Lolë pops up in British Columbia

April 30, 2016

Earlier this year Lolë unveiled groundbreaking plans to open several pop-up shops in 2016 and we are pleased to announce the first two locations—Uptown in Victoria and Orchard Park Shopping Centre in Kelowna, B.C.
Agreement has also been reached to open a third pop up in the province—details coming soon.
These inaugural locations are the ideal venues for Lolë’s unique pop-up approach, one that is designed to elevate brand awareness and test new markets.
Uptown is a sophisticated open-air shopping centre in the heart of Greater Victoria. The mall is home to a wonderful array of tenants, providing a luxurious mix of fashion, food and more. Orchard Park is Kelowna's premier mall with more than 170 retailers and  services.
In addition to the initial three stores, the company is interested in opening more pop-up locations, with a strong focus on British Columbia and Ontario. The scope is national, with the exception of Ottawa and the Province of Quebec.
Well-positioned high street spaces of 1,000 to 1,500 sq. ft. are preferred, however Lolë may also consider select super regional malls.
There is no doubt Lolë is in the midst of a spectacular period of growth, as the brand goes from strength to strength. What makes it work is its authenticity—it’s a true lifestyle brand, which has built a loyal following for its bold and beautiful activewear clothing for women.
Conceived in Montreal’s Longueuil area in 2002, Lolë is now part of Quebec-based Coalision Inc., which boasts an impressive team with offices around the globe.
2015 was a banner year for company, which opened several flagship locations—debuting in Calgary with a 1,350 sq. ft. store at The Core in Calgary; opening a 2,476 sq. ft. marquee flagship store at 954 Rue Ste-Catherine West in Montreal; setting up a 1,500 sq. ft. store at shopping mecca  CF Toronto Eaton Centre; and opening two outlet locations, one at Vaughan Mills, just north of Toronto, and another at Vancouver’s McArthurGlen Designer Outlet.
The retailer now has more than 30 stand-alone locations in Canada, including two airport stores and the three outlets, as well as stores in major cities around the world. Its apparel is sold in 210 “shop-in-shops” and available at more than 1,600 retail outlets worldwide.
Lolë has proven to be a master of all things retail, from design to marketing, customer relations and expanding its footprint in the right markets. To find out more about this phenomenal Canadian brand and its pop-up plans, contact the Think Retail Team.

Bizou charts new territories with exciting expansion plans

April 29, 2016

We are thrilled to announce that Bizou is now open at Galeries d’Anjou in Montreal and Galeries de la Capitale in Quebec City.
It’s been a busy first quarter for this Canadian success story, which started as a single Montreal boutique in 1984 and has grown to an international network of 128 stores and counting.
Founded by veteran retailer Marcel Labrecque, Bizou is known for its ladies fashion jewellery and accessories. The majority of its stainless steel and sterling silver collections are the unique work of a trend-setting team of in-house designers, who travel the world for inspiration.
Now the company itself is a retail inspiration and we at Think Retail are excited to work with Bizou as it charts new territories.
Last fall, Bizou ramped up its foray into Ontario, opening at two notable regional shopping centres—a 600 sq. ft. boutique at Georgian Mall in Barrie, Ont. and a 750 sq. ft. store in Ottawa’s St. Laurent Centre. (Bizou also opened its second store at Montreal-Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport and a new 800 sq. ft. inline store in Les Promenades Gatineau.)
As part of its goal to further expand its footprint in Ontario, the company will soon announce a new deal at a super regional mall in the province. Two more openings are planned this year and the focus is on 500 to 850 sq. ft. in regional and super regional shopping centres, with strong co-tenants, such as, but not limited to, H&M, Zara, Sephora, Banana Republic, Fossil and Victoria’s Secret.
Bizou itself is an ideal co-tenant with a strong fashion appeal and modern retail experience that incites a loyal following: It’s no wonder sales have increased for six straight years. This is truly a company on the upswing and the potential is massive.
Further afield, Bizou continues to go from strength to strength building its global retail presence (it opened its first international store in 2013 at La Toison Dor in Dijon, France and the following year debuted in Saudi Arabia).In February, the company opened its first location in Bahrain and is to open in September at Mirqab Mall in Qatar. In addition, Bizou has just signed license agreements in Kuwait and Oman—four stores are slated to open in these markets in the next 12 months.
Think Retail has worked with Bizou for nearly two decades and it is a thrill to watch this Canadian retailer chart new territories—both in terms of unique product designs and its growth on the domestic and international fronts. For more information about Bizou, visit or contact the Think Retail Team.

