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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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Tumi arrives at Yorkdale with indestructible luggage and sleek, functional leather accessories

tumi-yorkdale

Tumi, the American company known for its everlasting luggage, is the latest international brand to break into Canada via Yorkdale’s newly-swanky corridors. Naturally, the Dror Benshetrit-designed space, which opened yesterday, has no shortage of signature travel cases. It’s Tumi’s sleek selection of totes, day bags and leather accessories, however, that have blossomed since shoe designer George Esquivel took over as creative director in February. Briefcases (from $145) are stylish enough for business class but durable enough to toss into the overhead compartment, while a chic leather satchel ($395) is deceptively useful, with two strap options, pockets for jewellery and an iPad, a pickpocket-proof top zipper. A handcrafted, travel-ready Mixology Set for $4,995 is a little less practical. Or more practical, depending on your mindset.

M-W 10-9, Th-Sa 9:30-9:30, Su 10-7. Yorkdale Mall, 3401 Dufferin St., 416-784-5175, tumi.com

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The Find: vintage-inspired sandals from Philip Sparks’ first women’s shoe collection

Since clothier Philip Sparks started making men’s shoes a few seasons ago, female visitors to his Ossington Avenue boutique have been begging him to produce the retro-inspired brogues and boots in smaller sizes. This spring, the Toronto designer did one better, launching a line of footwear specifically designed for women. The collection is small—just two styles in a couple of different colours—but it’s a promising start. This leather sandal in canary yellow, for instance, is a little preppy, a little vintage and very, very cheerful. $225.

Available at Philip Sparks, 162 Ossington Ave. (side entrance off Foxley Street), 647-348-1827, philipsparks.com

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Upscale vintage shop Magwood moves to Queen Street West

After two years on Dundas near Dufferin, luxury vintage boutique Magwood relocated to Queen West over the weekend. The new store, right next to Trinity Bellwoods Park, will carry vintage bridalwear and children’s clothing in addition to the selection of vintage accessories, mid-century cocktail wear and designer goods expertly curated by owner Sarah Magwood. Tailoring by an in-house seamstress will also be available starting in May.

Magwood, 886 Queen St. W., 416-818-3975, magwood.ca 

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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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Target’s prices in Canada are going to be higher than in the U.S.

A nearly-finished Target Canada store (Image: Facebook)

Bad news: when Target’s first wave of Canadian locations opens this spring, the merchandise will be more expensive than in U.S. stores. Target Canada president Tony Fisher told the Globe and Mail that prices will be set to stay competitive with other Canadian retailers, not U.S. ones. We’re not all that surprised; Canada’s steeper tariffs and fewer economies of scale mean local shoppers are used to paying a little more than Americans. That said, Target is already well-known as a discount store to legions of cross-border shoppers who’ve been exploiting the loonie’s near-parity with the U.S. dollar for years—which means they’ll likely get angry in a hurry once they notice discrepancies. Just ask J.Crew. [Globe and Mail]

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Introducing: Kate Spade New York’s first Canadian store at Yorkdale Mall

Kate Spade New York opened its first-ever Canadian location in the new wing at Yorkdale Mall last month, and it’s a candy box of a store that showcases the brand’s sweet and colourful approach to American prep. As befits a company that started out in purses (Spade is a former accessories editor at Mademoiselle), much of the real estate is given over to handbags and totes, though the label’s forays into clothing, jewellery, shoes and eyewear are all represented.

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GALLERY: The top 10 booths from the holiday One of a Kind Show

The One of a Kind Show gives Canadian artisans the chance to sell their lovingly crafted wares, and panicked holiday shoppers the chance to power-shop at hundreds of different booths in a single shopping session. If you’ve been to the Direct Energy Centre for one of the semi-annual shows, however, you’ll know the array of kiosks inside the sprawling convention hall can quickly get overwhelming. To help, we perused all the goods and narrowed it all down to our 10 favourite booths, which you can visit until the show closes on December 2.

