Simons braces for competition as retailer opens first Ontario store

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - As Simons continues its expansion push with its first location in Ontario, the Quebec-based retailer faces fresh competition from new entrants into the Canadian market.

See Full Article

Following the launch of its Vancouver location last fall, the family-owned company is slated to open a sprawling two-storey, 110,000-square-foot store on March 17 at Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga, Ont., west of Toronto.

In addition to housing menswear and womenswear on two separate floors, the Square One location will also feature a cafe and a terrace for use in warmer months.

The newest Simons store will debut just weeks after U.S. luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue made its foray into Canada with two stores in Toronto. Seattle-based retailer Nordstrom is also set to broaden its presence north of the border with three new locations in Toronto this year and next.

"I always see competition as being beneficial," Simons CEO Peter Simons said in an interview. "It's a very aggressive time in retailing where you have to be very focused on what you're doing, what you bring that's different.

"I think we bring a completely different mid- to high-range experience that relates to really how customers are shopping. They're crossing over these lines from luxury to mid-range, and I think we're creating value with unique product."

Sandy Silva, director of fashion and beauty at the NPD Group, said brand recognition "absolutely matters" when companies launch new retail locations. But keeping the momentum going requires an established domestic presence, she added.

"With Simons, potentially one could argue more on the west coast that the brand recognition may not be as strong. But because they have that Canadian on-the-ground knowledge and experience and know-how and understanding the nuances, I would say that's also an advantage, too.

"It's almost like the proverbial chess match. They both have their advantages."

In addition to an extensive range of apparel from moderately priced separates to higher-end offerings from a stable of homegrown and international designers, Simons also has sub-departments spanning the spectrum of sartorial tastes.

On the women's side, there's the youthful, style-forward Twik, Icone for the young professional urbanite and classic elegance from Contemporaine. Menswear offerings include chic eveningwear in Le 31, and trendy streetwear in DJAB.

Simons said the company has also made a concerted effort to feature Canadians in stores, from the art adorning the spaces to the items stocked on shelves, such as the new collaborative home decor line with Samantha Pynn.

Still, he admitted that the retailer still had "a lot of work to do in explaining our story," acknowledging that despite the company's longevity and cross-Canada growth, it still remains an unknown to many in the country.

"We have work to do to explain our fashion point of view, the European edginess in our design group, in our menswear, and what each of one of our sub-brands does. But for me, that's just a part of work.

"I told the buyers last week 150 years, five generations of our family worked in Quebec to build our reputation. ... We're going to spend a bit of time working on it in Toronto and Vancouver and try to spend a bit of time explaining why we're important and why we're worth coming to visit."


Latest Economic News

  • Experimental pot lab sprouting cannabis-infused drinks, new edibles

    Economic CTV News
    SMITHS FALLS, Ont. -- Nestled inside Canopy Growth Corp.'s sprawling marijuana facility outside Ottawa is a laboratory where technicians in white lab coats and hair nets bustle about, pipetting fluids into glassware as machinery hums and coloured, three-dimensional graphs flash on nearby screens. Source
  • Global vanilla prices squeeze margins for ice cream, cupcake makers

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Prepare to shell out a little more for the sweet treats of spring and summer as a global surge in the price of vanilla makes its impact at some small-batch ice cream shops and neighbourhood bakeries. Source
  • Companies experiment with killing the barcode on event tickets and in stores

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- When fans score tickets for events at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg in the future, they might notice the absence of a familiar feature: that ubiquitous zebra-styled inventory tracker bar that adorns almost every retail product imaginable. Source
  • Tickets without barcodes: Concert venues experiment with new systems

    Economic CBC News
    When fans score tickets for events at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg in the future, they might notice the absence of a familiar feature: that ubiquitous zebra-styled inventory tracker bar that adorns almost every retail product imaginable. Source
  • Canadians see possible signal U.S. ready to accept NAFTA compromise

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA -- American trade officials are showing newfound interest in a Canadian proposal for revamping NAFTA's automotive provisions as the U.S. seeks to swiftly conclude renegotiations of the continental free trade pact. And that's being taken in some quarters as a sign that the U.S. Source
  • The dirty truth about makeup and the oil change debate: CBC's Marketplace consumer cheat sheet

    Economic CBC News
    Miss something this week? Don't panic. CBC's Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need. Want this in your inbox? Get the Marketplace newsletter every Friday. Internet prices dialing up Your internet bill could get even more pricey. Source
  • After overcharging for bread, should Loblaws demand ID for a $25 gift card?

    Economic CBC News
    Jenn Iskiw says she'll be grocery shopping elsewhere after feeling betrayed by Loblaws — twice. First, for artificially inflating the price of bread for 14 years, and second, for demanding she send ID to get a $25 gift card offered as compensation for bread price fixing. Source
  • Facebook suspends data analytics firm that worked for Trump campaign

    Economic CBC News
    The Massachusetts attorney general said on Saturday her office was launching an investigation after reports that Cambridge Analytica had harvested private information from more than 50 million Facebook users in developing techniques to support U.S. President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign. Source
  • Trump's goal of 'energy dominance' could change the global balance of power

    Economic CBC News
    Fuelled by technological breakthroughs and cuts to taxes and regulation, the United States is on target to become the world's biggest producer of crude oil in the next five years. Let that sink in. The U.S will be bigger than Russia and Saudi Arabia. Source
  • How to avoid spending money on unnecessary oil changes

    Economic CBC News
    Oil changes are by far the most common service performed on vehicles in Canada. Customers pay quick lube facilities, private garages and dealer maintenance centres well over a billion dollars a year for the service. But a CBC investigation finds many of us may be changing our oil far more often than automakers require. Source