All stories relating to Hudson’s Bay Company

The Informer

Real Estate

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The Torontification of Manhattan

Three T.O.-based real estate power players, apparently not satisfied with the dandelion-like spread of skyscrapers in our core, have invaded the high-rent mecca of NYC

The Torontification of Manhattan

Manhattanite carpetbaggers have long trekked north to snap up our real estate. Finally, the reverse is true. Since the recession, three T.O. companies have been buying up New York turf like a real-life Monopoly game. Here, the players and properties.

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The Goods

Shopping

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Team Canada’s sold-out toques are now going for $200 on eBay

(Image: Hudson's Bay)
(Image: Hudson’s Bay)

Late last week, news broke that Hudson Bay’s Team Canada toques were completely sold out—both online and in stores. The pompom-topped hats were lauded by the New York Times as one of the few semi-stylish pieces of Sochi Games apparel. At just $20, they were also a relatively inexpensive way for Canadian Sochi followers to display their patriotism. Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case. Those who missed out on securing a toque through legitimate channels will have to fork over up to $200 on eBay if they want to sport a cap for the final hockey match-ups. Apparently, we’re not the only country desperate to purchase vastly overpriced Sochi garb: the American team’s delightfully tacky knit sweaters are currently going for over a grand.

The Goods

Stores

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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.

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The Goods

Stores

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Saks Fifth Avenue is going to replace (and transform) The Bay at Yonge and Bloor

Saks

(Image: Sixty-Six Inc.)

Watch out, Holts: another luxury department store is staking its claim on the Mink Mile. Saks Fifth Avenue—which was recently snapped up by Hudson’s Bay Company— is planning to hoist their Canadian flagship at Yonge and Bloor Streets. Saks will be replacing the concrete-clad Bay location, which has been looking a little neglected while HBC poured love into its Queen West store. The mammoth space—Hudson’s Bay CEO was quick to point out to ROB that it’s “double the size of Holt’s”—will make it the world’s second largest Saks after the one on its namesake avenue in New York. The new owners are expecting to transform the space quickly, both inside and out, giving it a white façade with large glass sheets facing the street. No opening date is set, but we’re hoping that December 2014′s Christmas window showdown is going to be off the (gold) chain. [Report on Business]

The Goods

Stores

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Brika—a curated, Toronto-based version of Etsy—opens a pop-up at Hudson’s Bay

brika-hudsons-bay-pop-up

(Image: George Pimentel/WireImage)

Even the most ardent advocate of handmade goods sometimes gets overwhelmed by the dizzying realm of Etsy. Enter Brika (“bree-ka”), a Toronto-based e-retailer offering a curated selection of modern crafts, along with information about the artisans who make them. The company’s brand new pop-up shop in the Queen Street Hudson’s Bay is full of Canadian-made home decor goods, stationery and jewellery, all with a quirky-cute aesthetic reminiscent of Anthropologie. (We’re jonesing for the knitted metal jewellery from Golden Designs and the whimsical tea towels from Freshly Printed.) The Canadian creations will be at The Bay through the holidays, and are also available online alongside a larger selection of crafts from U.S.-based makers.

Brika, Hudson’s Bay, 176 Yonge St., brika.com

The Goods

Stores

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HBC buys Saks Fifth Avenue with plans to bring the upscale chain to Canada

After weeks of negotiations and rumours of competing bids, Hudson’s Bay Company has finalized a $2.9-billion deal to buy Saks Fifth Avenue and its discount offshoot Saks Off Fifth. HBC CEO Richard Baker is reportedly itching to bring the the two stores to Canada: either by incorporating the Saks banner into select Hudson’s Bay locations or by converting entire Hudson’s Bay stores into Saks stores. Either way, HBC better move quickly if it wants to strike ahead of Nordstrom’s arrival next year. [Globe and Mail]

The Goods

Stores

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Hudson’s Bay Company is looking at buying Saks Fifth Avenue

In three months, HBC has promoted luxury guru Bonnie Brooks, opened Canada’s largest women’s shoe store, hinted it wants to partner with Uniqlo and announced a Toronto Kleinfeld Bridal boutique. Now, the company is reportedly looking to purchase Saks Inc., which owns 40-odd Saks Fifth Avenue stores across the U.S. We like the potential benefits for both HBC and Canadian shoppers: Saks’ relationships with luxury designers could bring Hudson’s Bay more high-end brands and converting some existing Bay locations into Saks stores would make better use of HBC’s real estate. The acquisition would also net prime American retail locations for HBC’s Lord and Taylor banner. Still, it’s probably a little too early to get excited. Several U.S. private equity groups are rumoured to be interested in Saks and similar talks between HBC CEO Richard Baker and Bloomingdales never ended up yielding a deal. [Women’s Wear Daily]

The Goods

Stores

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Bonnie Brooks ends her five-year reign as HBC president

(Image: Bonnie Brooks)

Bonnie Brooks, the luxury retail whiz who led Hudson’s Bay’s revamp from dowdy department store to high-flying retailer, is stepping back from day-to-day leadership with a new job as vice-chairman. After becoming president in 2008, Brooks dropped hundreds of underperforming lines, like Liz Claiborne and Bill Blass, and brought in buzzier brands, like Top Shop and Coach, along with a high-end boutique that regularly draws socialites and celebrities. CEO Richard Baker says the promotion will allow Brooks to work on similar big-picture strategies for HBC’s other brands, which include 69 Home Outfitters stores and 48 Lord and Taylor department stores in the U.S. HBC chief merchant Liz Rodbell will take over as the new president. Brooks, however, will remain the public face (and voice, presumably) of the company. [Globe and Mail]

The Informer

Business

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Hudson’s Bay Company’s U.S.-based owners are taking the company public

