Fossil's Stock Continues to Soar

May 04, 2012

I saw an interesting article last week in WWD. The piece was titled Economic Anxiety Hits Stocks. The feature was like many others that we have grown familiar to reading about. Hard times at home causes a tightening of the belt and purse strings and expenditures are subsequently reduced. What caught my eye in this piece was the chart titled 'Still Way Ahead'. The chart listed in order, those global fashion retailers who have bucked the trend and have seen their stocks flourish. In our business, two of the strongest performance indicators are comp sales and stock activiity. I have attached the chart hereto and am pleased to point out that Fossil Inc ranks #4 on the list. At closing yesterday, Fossil Inc's stock price was $136.36, an increase in excess of 70% since the beginning of the year. It's also worth noting that the price of Fossil's stock is double that of any other brand featured in the chart (which includes Lululemon, Kenneth Cole, Michael Kors, Prada, Gap...etc). I can't say that I am surprised. After all, Fossil is the only global fashion brand to have reported double digit comp store increases for 8 consecutive quarters. Outstanding. Further with each new earnings release, the company continues to reach record levels in Net Sales and Gross Profits.  

There is a 3rd major performance indicator that people in the shopping industry are quick to look at - sales per square foot. In Canada, Fossil continues to be an uber performer, with median sales in excess of $1000 psf.  

Fossil operate approximately 20 stores in Canada, and are prepared to expand, in the following targeted markets: Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Size required:1200-1500 sq.ft. Property-Type: Super regional centres, Downtown street-front, and lifestyle centres. In addition, the company is actively seeking outlet opportunities in all of the above-noted cities. 
Opening Soon - Mapleview Mall (Burlington, Ontario) and Halifax Shopping Centre (Halifax, Nova Scotia).  

We're just dotting the i's and crossing the t's on several new major Fossil deals. Stay tuned for more details.

FYI - Fossil plan will open 75 stores globally in 2012. 

For additional information on Fossil, please visit their website at

Their Success is Our Success: New Think Retail Case Studies

May 03, 2012

Here at Think Retail we love success stories. It means we’ve done a good job of helping our clients find the best locations for their businesses. Sometimes this is easier said than done, but in the end if the client’s happy, I’m happy.

In this regard, I am pleased to share with you two new case studies that detail the work done for both Pinkberry and Hot Fudge.

In the case of Pinkberry, our task was to bring the frozen yogurt giant into Canada and to secure their primary real estate targets. Although the brand is megapopular in the States it wasn't as well known here in the North. We had to work hard to educate prospective landlords and to find a way for Pinkberry to stand out from it's fro-yo and ice cream competitors. I even went to a franchisor conference in Los Angeles to learn as much about the industry as possible. We then met with top landlords and leasing senior leasing executives from Cadilac Fairview, Ivanhoe Cambridge, and Oxford Properties, and within twelve months of beginning the mandate, we had secured locations in their top three targets in British Columbia. Further, just last week Pinkberry confirmed that they will be opening in West Edmonton Mall, their top target in Alberta and the province's biggest mall. Success!

Hot Fudge was a different matter. Ee had to find retail locations for a new business, without a company track record and without any established retail stores. Further, most landlords in top malls are conservative and are more frequently inclined to transact with established and successful retailers and not young start-ups. We developed a real estate action plan and then secured meetings with top-level executives and national senior leasing directors at Ivanhoe Cambridge, Redcliff Realties, and Cadilac Fairview. We leveraged our contacts and within 2 months of commencing the mandate, we secured Hot Fudge's top target - Place Laurier. Once stores started opening, we sent out photos and gift certificates of the new locations to targeted landlords, and promoted their openings in trade publications throughout the country. Within two years of starting our project, Hot Fudge will have opened in eight locations in all of Quebec's top super regional malls. Again, success!

To read even more about what we did and how we did it check out the Case Studies page. Who knows, maybe your company will be up there next!

Pinkberry to Open in Canada's Largest Mall

April 24, 2012

Alberta, get ready for Swirly Goodness.

With great excitement, we are pleased to announce that Los Angeles based, Pinkberry will open it's first location in Alberta, at Canada's largest shopping centre, West Edmonton Mall (WEM). The premises will be 475 sq.ft and will be strategically situated on Level 1, on a corner, fronting the food court and facing Deep Sea Adventure Lake. The store is scheduled to open in mid-July. We'll be sure to post photos once the store opens.

Pinkberry is seeking to expand in Alberta and British Columbia. Super regional shopping centres, lifestyle centres, and downtown high streets will all be considered. Size required is 300-1250 sq.ft. or kiosk format - 250 sq.ft.

