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

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.