IN by Surplus debuts at CF Markville Mall

March 22, 2016

The inaugural IN by Surplus opened its doors at CF Markville Mall in Markham, Ont., marking the first full-price premium brand boutique by the innovative team who founded the popular off-price retail concept, Surplus Clothing.
Surplus Clothing was born in Montreal in 1999 when its first bricks and mortar boutique opened on trendy St.-Laurent Street in the city’s Mile End neighbourhood.  
The focus was, and continues to be, on affordable luxury brands—including Diesel, Scotch & Soda, Fred Perry, and more—at discount prices. Today there are four off-price outlets—two in Quebec (downtown Montreal and Tanger Outlets Saint-Sauveur) and two in Ontario (Outlet Collection at Niagara and Heartland Town Centre in Mississauga), as well as a strong online presence. 
Now the entrepreneurs are taking on a new and exciting challenge. At Think Retail we’re thrilled to again partner with the Surplus team, this time on their latest retail vision, an in-mall shop featuring a curated collection of marque brands.
IN opened last week to great acclaim and this new concept is no doubt the start of something big. 
“We wanted to do a full-price store in mall and this is a testing ground,” says Jones Liang, one of the retailer’s partners, adding if IN by Surplus is well received, he’d like to expand the concept in more enclosed malls. 
CF Markville is the ideal location for the brand’s launch. It’s a shopping mecca that is home to more than 160 premium retailers from Aritzia to Coach, Fossil, Michael Kors, J. Crew and more. Cadillac Fairview recently completed a $110 million redevelopment of the property, transforming it into a world-class shopping destination and perfect launch space for IN by Surplus.
Already the new store is attracting a strong following of fashion-forward consumers drawn to the retailer’s curated selection of top-quality on-trend merchandise. 
IN is a multi-brand concept with a strong focus on denim and footwear, with more than 10 different high-profile footwear fashion brands.
The 3,000 sq. ft. space is well designed, reflecting the company’s signature vision. It’s hip and sleek, with dark woods and muted colours offering the perfect backdrop to an array of brands that are displayed in a welcoming and consumer-savvy way, with the feel of a boutique, but a vast selection nonetheless—it’s skilled merchandizing at its best. In addition to racks and tables of unisex apparel, footwear and accessories are showcased on metal and glass cubed shelves for easy browsing with an upscale feel. 
We are excited by this new concept and anticipate that IN will be a great success. At the moment, no new stores are planned, however the team is watching closely and after a few months (with the right feedback) is committed to moving forward and introducing the concept in more enclosed malls. 
For more about the Surplus Clothing and its new In by Surplus, visit or contact the Think Retail Team

MAC teams up with Think Retail for flagship deal

March 14, 2016

At Think Retail we always welcome the opportunity to work in tandem with a retailer’s in-house realty expert to help secure an ideal property.
Such was the case when Michael Riney, Director of Real Estate for MAC Cosmetics, hired us to find the perfect spot to open a flagship store to replace the company’s concession in La Maison Ogilvy. 
The goal was to find a marquee Montreal location for this iconic Canadian-born brand. 
Founded in Toronto in 1984, MAC is now headquartered in New York City as part of the Estee Lauder Companies. It all started when makeup artist and photographer Frank Toskan and salon owner Frank Angelo became frustrated by the lack of makeup that photographed well, so they decided to create their own. At first, they made the cosmetics in their kitchen and sold them straight from the salon to fellow makeup artists, as well as models and photographers. Word soon spread and the brand gained recognition around the globe: Today MAC is sold in more than 105 countries and operates more than 500 independent stores. MAC is one of the world’s top three makeup brands, delivering annual sales in excess of US$ 1 billion. 
As a global beauty phenomenon, not just any location would do. The company was looking for something special. 
By tapping in to our extensive contacts and relationships, we were able to identify an ideal off-market location in the heart of Montreal’s shopping district. (The space was home to footwear retailer Spring) 
Located at Saint Catherine Street West and McGill College Avenue, this high-profile corner location is ideal for MAC in every way. 
The Confederation Building at 1253 McGill College Avenue is an 11-storey building owned by Polaris Realty. The first two floors feature retail, while the others house offices, including Google. The space is home to several complimentary and high-profile tenants, including Keihl’s and Les 3 Brasseurs. 
The neoclassical building has a European feel, with a classic exterior and modern renovated interior.
It’s a marquee building in a marquee location, perfect for a marquee brand like MAC Cosmetics—mission accomplished. 
For more on how we can use our extensive industry and market knowledge to help your company find the right location, contact the Think Retail Team.