I want to thank Triple 5's, Faran Maleki and Don Ghermezian for their help in completing this transaction. Actually both should probably receive an award. Faran, did a great job. She showed tremendous passion in her desire to bring Pinkberry to West Edmonton Mall. Further, she kept all parties focused on the prize, throughout our long negotiations, even at those times when it seemed like an agreement would never be reached. As for Don, he could have many times thrown this deal away and opted to proceed with one of the many Pinkberry wannabes who were prepared to pay substantially higher rent. Don has tremendous vision and works tirelessly to bring best in class retailers to his centre. I am sure that he and I would agree that the Pinkberry is the perfect fit for his amazing shopping centre.

A little info on Pinkberry – Pinkkerry reinvented the frozen yogurt category when it launched in Los Angeles in January 2005. Today it is the most talked about, best tasting, premium frozen yogurt and is made with high-quality fresh ingredients. From store design to exceptional customer service to flavors and toppings, Pinkberry offers an incredible all-encompassing experience.There are currently 170 locations worldwide with that number expected to double in the next 12 months.

About West Edmonton Mall - Owned by Triple 5, the mall is 5.2 million square feet and is Canada's largest shopping centre. The property is visited annually by approximately 30.8 million people (#2 in Canada in terms of annual traffic), and ranks as the province  of Alberta's top tourist attraction. The shopping centre has approximately 800 stores, and features the World Waterpark, Ice Palace skating rink, Galaxyland - the world's largest indoor amusement park, Fantasyland Hotel. Further, the mall is home to many of today's top retail brands such as Apple, F21, Lululemon, Aritzia, H&M, Zara, AX Armani Exchange, Anthropologie...etc. With respect to performance, and sales of $700 psf, the centre is a juggernaugt that breeds top performing stores. A full renovation of the mall began in September 11; completion is scheduled for 1st Q 2013.

For more information on Pinkberry, please visit their website at

Fossil - Bringing Vintage to the Canadian Maritimes

April 11, 2012

I am pleased to announce that one of the world's hottest retailers, Fossil,  will soon open, their first two stores in Atlantic Canada.

In June. Fossil opens in Nova Scotia at Halifax Shopping Centre(HSC). The store, which is currently under construction, is 1600 sq.ft, and will carry Fossil's full line of watches, accessories, and leather goods. The store will be Fossil's flagship and only Nova Scotia location.
About HSC - HSC is located on Mumford Road in downtown Halifax. With sales of $575 psf, HSC is the top performing mall in Nova Scotia. Fossil will soon join the list of other best class retailers, such as Sephora, Hollister, Coach, Victoria Secret ...etc, who have recently opened in the centre.
My thanks to Jim Hedrich of 20 Vic for his help and efforts in completing this transaction. Jim is a seasoned pro. He is honest, direct, and no BS. A pleasure to deal with.
I can also now confirm that, in the summer of 2013 (perhaps earlier), Fossil will open in Moncton, at Champlain Place. The store, 1350 sq.ft, will be strategically situated on the mall's 50 yard line, on a corner, facing the new Sephora. Like HSC in Halifax, Champlain Place will be the only Fossil store in New Brunswick.
Champlain Place is owned by Cadillac Fairview and is both the top performing, and largest shopping centre in the province of New Brunswick.
I'd like to offer my gratitude to Dave Azran of CF. for his efforts in putting this deal together. Dave is always passionate and brings a strong level of enthusiasm to each transaction. Keep up the great work Dave.
We'll post and send out photos once these new stores have opened.
Fossil's performance in Canada has been outstanding. Average store sales are a phenomenal $1000 psf. Given this great success, there are now plans to both, accelerate Fossil's expansion and to increase the total of stores planned. Markets of interest include Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary. Property type: Super regional shopping centres, downtown high streets (Bloor, Queen St West, Sainte Catherine), and lifestyle centres. Size required 1250-1500 sq.ft.
Fossil is also very interested to open additional outlet locations (in those above-noted cities) in Canada. Size required is 3000 sq.ft.
Fossil's preferred co-tenants include: Apple, Lululemon, Aritzia, Michael Kors, Coach, Sephora, Banana Republic...etc
Finally, in other Fossil news, Fossil Inc has now completed its acquisition of Skagen Design Ltd. Stay tuned for more details on this exciting development.
Fossil is a truly global brand. The company operates 400+ corporate stores in approximately 20 countries.
For additional information on Fossil, please visit their website at

Watch Station Confirms Canadian Launch

April 10, 2012

We are pleased to announce that Watch Station International will open its first Canadian location on June 1, at Vaughan Mills, in Vaughan, Ontario. The store, 1200 sq.ft, will be strategically situated right off the mall's centre court, adjacent top brands such as Aritzia, Lululemon, Banana Republic, Tommy Hilfiger...etc.

At Watch Station, you'll find the right watch for every occasion. Their selection includes: Burberry, Marc By Marc Jacobs, A\X Armani, Michele, Michael Kors...etc.

