire Theatres. Other notable tenants include Apple, Coach, Michael Kors. Aritzia, Victoria Secret, Harry Rosen, Zara…etc. Oxford just completed an $84 million renovation to the property; the common areas, restrooms, escalators and entrances have all been upgraded. The mall looks stylish and feels vibrant. Further, Oxford recently announced that Holt Renfrew will open in 2016. Construction is now underway and this project has been estimated at $320 million.

As always, there is someone who I’d like to thank and bring attention to. I have known Janet Eden for quite some time (longer than either of us would like to admit). Janet works for Oxford and is the person with whom I negotiated Lole’s transaction. I am sure that my opinion is not unique when I say that it is always a pleasure to deal with Janet. She is extremely personable. Janet is also a tough cookie who demands and has earned the respect of her many colleagues and acquaintances.   

While I cannot let the cat out of the bag just yet, stay tuned to our website, for an announcement regarding the location of Lole’s 1st Canadian outlet location.  

For all of the latest on Lole, please visit their website at www.lolewomen.com.