Le Creuset Opening Confirmed for Sherway Gardens

May 09, 2011

We are pleased to announce that Le Creuset will open its 2nd Canadian location, and first in Ontario, at Sherway Gardens. The leased premises is 1350 sq.ft and will be situated adjacent Lululemon, Coach, William Sonoma, and Michael Kors. The store is scheduled to open in mid-August.

Owned by Cadillac Fairview, Sherway Gardens is the #6 ranked centre in Canada (#4 in Ontario) in terms of sales performance, boasting sales slightly above $900 psf. The mall has a GLA of 988,000, with approximately 210 stores.

I'd like to thank Bob Ryan (CF Director of Leasing Ontario Portfolio) for his help in completing this transaction.

Le Creuset opened their 1st Canadian location in August 2010 at Chinook Centre in Calgary. At present, there are approximately 118 Le Creuset (corporate) stores operating in 15 countries.

For more information on Le Creuset, please visit their website at

Pinkberry Set to Open 1st Canadian Location

April 25, 2011

We are pleased to announce that Pinkberry will open its 1st Canadian location, on July 1, at The Village at Park Royal in Vancouver. The store will be 850 sq.ft with approximately 25 ft frontage.

Park Royal is located in West Vancouver and is home to both an enclosed mall and Canada's 1st lifestyle centre. The property has a GLA of approximately 1.1M sq.ft., and over 225 stores.  Furthermore, with sales of $690 psf Park Royal is the #13 rank centre in Canada, in terms of sales productivity.

I'd like to thank Maria Holly and all of the Larco team for their help in completing this agreement.
In addition the Park Royal opening, Pinkberry has come to terms to open a second Vancouver location, on November 1. More details to follow soon.

In less than 5 years, Pinkberry has become the leader in the frozen yogurt category and has developed a cult like following with its customers. Pinkberry operates over 100 locations in the US, Middle East, Mexico. In 2011, the company has finalized plans to enter new markets such as China, Russia, Canada...etc. Also, Pinkberry expects to double its total store count in each of the next 4 years.

Pinkberry's Canadian expansion efforts continue to concentrate on the province of British Columbia. The company will consider street-front locations, super regional centres, and power centres. Centres with movie theatres are preferred. Size required is 600-900 sq.ft for an in-line store. Kiosk (250 sq.ft) locations are also of interest.

Please feel free to give us a call if you have any questions, comments, or sites that you with to proposed.

For more information on Pinkberry, please visit their website at

Livin Loud - Lole to Enter Ontario

March 28, 2011

We are pleased to announce that ladies activewear specialist, Lole (Live Out Loud Everyday) will open 2 new stores, this summer.

The first location opens June 15th, on Sherbrooke Street West, in Montreal. The premises will be 1500 square feet. Lole is set join other retailers such as Uggs, James Perse, North Face, Starbucks...etc, who have also opened, in the affluent and trendy, Westmount shopping district.

I'd like to thank Michael Doroshenko of Cromwell Management (the landlord) for all of his patience and efforts throughout our negotiations.

Drum roll please.

In July, Lole opens their first location in Ontario, on Lakeshore Road East, in Oakville. The premises will be approximately 2000 square feet. Lakeshore Road East boasts a very strong, upscale shopping market, which is home to many terrific retail brands including,  Roots, Urban Outfitters, Lululemon, Tommy Bahama..etc.

My compliments and thanks go out to Kartik Ganatra for his assistance and tenacity.

In addition to the above, we anticipate the opening of one more Lole store in 2011. Super regional shopping centres in Ontario, are of interest. Size required is approximately 1500 square feet.

At present, there are two Lole stores; one in Montreal and the second, in Geneva.

Don't forget to check out the Lole App on ITunes - LolePop. Download your photos and they will be displayed in Lole's stores. Cool.
For more information on Lole, please visit their website at

Fossil - Record Sales and Earnings

March 10, 2011

Late last month, Fossil Inc released it's 4th quarter results for 2010; the results were outstanding.

Fourth Quarter Results (2010 vs 2009)

- Net sales increased 32.8% to $701.1 million compared to $527.8 million
- Gross Profit increased 34.5% to $400.1 million, or 57.1% of net sales, compared to $297.6 ,million, or 56.4% of net sales;
- Operating income increased 38.5% to $149.5 million, or 21.3 of net sales, compared to $108 million, or 20.5% of net sales
- Net income increased 38.1% to $96.7 million compared to $70 million
- Global retail comps Increased 20.3%

Fiscal Year Results

- Net sales increased 31.2% to $2.03 billion compared to $1.55 billion
- Gross Profit increased 36.7% to $1.16 billion, or 56.9% of net sales, compared to $0.84 ,billion, or 54.6% of net sales;
- Operating income increased 77.9% to $376.4 million, or 18.5 of net sales, compared to $211.6 million, or 13.7% of net sales
- Net income increased 83.4% to $255.2 million compared to $139.2 million

Fossil is prepared to open approximately 6 Canadian locations in 2011, and are targeting super-regional malls. Size required is 1500 sq.ft (with minimum of 23.5 ft storefront).

In addition, Fossil is also seeking to open one Fossil Outlet in Ontario or Quebec in 2011. Size required is 3000-6000 sq.ft.

Fossil is also now prepared to open the first Watch Station store in Canada, which specializes in the sale of all licensed brand watches (Michele, Burberry, DKNY, Armani...etc).  

