Holt Renfrew has leased the corner retail location at 100 Bloor Street West in Toronto, and it has confirmed by Twitter that it will open a men’s store on the site. The space’s former leaseholder was Roots Canada. Few details are known about the new men’s store which will compete with menswear retailer Harry Rosen, who’s flagship store is directly across the street.
We were first notified that Holt Renfrew was in negotiations for the 100 Bloor Street West retail space on January 13th. Immediately after, brokers and insiders began emailing us, asking for details on a new ‘menswear concept’ that they had heard would be opening in the former Roots space. Some speculated that Holt Renfrew’s men’s store would exit its 50 Bloor Street West flagship entirely so that it could relocate to 100 Bloor Street West. Not knowing details of the men’s store and realizing the space is substantially too small for an entire Holt Renfrew men’s store, we held off reporting on it until now, after the Globe & Mail revealed its research that a Holt Renfrew men’s store will open in the space.
According to lease plans provided by 100 Bloor’s landlord, the former Roots space is in excess of 15,000 square feet. The Globe & Mail reports that the adjacent Body Shop store will also close as Holt’s will occupy both retail spaces. Given the relatively small size of this retail space compared to the size of its flagship men’s store, we’re not sure exactly what Holt Renfrew has planned for the space.
For size comparisons, Holt Renfrew’s Vancouver men’s store is about 25,000 square feet. Its Calgary men’s store is just over 19,000 square feet, while its Yorkdale men’s store spans 18,000 square feet. Contemplating these sizes and also noting that Holt Renfrew plans to expand the size of its Bloor Street flagship, we were left scratching our heads wondering what Holt’s has in store for the former Roots space. We had suspected that the space could be devoted to the company’s new unisex ‘Holts Commons‘ concept, noting that Holts Commons had opened in a 7,000 square foot space at Holt Renfrew’s Yorkdale store. At the same time, we doubted that the substantial rents for this prime Bloor Street corner location would be appropriate for the mid-priced Holts Commons concept.
Menswear retailer Harry Rosen‘s 55,000 square foot flagship store is directly across Bellair Street from this new Holt’s men’s store. Harry Rosen will continue to be a very strong competitor. Its flagship carries some of the world’s top menswear designers and features shops-in-store for such luxury labels as Tom Ford and Giorgio Armani Black Label. It will be interesting to see what Holt Renfrew will attempt with a space less than a third the size of Harry Rosen.
Both Holt Renfew and Harry Rosen may find some relief now that Saks Fifth Avenue has announcedthat rather than building a massive 300,000+ square foot flagship nearby, it will locate within Hudson’s Bay’s Queen Street flagship store. A source at the Hudson’s Bay Company tells us that they expect Saks Fifth Avenue will also try to compete head-to-head with both Holt Renfrew and Harry Rosen, as well as Nordstrom when it opens in Canada.
We’ll keep you updated on Holt Renfrew’s new menswear concept on Bloor Street, as well as its renovation and expansion plans for its 50 Bloor Street West flagship store.