(Image: JamesZ_Flickr)

After months of rumours, the American owners of Hudson’s Bay Company have officially announced that they’re going public with Canada’s oldest company. NRDC Equity Partners, the New York–based private group that has owned HBC since 2008, has filed for an initial public offering of shares of HBC, Home Outfitters and U.S. chain Lord and Taylor. According to the pundits, the timing is good: the Bay’s sales have jumped in the past two years (the department store was reportedly breaking even or losing money for 20 years prior), and selling shares now will ensure NRDC cashes in before revenues are undercut by incoming American giants Nordstrom and Target. All of which means patriotic Canadians eager to bring the iconic stripes home will finally be able to do so (well, one share at a time). [Toronto Star]

The Goods

Stores

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There could be no more Zellers stores in Canada by next spring

More changes are afoot within Hudson’s Bay Company: the company has announced it will close the majority of the 64 remaining Zellers department stores that were not sold to Target Corporation last year. The Zellers stores are expected to be phased out by March 2013, but a spokesperson told the Financial Post that HBC is contemplating reopening some of the locations under another name. Any hardcore Zellers lovers left out there—hey, there may be some—can take comfort in the fact that Target is scheduled to launch in Canada around the same time, so there should be no scarcity of low-cost clothing
available. [Financial Post]

The Goods

Stores

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The Bay will open at Pearson Airport in October

LS Travel Retail North America has announced plans to open the first-ever Hudson’s Bay Company airport store this October at Pearson. The shop, which will be located in Terminal 1, is slated to sell items from HBC’s signature collection: candles, sweaters and HBC point blankets, all in the Bay’s traditional four-stripe pattern. If the average traveler changes temperature as frequently as we do on a long flight, we imagine the Bay will sell a lot of blankets (and should those ever sell out, we’re picturing a red-eye flight where everyone is wearing Olympic-branded red mittens).

The Informer

Business

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Hudson’s Bay Company entertains the idea of an IPO

(Image: JamesZ_Flickr)

Rumours are swirling about an initial public offering for Canadian icon Hudson’s Bay Company. Women’s Wear Daily is reporting that HBC’s owners want to capitalize off The Bay’s recent rehabilitation—the department store has seen a marked improvement in finances since 2010 (it was reportedly running negative or break-even comp-store sales for 20 years prior to that), a Topshop expansion and reports of other retail partnerships in the works. Moreover, as Canada’s retail sector braces for Target’s impending arrival, the fact that HBC has operations both north (The Bay, Home Outfitters) and south (Lord and Taylor) of the border could be a draw to investors. In 2011, the company was exploring the possibility of listing publicly, but the idea was reportedly squashed due to market volatility. This time, Richard Baker, HBC’s governor and CEO, is remaining cagey. He told WWD, “There is nothing on the radar at the moment, but it could come at any time.”

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The Goods

Random Stuff

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Is Bloomingdale’s coming to Toronto? 

The Globe and Mail recently reported that the Hudson’s Bay Company is currently talking with Bloomingdale’s to open a “store within a store” at its Bloor Street location.  Sources suggest that this is a pre-emptive strike from HBC CEO Richard Baker, who is attempting to capture a large chunk of the high-end fashion retail market before foreign players like Nordstrom arrive (it is rumoured that Nordstrom has been scouting real estate). Sources speculate that HBC is contemplating stores in Vancouver and Calgary as well, and this move could happen as early as the fall. Read the entire store [Globe and Mail] »

The Goods

Stores

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Target will be under federal review for its lack of CanCon prior to its arrival in 2013

Before Target can land on Canadian soil next spring, the federal government has launched a review of the company’s practices to ensure that enough Canadian content will sit on the shelves. Instigated by Heritage Minister James Moore, the review, under the Investment Canada Act, focuses on Target’s future book, DVD, music and magazine offerings. The act “requires foreign investment in the…book industry to be of net cultural benefit to Canada,” says Department of Canadian Heritage spokesman James Maunder. It’s not the first time Moore has ordered an Investment Canada Act review—in 2010, the department ordered a review of big-time book seller Amazon’s proposal to set up a warehouse in Canada. The move was okayed, with conditions that Amazon invest more than $20 million, including $1.5 million for cultural events and awards, promoting Canadian-authored books abroad. Target plans to open between 125 and 135 Canadian stores, after a deal brokered with the Hudson’s Bay Company saw the retail giant purchase former Zellers locations. The American company—which employs more than 355,500 people in 1,763 stores—is 109 years old, with revenues of more than $67 billion (U.S.) last fiscal year—Walmart is the only larger discount retailer in North America. All we can say is we’ll welcome another place to buy a copy of Margaret Atwood’s latest release, Degrassi DVDs, Blue Rodeo CDs and Chatelaine all under one roof.

The Dish

Features

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Chris Nuttall-Smith on Keriwa and Bannock, two restaurants riffing on Canadian culinary traditions

Chef Joseph Bear Robe works the stoves at Keriwa, the city’s only Aboriginal restaurant

Chef Joseph Bear Robe works the stoves at Keriwa, the city’s only Aboriginal restaurant (Image: Emma McIntyre)

In the basement hallway of Keriwa Café, there’s a row of photographs showing an Ojibwa man dancing through Paris in feathered powwow regalia. From the Louvre to the Champs Élysées, the stomping, rattle-shaking man appears in hyper-saturated colour, while the City of Light behind him is rendered in muted sepia, as if to invoke a noble past. But in the final image, the dancer leans over. As you look more closely, you see that he’s fiddling with something, an iPod connected to a ghetto blaster—Sitting Bull meets the b-boy crew. “You think you know me?” the photo seems to say.

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