Fossil operates 360 corporate stores in 15+ countries.

For more information on Fossil, please visit their website at

Should you have any questions, comments, or require additional information, please contact me.

Hot Fudge Alert

March 02, 2011

We are pleased to announce that Hot Fudge will open it's 2nd store, in August, at Les Riveres shopping centre in Trois Rivieres, Quebec.

The new store is 1326 sq.ft, and will be strategically located at the mall's 50 yard line, facing Garage, Ernest, and Melanie Lyne. The store is situated on a corner and has two side frontage and over 45 foot of total storefront.

Hot Fudge has been all the rage in Quebec City since opening last year at Place Laurier. Their unique store design and visual presentation, phenomenal assortment of fashion accessories, and have strongly resonated with their core demographic.

A little history.

Hot Fudge was founded by Joey Labrecque. Joey and I met some 10 years ago, when he began to work for his family, who own and operate another successful fashion accessories chain by the name of Bizou. I had already been employed by Bizou for approximately 5 years, working with Joey's father Marcel (who himself is an exceptionally talented individual) in regard to developing, updating, and implementing Bizou's real estate strategies. Joey had a tremendous work ethic and quickly learned both the operations and real estate side of the business. Joey learned from a master in Marcel for 10 years, and then courageously made the decision to further his explore his own dream - Hot Fudge

Joey's success with Hot Fudge is well deserved. He works tirelessly to ensure his store is operating optimally and he is omni-focused on the newest trends. On a personal level, Joey is an exceptionally kind and humble person, who values his both his work-team and family. It's easy to see why there is much interest from the financial world to participate and support Hot Fudge's expansion program.

Les Rivieres is an excellent mall for Hot Fudge 2. The mall has 140 stores and is the dominant fashion mall between Montreal and Quebec City.

I'd like to thank Eric Fortier of Ivanhoe Cambridge for all of his efforts in completing this transaction.

Should the right opportunity present itself, Hot Fudge is prepared to open one more location in 2011. Super-regional shopping centres in Montreal, Quebec City and Ottawa are of interest. Size required 1300-1600 sq.ft

Keep up the good work Joey!  

Canada Continues to Attract Top US and International Retail Chains

February 11, 2011

The cat is out of the bag.

Canada has become a growth vehicle for US and International retailers, who are now entering the market in droves.

Several retailers have announced that they will open their first Canadian locations in 2011. They include J Crew, Express, Dick Sporting Goods, Zumiez, Intermix, PF Changs, Juicy Couture, 7 For All Mankind…etc.

As noted in my blog last week, the reasons for the recent invasion are plentiful.

Not to be redundant, and because we all appreciate being bottom lined. The main factor behind the newfound love affair with Canada is simple. Canadian retail divisions outperform their international and US counterparts, in both sales and profits.

I've listed four (4) articles for your review, that I trust you will find of interest.

1) Flagship Shops flock to Vancouver - Globe and Mail
2) How Yorkdale got its groove back  - The Toronto Star
3) Alberta retail sales grow more than the rest of the country - Calgary Herald
4) Quebecer's personal disposable income grew in 2010, as did retail sales - Montreal Gazette

Retail and economic growth are pervasive throughout Canada and not isolated in selected smaller pockets. These articles illustrate the strength of several Canadian markets such as Vancouver, Alberta, Toronto, and Montreal.  

I have just begun preparations for my trip to Los Angeles next week, where I will be meeting with Pinkberry's real estate director, Elizabeth Hanauer, company CEO Ron Graves and the rest of the Pinkberry team. At this meeting, we will be reviewing and assessing several high profile real estate opportunities. I will hope to announce next week, the location of Canada's 1st Pinkberry. Notwithstanding, I can now confirm that not only was Vancouver the host of the last year's winter Olympics, but it will be home to the country's 1st Pinkberry.

My company Think Retail specializes in working with US and international retailers looking to expand into Canada. We have developed a formula which is result driven and value added.We provide our clients with information, demographics, sales trends and an array of other timely and key services (such as referrals to designers, architects, lawyers, contractors...etc) . Once an action plan is approved, and sites have been identified, we will quickly bring forward numerous flagship real estate opportunities (many of which that never reach market) that frequently become high volume, high profit, cornerstone locations.

Last year we successfully developed and managed the Canadian entry program\strategy for cookware icon, Le Creuset, who opened its 1st Canadian location (on August 19) at Chinook Centre (Alberta's top performing super-regional shopping centre). To date the store has been wonderfully received by Albertan shoppers and sales are 23% above budget. Mall landlord, Cadillac Fairview are justifiably impressed. In this regard, I am pleased to announce that Le Creuset's 2nd Canadian location opens in early summer at Sherway Gardens in Toronto (another Cadillac Fairview Mall). Sales for Sherway and Chinook Centre exceed $900 psf.

We also worked closely with ladies active wear manufacturer, Lole, who opened their 1st Canadian store on St Denis st in Montreal. To date, the results to date, have been fantastic. We are now near to announcing the locations for three (3) additional Lole stores, including the company's first stores in Toronto.

We have developed a very compelling story in Canada and I think you should give immediate consideration to expanding your business into Canada. Furthermore, with recovery in the US still on a slow burn, your capex would be far better (and I mean far better) spent north of the border.

I would be very pleased to exchange ideas and information on the Canadian retail\real estate climate, and map out how Think Retail can assist you with your Canadian expansion.

Please feel free to contact me at anytime.