Flame On - Le Creuset Opens 1st Canadian Store

October 21, 2010

We are pleased to announce that Le Creuset opened its 1st Canadian location on September 29th at Chinook Centre, in Calgary, Alberta. The 1800 sq.ft store is strategically situated in the heart of the centre's new $277 million expansion area, on the mall lower level. Store design is first class (see photo), highlighted by the striking flame coloured exterior, and an interior which is colourful, warm, and very well merchandised. Build-out cost for this flagship location exceeded $550 psf.

Chinook Centre is the #2 mall in the province of Alberta, with sales per square foot in excess of of $840 psf. Furthermore, with the addition of 50 new retailers, the shopping centre fully expects to increase its market share. Chinook Centre now has a total Gross Leasable Area of 1.2M and approximately 215 stores. Other new retailers in this 180,000 sq.ft expansion include: Fossil, Apple, Harry Rosen, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Burberry, Coach, A/X Armani Exchange...etc

Le Creuset was founded 85 years ago, in 1925, and is located in Fresnoy Le Grand in Northern France. The company has become an iconic brand known for world quality cookware and housewares under the Le Creuset and Screwpull brand names. Since 1987, the company has been owned by Paul Van Zuydam and is self-financed. Today, Le Creuset operates over 102 store locations in 15 countries.

Le Creuset will consider opening locations on high traffic main streets and super-regional shopping centres, in affluent Canadian markets. Desired co-tenants include: Coach, Aritzia, Lululemon, Sephora, Apple, ...etc

I'd like to thank Darryl Schmidt, Senior Director of Leasing Western Region for Cadillac Fairview, for his help in completing this transaction.

Fossil Posts Record Breaking 2nd Quarter Results

October 18, 2010

I thought I would share with you some great news regarding Fossil.

Fossil had an impressive 2nd quarter, with net sales and earnings reaching record levels. Here are a few highlights of the results (2010 vs 2009):

- Net Sales increased by 30.6% to $412M compared to $315.9M
- Gross Profit rose 41.7% to $236.9M, compared to $167.2M
- Operated Income increased by 186.3% to $64.3M, compared to $22.5M
- Net Income increased by 227.8% to $54.5M, compared to $16.6M
- Comparable store sales increased 15.5%

As for Canada, I am pleased to announce that Fossil opened their 9th Canadian store, in late September in the new $277M expansion area at Chinook Centre, in Calgary, Alberta (see photo). Stay tuned for more exciting news on Fossil.

Live Out Loud Every Day - Lole Opens Their 1st Store

September 20, 2010

We are pleased to announce the opening of the 1st Atelier Lole, on St. Denis St in Montreal. The store was the creation of Groupe Cossette with the help of architectural firm Aedifica, who have done a magnificent job bringing forward  an exceptionally fresh retail design, which is highlighted by the live green walled storefront, evoking the feel of a city park. Atelier Lole is truly a one-stop shop for the active women, to shop, participate in organized training\exercise sessions in parks and yoga courses, as well as to attend presentations on such topics as health, nutrition, travel..etc. Lole are owned by Longueuil based Coalision Inc, who plan to open 40 Lole locations in North America in the next 5 years.

To view the Press Release, click here

How Sweet It Is - Hot Fudge Opens its 1st Location at Place Laurier

August 25, 2010

We are very pleased to announce that Hot Fudge has opened its first location at Place Laurier in Sainte-Foy, Quebec. The store is 1600 square feet. Hot Fudge specializes in the sale of fashion accessories, such as sunglasses, watches, hats, purses, jewelry, head-phones...etc. This multi-brand concept will feature top designers such as: Nixon, Volcom, Oakley, Ray-Ban, Michael Kors, Betsey Johnson...etc. Hot Fudge caters to the 15-25 clientele. Hot Fudge was designed by company owner Joey Labrecque, and Frederic Bernier, who did a magnificent job to bring forward a unique design that is colourful, eye-catching and completely out of the box (see photo). Hot Fudge is planning to open a 2nd location in the province of Quebec in 2011. Size required is 1500 square feet. Think Retail wishes to thank Michel Richard at Ivanhoe Cambridge for his efforts in completing this transaction.

Surge Retail International and Think Retail Form Strategic Alliance

May 05, 2010

American retail real estate advisors and brokers Surge Retail International will be teaming up  with Canadian counterpart Think Retail, with an eye on the North American market.

Retail real estate experts Surge Retail International and Think Retail have formed a strategic alliance for the North American market. The partnership, will see the two companies sharing and leveraging assets, information, resources and client bases, with the hope of gaining a larger audience.

The strategic alliance is well timed, as the global economic downturn has seen numerous US apparel retailers (such as Victoria’s Secret, Brooks Brothers, and Forever 21) expand into Canada. In fact, throughout the American retail industry, Canadian expansion is increasingly considered an effective counter to dwindling American growth, one that is safer and easier than a move to Europe or Asia.

The alliance between Surge Retail International and Think Retail positions both companies at the forefront of the retail real estate industry, creating unique continent-wide opportunities for both companies and their clients.

Surge Retail International, which is based in Massachusetts, specializes in retail tenant representation, US site selection and procurement, US strategic expansion planning, with a focus on European retailers looking to develop their business in the North American market. Current clients include All Saints, , DC Shoe, Swarovski, and Quiksilver, among others.

Montreal-based Think Retail is a real estate broker catering to international and national retailers expanding in Canada, and specializing in retail tenant representation, Canadian market entry strategies\strategic planning, Canadian site selection, and retail acquisitions. Current clients include American Apparel, Fossil, Le Creuset, and Crabtree & Evelyn, among others.

BIZOU - Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On

May 04, 2010

Over the last couple of years, fashion accessories and costume jewelry specialist, Bizou International Inc., has radically altered their business operations and the results have been fantastic.

Bizou has implemented a new aggressive inventory management system; hiring policies for store personnel have been revamped; store design has been significantly upgraded; in-store merchandising has been overhauled resulting in a dramatic improvement of their overall product display;  marketing initiatives are now focused and effectively target their core customer;  All this to say, Bizou has developed a new corporate culture which is now top line focused.

It's clear that these changes have not gone un-noticed by Bizou's customers. In a tough economy Bizou's sales have now risen in three consecutive years; 5% in 2007, 15% in 2008, and 5% in 2009.

Furthermore, greater profits have given Bizou the necessary flexibility to spend the monies required to put their best foot forward in the marketplace. In this regard, Bizou has completed store renovations in the following shopping centres: Champlain Place, Promenades St. Bruno, Place Sainte-Foy, Carrefour du Nord, and Galeries Rive-Nord. Later this year, Bizou's flagship store at Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, will be fully renovated, as well. Finally, in fall, Bizou will convert its kiosk to an in-line location in the expansion area of Galeries Saint Hyacinthe. Looking forward, the company is hoping to double its budget for store renovations in 2011.

Bizou is also primed for expansion and is currently seeking to open two stores later this year, in Ontario. The company will target regional and super regional centres in markets over 100,000 people. Optimal store size is 600-850 square feet.

As noted, Bizou has introduced a new store prototype. This new design is appealing, elegant and inviting. To see photos of the new concept, please click on the this link.

Bizou currently operates 131 stores in Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

For more information on Bizou, please visit their website at