Thursday, October 31, 2013

H & M Coming to Winnipeg

The company has been teasing up since 2009 about coming.

There is no doubt they wanted to be in Polo Park Mall but outside of it or in was the big question. The redevelopment plans for the old Winnipeg Arena and Canad Inns Stadium probably played a part in the indecision of where to go.

The company lost its nerve on the spot that Forever 21 eventually chose in the mall. The thinking was: Will there be enough traffic down that corridor? How wrong they were. Forever 21 has been a runaway success in the old Safeway space.

The various store closures of Safeway, McNally Robinson's and Zeller's have represented opportunities for Polo Park even when it might have first been pretty bruising losing big tenants.

The loss of Safeway allowed the mall to pick up popular Forever 21 and BCBG as two replacements. The loss of McNally Robinson allowed the mall to pick up Urban Planet in a big location.

The loss of Zellers means that just under 100,000 square feet of space comes available with three separate entrances into the space. H & M has indicated the store will be 25,000 square feet and employ around 75 people.  Although the mall was cagey about where H & M would go, it seems compelling they would be somewhere in the old space belonging to Zellers.

Old Zellers Spot Up Top

Old Zellers, one entrance inside, two outside

Now, it doesn't take a genius to realize that even if H & M moves into the spot, the space remains largely empty. It also remains configured for a large store.

Polo Park has indicated that it will in October of 2014 before the store opens. The main reason is that a reconfiguration of old Zellers is coming. While H & M might be the main attraction in the space, it lends itself to the idea that Abercrombie and Fitch and J. Crew are coming as well.

Actually expect a few announcements and more in 2014.

H & M, the big Swedish fashion retailer has been on a lot of shopper's wish list for a long time. The recent opening of a store in Ottawa saw massive line ups and excitement. There is no doubt that Polo Park will benefit strongly from the store coming to the mall.

As a footnote, five more Sears have had their leases bought out in Canada this week including the flagship store in Eaton Centre Toronto. Rumours continue to circulate that Sears Polo Park is next to go. There are at least three retailers interested with the lead going to Nordstrom's.

Big things ahead for Polo Park.

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