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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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VIDEO: Watch this naked man show off Gotstyle’s new Skype shopping service

Toronto men’s retailer Gotstyle has launched a video shopping service for the very busy (or the very lazy). Here’s how it works: customers call in using Skype or FaceTime and tell in-store consultants what they’re looking for; the staff then pull pieces and hold them up to the camera for approval. If you make your purchase before 2 p.m., Gotstyle will bike-courier your loot anywhere in Toronto by the end of the workday (the shopping service is free, but the courier costs $10). Though it all sounds a little look-at-me-I’m-too-important-to-actually-go-to-the-store, the service could be handy if post-work plans suddenly change. Or, as the commercial above shows, in a few other sticky situations.

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Introducing: J.Crew’s new Eaton Centre store (which finally includes stuff for fellas)

Toronto’s male preppy set was dismayed when J.Crew opted to sell only womenswear at its Yorkdale Mall store, meaning they’d still have to to go online (or trek to Buffalo) for Cape Cod-style basics. Happily, the retailer’s second Toronto location, which opened yesterday in the Eaton Centre, has enough room for a substantial menswear section with a separate entrance. All told, the new store occupies nearly 9,000 square feet, compared to Yorkdale’s 5,000. (Don’t expect the controversial pricing to change, though—the Canadian prices are still marked up over their American counterparts.)

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The J.Crew store in the Eaton Centre will open on October 3

(Images: J. Crew)

We finally have an opening date for Toronto’s second J.Crew store, which will be on level 3 of the Eaton Centre. As of October 3, J.Crew lovers of both sexes can rejoice (and shop) since, unlike the Yorkdale Mall location, this store will also include a men’s shop. Preppy layered looks for all!

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Target effectively calls Zellers customers old and cheap

Target’s arrival in Canada next year isn’t all sunshine and roses (or, rather, designer collaborations and cute doggie mascots). The company is embroiled in a controversy over its decision not to keep 10,000 employees who work in the Zellers locations it’s taking over—just this morning, workers and union leaders demonstrated outside Target’s Canadian headquarters in Mississauga. Target’s position is that it acquired the Zellers stores in a real estate transaction, plain and simple, and that it’s in no way a successor to Zellers (a designation that would require it to retain some union employees). In fact, the company issued a statement baldly pronouncing that “Zellers attracts a different customer base, older and more likely to be ‘empty nesters,’’’ who “spend significantly less per visit than a Target guest.” So, basically, Zellers customers are neither young enough nor rich enough for the American company. Ouch. [Huffington Post]

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Spanish mega-retailer Massimo Dutti is coming to the Eaton Centre

A look from the brand’s fall 2012 campaign (Image: Massimo Dutti)

Ladies and gents looking for urban professional attire can now add Spanish retailer Massimo Dutti (owned by the same parent company as fast-fashion clothier Zara) to their list. The brand has stores in over 50 countries and is set to launch a trio of North American outposts this fall, including a store in the Eaton Centre that will open August 30 (the other two stores will be located in New York and Washington D.C.). Massimo Dutti produces men’s, women’s and children’s attire at a price point a bit higher than Zara (women’s jackets start at around $155, men’s shirts around $85), and it’s known for its tailored garments and made-to-order shoes.

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The new giant Harry Rosen flagship store in the Eaton Centre is now open

Sporting white loafers and a summer suit, Harry Rosen himself cut the ribbon at the opening of his namesake chain’s massive new digs at the Eaton Centre yesterday morning. (The ribbon was made of Glen plaid suiting fabric, prompting Rosen’s eldest son, Larry, now CEO of the sartorial empire, to quip, “I hope this wasn’t expensive cloth.”) The new space, on the upper level of the mall overlooking Queen Street, has a tailor shop, private shopping suites and over 15,000 square feet devoted to making guys look good. The opening is the first phase of an aggressive expansion in Toronto for the menswear institution: a store twice the size of the Eaton Centre location will open in Yorkdale Mall in 2013, and the renovation at the First Canadian Place location should be revealed later this summer.

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