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Mall Wars: Yorkdale vs. Sherway: Inside the big-bucks battle for our disposable income

Mall Wars: Yorkdale vs. Sherway: Inside the big-bucks battle for our disposable income

(Photographs: Yorkdale courtesy of Yorkdale; Sherway courtesy of Sherway Gardens)

In the era of e-tail, Yorkdale and Sherway Gardens, two of Toronto’s chi-chiest cathedrals of consumption, are preparing for battle. They’re undergoing colossal renos, dropping huge wads of cash and amping up the pamper factor in an effort to coax us off the couch and back into their stores. Here’s how the projects stack up.

the spend

Yorkdale: $331 million to add 298,000 square feet to the existing 1.6 million over two years.
Sherway: $335 million to add 210,000 square feet to the existing 988,000 over three and a half years.

winner: sherway

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Shop Talk: new stores and shopping websites from May 2013

Holt Renfrew spinoff hr2’s first Toronto store (Image: Kayla Rocca)

Opened


hr2
The new discount spinoff from Holt Renfrew has not one packed rack of last season’s rejects. Instead, you’ll find 25,000 square feet of current-season merch from upscale brands and designer’s diffusion lines. Learn more »
1 Bass Pro Mills Drive, Vaughan, 905-886-2427, holtrenfrew.com

Leatherfoot
The Yorkville shop has some truly beautiful handcrafted shoes for men from designers like Saint Crispin’s, Carmina and Gaziano & Girling. Shoes can be made to order, and leather accessories are also available. Learn more »
24 Bellair St. Unit 7, 416-967-3668, leatherfoot.com 

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Shopping

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Trend We Love: clothing stores charging the same prices in Canada and the U.S.

Cross-border shopping is getting less and less tempting. First, a raft of American brands opened stores in Toronto, and now a growing number of shops, including Loft, Ann Taylor, Express and Lululemon, are charging the same prices on both sides of the border. The majority of Aldo’s merchandise is also priced identically, while Abercrombie and sister brand Hollister have lowered Canadian prices from 25 to 30 per cent higher to just five to seven per cent higher (the company says duties account for the vestigial mark-up). The push for price equality can be traced to lower costs, near parity between the two countries’ currencies and that the Internet makes it possible for Canadians to find out easily if they’re getting bilked. Target, we hope you’re taking notes. [Globe and Mail]

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Square One Centre lands a massive Holt Renfrew store

Target and Nordstrom’s Canadian expansions sparked a months-long competition amongst Toronto malls to secure big-name anchor stores—and Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga has scored a high-profile player. Holt Renfrew is set to open a giant 120,000-square-foot flagship at the suburban mall in spring 2016, which reportedly means Sherway Gardens will lose the upscale department store. (It seems Holts was being coy when it downplayed rumours of the location switch late last month.) In the meantime, Ann Taylor, Loft, White House Black Market and Top Shop are all arriving at Square One later this year. [h/t Retail Insider]

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Stores

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Shop Talk: new stores and shopping websites from March 2013

Gerhard Supply, a menswear shop in the Junction, was one of several stores to launch last month (Image: Erin Seaman)

Opened


Target
After two years and more than a little controversy, the trendy mass-market giant finally arrived in Canada. Now open: locations in East York Town Centre, Centrepoint Mall, Shoppers World Danforth, Cloverdale Mall and Square One Shopping Centre.

For store addresses and hours, see target.ca


Tiger of Sweden
The popular European maker of slim-cut suits and minimalist separates opened a spacious flagship on Ossington Avenue catering to young professionals of both sexes. Learn more »

56 Ossington Ave., 416-588-4437, tigerofsweden.com


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Best Dressed

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What to wear on Valentine’s Day: three stylish outfits for women

On Valentine’s Day restaurants that are normally packed with plaid and jeans are suddenly full of suits and cocktail dresses. And why not? The Hallmark holiday is a good excuse to show off a little for your main squeeze, even if you’re just planning to grab some pizza. Below, three date-worthy Valentine’s Day outfits, from casual to come-hither.

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Stores

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Year in Review: international brands had a love affair with Toronto

Condo developers aren’t the only ones salivating over Toronto’s buoyant economy. A raft of international retailers set up shop this year, hoping to capitalize on the city’s boom times. They flocked to malls and retail strips, and every month brought another announcement of a big brand heading this way (with Nordstrom and Target also slated to open Toronto outposts, the trend isn’t showing signs of slowing). Below, a roundup of the most high-profile stores that opened in the last 12 months.

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Introducing: Loft at Yorkdale, the first Canadian store from the former Ann Taylor spin-off

Loft originally started out as a more affordable extension of the career women’s brand Ann Taylor, but a revamp in 2009 saw the label drop the “Ann Taylor” from its name. The move towards establishing a distinct identity is also apparent in the merchandise, which is much more casual and seems geared to a younger, hipper consumer than the typical Ann Taylor shopper. The price points at the Yorkdale location—the brand’s first store outside the U.S.—are also friendly to a younger buyer, with the overwhelming majority of the clothing and accessories priced at under $100.