Change of Scandinavia unveils Montreal flagship

March 11, 2016

Change of Scandinavia unveils Montreal flagship
Leading lingerie retail brand Change of Scandinavia is celebrating the opening of its 15th store in Canada, an impressive flagship space in downtown Montreal.
We were delighted to officially partner with this exciting brand last summer and in December announced the deal for Change to open this new 1,200 sq. ft. store at Place Montreal Trust. 
This trendy shopping centre is a synergistic fit for the Change brand. Owned by Ivanhoe Cambridge, the 320,000 sq. ft. fashion centre is strategically situated at the corner of famed Sainte Catherine Street and McGill College Avenue. It features more than 60 shops and services, including top-tier retailers, Fossil, Jack Jones, Little Burgundy, Urban Behaviour, Vero Moda, Zara and many more. 
As a fresh and exciting brand with a strong following around the globe, Change is the ideal tenant with a well-defined visual identity. Its boutiques are beautifully designed, with an intimate upscale feel. Its stores are a destination space for its loyal fanbase, which comprises a variety of age groups made up of people who shop for lingerie several times a year. Its Club Change loyalty program is a popular sales tool because members love its very generous bonus scheme. 
About 75% of revenue is derived from the sale of underwear and bras, which are designed in Denmark and manufactured at Change’s own factories. Research confirms women are fiercely loyal to the brand because of its vast selection in more than 100 different sizes (up to K cup) in 10 different models, offering a perfect fit for all shapes and sizes. 
The company is also drawing in customers who admire its loungewear, swimwear, nightwear, stockings and men’s underwear lines. 
Change of Scandinavia has become a worldwide phenomenon. The company launched in Denmark 1995, first as a private label brand before opening its first stand-alone retail store in Copenhagen in 2001. The popular concept soon grew across Europe, and then into Asia and North America—today it has more than 200 corporate and franchise stores around the globe. 
Change debuted in Canada in 2006 and today has five stores open in British Columbia, one in Saskatchewan, five in Ontario and four in Quebec. Most locations are about 950 sq. ft. and generate average sales of $550 psf in major shopping centres—Park Royal, Metropolis at Metrotown, Oakville Place, Rockland, Coquitlam Centre and The Promenade Shopping Centre to name a few—as well as high streets, including Toronto’s Queen West.
We are excited to work with Change is it ramps up growth in Canada. The focus is on securing spaces of 500 to 1,000 sq. ft. in super regional malls in Montreal and Toronto.
For more about the brand and its growth plans in Canada, visit or contact the Think Retail Team.

Must Read: Without Losing Its Heritage, Filson Finds The Cool Crowd

February 17, 2016

It’s always fascinating to watch a traditional retail brand reinvent itself, while remaining true to is heritage. Filson is doing this beautifully. 
The 120-year-old Seattle outdoor clothing and luggage maker has gone from simply stalwart to somewhat sexy in the hands of its new owners, Dallas-based private equity firm Bedrock Manufacturing. 
The brand—the faithful go-to for hunters, ranchers and fishermen—is fine-tuning its collections and expanding its customer base to include a new generation of cultural players, drawn to the retail brand’s authenticity.
In an insightful piece in The Seattle Times, writer Hugo Kugiya explores “the company’s attempt to gently toe that fine line between honoring its history and the need to adapt to the marketplace.”
He talks about how the new tastemakers, from designers to indie-band members, are drawn to the Filson brand: “As they have embraced hog butchery, single-gear bicycles, backyard chicken coops, Mumford & Sons, and Appalachian beards, so have they embraced brands like Filson that trade on a sense of shared heritage. This is a demographic that covets Filson garments the way they might value raw, selvedge denim jeans, another early 20th-century product recently rediscovered.”
Bedrock is well aware of the appeal and fueling the fire with simple updates to its collections, including a more modern cut for its popular cruiser jacket. Dubbed the “Seattle” it sells alongside the traditional “Alaska fit” (so as not to alienate the retailer’s loyal customer base). 
Bedrock is good at this. It also owns Detroit-based Shinola, which we wrote about earlier this fall, and seems to really understand how to take a brand’s history and make it a huge asset.
Like Shinola, Filson has a great “Amercian-dream” backstory with its strong working-class roots in the Seattle area. Former train conductor Clinton Filson opened his retail outpost in 1891. He went on to patented the iconic cruiser jacket in 1914 and today the company sells everything from long underwear to a vast assortment of quality leather bags for men and women—bags can cost up to $900, but are guaranteed for life. 
In a world of fast fashion, Filson is proving itself an heirloom brand with staying power. I look forward to watching how the brand takes advantage of this moment in its long history and I encourage you to read The Seattle Times piece: “Without losing its heritage, Filson finds the cool crowd.”
Drop me an email and let me know that you think.