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

Caesars Tea - Now Open!

March 09, 2012

We are excited to announce that on March 9, 2012, Caesars Tea opened their first location in downtown Montreal, underground from Simons in Carrefour Alliance Industrielle, just adjacent the food court.

From traditional teas to unique and exclusive blends, Caesars Tea offers an incredible selection of over 150 premium loose-leaf teas, along with tea accessories and more. Free samples of delicious and innovative blends are always available and the teas we have sampled so far have been outstanding. Be sure to stop by for a soothing visit when in downtown Montreal.

I'd like to thank Philippe Leduc from the Ahern Group, for bringing forth this opportunity and for his assistance in negotiating this transaction. Philippe is a great deal maker and a pleasure to work with.

For 2012, Caesar’s Tea is seeking to open an additional 2-4 new locations in regional and super regional malls in the province of Quebec. Size required in 300-600 sq.ft.

For additional information and leasing opportunities, please contact Michael Stroll at (514)731-7936.

Bizou Taps Award Winning GHA To Develop Exciting New Design Prototype

February 21, 2012

Quebec based fashion accessory specialist Bizou, announced last week that it is planning a complete store design overhaul and has engaged highly decorated design firm, GHA Design to develop the new design prototype.

Founded in 1985 and operating out of offices in Canada and The United States, GHA Design is an international leader in both retail store and shopping centre design. In 2011 alone, GHA won 5 awards from the ICSC, 5 from the Retail Design Institute and 2 from SADI.

Bizou continues to be laser-focused on their operations and the results are impressive. Comp store sales have now increased four consecutive years.

Bizou was founded in 1982 and operates approximately 130 locations spread across 6 provinces, from Newfoundland to Ontario.

For 2012, Bizou is looking to open 4-6 new locations in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. Size required in 600-1000 sq.ft. in regional and super regional malls as well as high pedestrian street-front locations.

For more about Bizou, please visit company’s website at For additional information and leasing opportunities, please contact Michael Stroll at (514)731-7936.

Lole Announces Next Opening at West Edmonton Mall

February 20, 2012

We are pleased to announce that ladies activewear specialist, Lole, will open its first store in Western Canada, at West Edmonton Mall (WEM). The store, 1250 sq.ft, will be strategically situated on the mall's upper level, adjacent Hugo Boss, and facing Apple. The store is scheduled to open in mid-summer and will incorporate all of Lole's unique design features, such as the Live Green Wall, Social (iPad Wall), the Community Table, and Lole Pantry.

Catering to the active woman, Lole stores specialize in the sale of technical, versatile and feminine fashion apparel for urban woman. Further, all locations offer free exercise meet-ups twice weekly at the local park, as well as, lectures given by yoga\pilates specialists, and nutrition experts. Tea and fruits are served daily at each store location.

There are currently 6 Lole stores: two in Toronto, two in Montreal, and 2 in Europe (Paris and Geneva). The company will continue its Canadian expansion program in 2012. Markets of interest include Alberta and Ontario. Size required is 1250-1500 sq.ft. Property-type: super regional malls and downtown high streets.

In addition to the above, I am told that, should the right opportunity present itself, Lole may be willing to consider opening in British Columbia, in 3rd or 4th quarter of this year.

Lole is owned by Quebec based, Coalision Inc. (owners of Orage and Paradox), whose combined sales are approximately $100M. Coalision itself, is majority owned by Kilmer Capital (whose CEO is Larry Tanenbaum of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment).

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 powerhouse that breeds top performing stores. A full renovation of the mall began in September 11; completion is scheduled for 1st Q 2013.

I want to thank Triple 5's, Faran Maleki, for her help on this transaction. Faran is both energetic and enthusiastic; further she is very passionate about WEM. Great job Faran.

For additional information on Lole, please visit their website at

Take a look as well, at the LolePop app available on iTunes.

Fossil Acquires Skagen Designs

January 18, 2012

We are pleased to announce that Fossil, Inc. has agreed to purchase Skagen Designs, Ltd. for approximately $236.8 million.

Skagen Designs is an international company that offers contemporary, Danish designed accessories including watches, sunglasses and clocks. The company’s corporate headquarters are located in Reno, Nevada; as well, they operate regional offices in Denmark, Hong Kong, Germany, the U.K. and Canada. Skagen products are sold in 75 markets globally with company-owned retail stores in Denmark, Germany, U.K. and Hong Kong. The first Skagen flagship store in The United States recently opened at Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus, New Jersey.

Charlotte Jurst, co-founder of Skagen commented “We have long admired Fossil and believe they will bring great passion and vision to our brand”. “The opportunities for Skagen under the Fossil umbrella are endless and we look forward to building this wonderful brand”, added Henrik Jorst, co-founder of Skagen.

Fossil’s CEO, Kosta Kartsotis, said “It is a great privilege to join together with our Skagen colleagues to share their Danish history with the world. Skagen is unique and has enormous potential as a lifestyle brand. We see many similarities in the history and values of our two companies and look forward to creating something greater together.

With so much excitement already happening within Fossil, we are delighted to be able to report on yet another exciting transaction. The opportunity for Skagen to further develop as a lifestyle brand in parallel to Fossil is tremendous, and mutually beneficial to each respective company. Stay tuned to future blog posts for updates on how this new exciting relationship develops…

Fossil products are sold in 123 countries. The company operates 360 company owned stores. For more information, please visit Fossil's website at