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Random Stuff

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The best Black Friday deals in Toronto and where to find them

With American Thanksgiving nearly here, it’s time to brace for rampant, riot-like shopping. Yes, November 23 is Black Friday, the infamous American sale event when crazed holiday shoppers buy enough merchandise to put retailers “in the black” for the year. In recent years, the idea has migrated north, giving Canadians a chance to cash in on the often ridiculous discounts. Stores frequently try to keep the details of the sales hush-hush until the big day, but we’ve rounded up some of the spots in the city where you should be able to score a sale. Here, the best Black Friday deals in Toronto.

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Stores

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GALLERY: Yorkdale reveals its flashy new expansion

Yorkdale Shopping Centre’s swanky 145,000-square-foot expansion opens today, marking the next phase in the North Toronto mega-mall’s quest to corner the upscale market (a fancy food court already opened in June). Among the 30-odd new or expanded stores are the first Canadian installations of Loft (the younger, hipper label from Ann Taylor), Ted Baker London and Kate Spade New York, as well as Microsoft’s first-ever retail location outside the U.S. The suburban mall’s ability to draw buzzy retailers from abroad suggests its upmarket strategy is working.

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SPOTTED: Yorkdale’s “fashion truck” selling clothes at Front and Bay

Yorkdale Shopping Centre’s massive expansion will open on Friday, and it’s celebrating by parking a “fashion truck”  outside the Royal Bank Plaza on Front Street today and tomorrow. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on both days, the truck will sell merchandise from some of the mall’s incoming brands, including Kate Spade New York, Ted Baker London and Loft, as well as items from Ann Taylor, Club Monaco, Diesel, Holt Renfrew, Microsoft and The North Face. Sure, the stunt is a blatant attempt to capitalize on Toronto’s fervour for food trucks, but hey, it could save downtowners the lengthy subway ride up to Lawrence Heights.

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Stores

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Introducing: Ann Taylor at the Eaton Centre, the first international store from the women’s office-wear brand

Women’s office-wear retailers are battling it out on the third floor of the Eaton Centre: international chains J.Crew and Massimo Dutti both recently opened outposts there, and U.S. retailer Ann Taylor launched its first international store along the same corridor early last month (that’s in addition to the existing Club Monaco and Banana Republic locations). Ann Taylor is generally thought to be stodgier than the other two new brands, which probably compete more directly with its more casual spinoff, Ann Taylor Loft. However, the the well-constructed suits, separates, accessories and shoes are hipper—and the clientele younger—than its reputation would suggest.

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Stores

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Yorkdale Mall announces its expansion is almost complete, proves it is not the Yorkdale Mall of yesterday

Yorkdale made a big announcement today, sharing the news that its planned 145,000-square-foot expansion will be completed by Nov. 15. Among the 30 stores set to open are Ted Baker London, Kate Spade New York, Tesla Motors, Ann Taylor, Diesel, Wilfred Boutique, The North Face, an exclusive Rolex boutique at Raffi Jewellers, and Ta-ze and Joey restaurants. Holt Renfrew, Lacoste and Club Monaco will move to  larger locations within the expansion, and Loft will open in late 2012. The transformation of Yorkdale is a bit shocking—it has gone from an average mall with an Orange Julius and a Rainforest Café to the glistening, Vegas-like gauntlet of high-end shops we know today. What’s next: a roller coaster and an aquarium?

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Ann Taylor Loft is opening at Yorkdale this year (that’s right, more Ann Taylor)

Not too long ago, we found out that Ann Taylor is opening up two Toronto stores, and now it has been announced that Ann Taylor Loft isn’t far behind. The company revealed that its first Canadian Loft location will open at Yorkdale mall in 2012, and style director Alia Ahmed-Yahia says she’s “looking forward to meeting a new community of Canadian Loft girls.” We’re not entirely sure what a Canadian Loft girl is, but we imagine she has an interest in exposed duct work and concrete floors. (And now, sensible fashions.)

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Introducing: Mia Boutique, a perfectly curated one-room shop with one-offs in the Junction

Mia boutique has a little bit of everything (Image: Mia Boutique)

The place: On the westernmost end of Dundas Street West, past the chocolatiers, art galleries and cafés, a new clothing outpost has taken on the task of expanding the Junction’s fashion landscape. Mia Boutique owner Sandra Muscat is a longtime Junction resident who has both lived in and painted in the neighbourhood for the past 10 years. It was her art connections that helped her snag this location, which had been semi-vacant for the past four years, occasionally functioning as an art installation space. Although Muscat knew Mia Boutique would be a neighborhood hit, she has been surprised at how quickly her one-room shop, no bigger than Suzanne Rogers’s walk-in closet, has taken off.

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