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In a shocker move, the Bay sells its Queen and Yonge flagship to bring Saks downtown

(Image: Facebook)

(Image: Facebook)

Bloor Street shoppers who were pumped for Saks Fifth Avenue to re-vamp The Bay’s tired Yorkville space will have to put up with the department store’s drab concrete exterior a while longer. In a puzzling move, Hudson’s Bay has decided to forgo plans to open Saks at Bloor and Yonge. The company has instead opted to enter into a deal with Cadillac Fairview to sell its Queen Street flagship for $650 million and buy back the lease, bringing the city’s first Saks to the downtown property. The 150,000 square-foot, multi-floor Saks is slated to share the plot with the existing Canadian department store, but the exact division of space is yet unclear.

Though there’s been much buzz surrounding Saks’s Toronto arrival, it seems a shame to open the American retailer in a flagship that has seen such revitalization recently. After neglecting its Bloor Street outlet in favour of pouring money into the downtown space, The Bay’s Queen Street location is much trendier than it used to be. It now has the upscale White Space, which peddles the popular Brit brand Topshop, and ultra-posh retail area The Room carries designers that before could only be found at Holt Renfrew.

So why the change in heart? According to the Globe and Mail, The Bay’s CEO Richard Baker was convinced to bring Saks downtown by Cadillac Fairview CEO John Sullivan. Looks like competition is fierce for landlords wanting to cash in on the arrival of U.S. retail giants. And Cadillac Fairview’s Toronto Eaton Centre seems to be cleaning up, with American luxury retailer Nordstrom also set to take over the Sears plot at the north end of the mall. For now, the Bay’s poor Yorkville outlet is neglected again, and Holt Renfrew’s Bloor Street flagship can breathe a sigh of relief.

  • realpigasus

    Saks Quifth Stravenue

  • CynthiaC.M.

    I think it’s a good business move – The Eyesore on Yonge and Bloor is much too expensive to renovate in a short time. I believe they want to have Saks stores in Canada by 2015. There’s NO WAY The Eyesore can be fixed by that time. My theory is that at least part of the Yorkdale store will also be converted fairly quickly and by the time Nordstrom opens in both malls in 2016, Top Shop will be shut and moved over to Nordies (because the Top Shop has a contract with Nordstrom in the US).

  • Sarah

    Why wouldn’t they just put Saks in Sears, keep the Bay and get rid of the location on Bloor?

  • TORborgie

    The Americans have landed

  • Brooklin10

    I would have liked to see Saks at Yonge & Bloor. That corner and the surrounding area needs a good cleaning.! The Bay at Yonge & Queen a beautiful store, why change it!
    I hope that the historic building isn’t touched. Nordstrom is only taking part of the Sears store space, the rest is going to be new retail.

  • Daniel St. Anthony

    why would topshop’s American contract with Nordstrom be effective in Canada? As this is Canada and Hudsons Bay has the distribution rights here Nordstoms American contract is null outside of the US border

  • CynthiaC.M.

    It’s just a theory.

  • ACMEsalesrep

    “They” (Hudson’s Bay) don’t have the lease to the old Sears location. Nordstrom’s does.