Watch Station is owned by Fossil Inc. At the moment, there are 17 stores operating in the United States, Europe, and Asia. In terms of performance, a typical Watch Station's median store sales are in excess of $2M, a staggering $2000 psf.

Watch Station is excited about their Canadian launch and have plans to open additional locations. Markets of interest include the following: Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. Size required is 1000 sq.ft (with 23.5 ft min width). Property-type: Super regional malls, and downtown high streets.

About Vaughan Mills - The centre is owned by Ivanhoe Cambridge and is the top performing outlet centre in Canada. Sales are approximately $600 psf. Annual traffic is 13M. It should be noted that both sales and traffic have increased annually, each year since the mall's opening in 2004. The mall has a GLA of 1M sq.ft, with approximately 175 stores. The shopping centre boast an impressive list of best in class retailers such as Coach Outlet, Holt Renfrew Last Call, Lacoste, Lululemon, Aritzia, H&M, F21, Michael Kors, A?X Armani Exchange…etc.

Finally, I'd like to thank Ivanhoe's VP National Leasing, Sean Walters, for all of his help, efforts, and patience. Simply put, without Sean's assistance, we would not have completed this transaction. Sean had to intervene a couple of times to help resolve both key lease and design issues. Phenomenal job Sean.

For more information on Watch Station International, please visit their website at

Outlet Craze Set to Hit Canada

March 23, 2012

The Canadian retail landscape is about to change in a big way.

First came the announcements from major US based developers, Simon and Tanger, that both companies will build a series of outlet centres, in Canada. Then more recently, came the announcement that Europe's largest outlet developer, MacArthurGlen, will be developing, an outlet centre in Vancouver (close to the airport). But that's not all. Ivanhoe Cambridge (owners of Vaughan and CrossIron Mills, as well as, a host of top Canadian super regional centres) announced last year, that they would be opening outlet centres in Niagara  as well as one in Tewassan (BC); Tanger has purchased the Cookstown Outlet Factory in Innisfil (ON) and will completely renovate the mall, and double its size. US based Cordish Company has tweaked their plans for Woodbine Live (in Toronto), and will now open an outlet mall on the site. As well, there's much discussion in Montreal of late, regarding Lac Mirabel. It is highly anticipated that this site will soon become a Premium one (no pun intended). While I am sure there are many more projects to be announced, I think you get the picture.

Canada has become the world's largest outlet hotspot.

Of course, as a Canadian, I could not be more pleased. For years, Canadians have been forced to flock to border cities in droves, and have spent major monies in US outlet centres (Woodbury Commons, Fashion Outlets at Niagara Falls, Sawgrass Mills, Las Vegas Premium...etc). The importance of the Canadian shoppers to these projects cannot be understated (as you will see from these articles). At home, there is tremendous pent up demand on the part of these shoppers, who desperately crave these for top US and international retail brands. In this respect, it should come as no surprise that our international clients perform 20-25% greater sales in their Canadian stores than they do (on average) in the US or Europe locations. I would be re-miss not to point out that there are other market factors that contribute to this great success, such as there are far fewer regional & super regional malls in Canada, as compared to the US. Notwithstanding, you can't argue with success.

With new projects, there will certainly be new brands and concepts that will be introduced in Canada. Polo Outlet, Under Armour, Vans, Converse, Kenneth Cole, Elie Taharai, 7 For All Mankind...etc; all have either committed or in discussion for locations. Further, top international brands such as Michael Kors, Brooks Brothers, Nike, Coach, Banana Republic, Uggs, Calvin Klein, Cole Haan ...etc have likely finalized several new agreements.

Pursuant to the above, I have attached for your review, 3 great articles from VRN magazine:

1. MacArthur Glen Grabs Vancouver
2. Tanger, Riocan Acquire Canadian Outlet Centre
3. Outlets See the Value in Canadian Shoppers

I trust you will find these articles informative.

At Think Retail,  we specialize in developing Canadian market entry strategies for US and international retailers. We have successfully implemented national real estate plans for a plethora of top retail brands such as Fossil, Watch Station, Pinkberry, Le Creuset, American Apparel, Bare Escentuals...etc. Further, on our clients behalf, we secure flagship retail locations in all major Canadian cities. In addition, we provide our partners with timely market information regarding rents and trends, individual retailer sales, and mapping services (as required). Also, as you are now aware, there is not a real estate brokerage firm in the world who promote their clients' successes, louder than us.

Simply put, we are a boutique styled brokerage firm who leave no stone un-turned when it comes to enabling our clients to make great real estate decisions, as well as, prudent financial ones.

In May, I will be attending the ICSC conference in Las Vegas. I would be pleased to meet with you to exchange ideas on the Canadian retail\real estate market. Please call to schedule an appointment.

For more information on Think Retail, please visit our website at