Mar 12, 2012
Author: MIke P.
Quebec retail giant La Maison Simons is expanding out of Quebec. The department store is set to open a location at West Edmonton Mall, spanning a whopping 100,000 square feet. Sources tell us but can not confirm that we could potentially see 12 locations across Canada within the next few years. Simons currently has nine stores throughout Quebec. The West Edmonton location should open some time in 2012. Simons is a family run business that has catered to the Quebec market for over 100 years.
“I'm gambling that there are places in the country where people are ready for a more unique, less cookie-cutter experience,” Mr. Simons said.
When Simons expanded from its base in Quebec City into Montreal in 1999, it was unfamiliar to many people in that city but quickly took off, Mr. Oberfeld said. “You walk into a Simons store and it's busy – there's action.”
The action seems to translate into business. With sales of more than $300-million, privately held Simons generates $600-plus of sales per square foot – more than three times those at the Bay, Mr. Simons said. It does it by selling $10 store-brand Twik T-shirts, similar to ones available at cheap-chic Swedish rival H&M, along with $5,000 Balmain dresses. Each store is designed differently in a bid to keep customers longer: the downtown Montreal store, for instance, features a specially commissioned $300,000 suspended glass sculpture by late Montreal artist Guido Molinari.
Mr. Simons estimated that he invests almost seven times more in his stores than the Bay, which is in the midst of a major overhaul. “I think it will pay off in the long run.”
The chain's relatively high productivity allows it to place four to five times more staff on the floor, compared with the average North American department store, he said. New items arrive daily, compared with closer to twice a year even five years ago.