Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Retail Insider, an e-publication showcasing Canadian retail news, opinions and analysis.
In an effort to become even more exclusive, high-end department store retailer Holt Renfrew will create luxury shopping "apartments" in its Canadian stores. Referred to simply as The Apartment, the spaces will be accessible only to a handful of Holt's top customers, pending management approval. According to Holt Renfrew president Mark Derbyshire, the concept will provide "unparalleled luxury" that will eventually roll out in all its markets.
Holt Renfrew's first "apartment" opened in January at the renovated and expanded Yorkdale Shopping Centre Holt Renfrew. The 1,000 square foot space, designed by New York City-based architectural firm Janson Goldstein, features a living room, spacious dressing room with a larger private dressing area, kitchen, and an en suite bathroom. For each client's booking, fresh flowers and food of the client's choice are provided. The space can be used for a variety of purposes including wardrobing, personal styling, trunk shows and small parties.
Mr. Derbyshire recently told Women's Wear Daily, "Everything is completely tailored to meet the needs and tastes of our customer. It's an escape where you can take a friend or 10 friends. But we are very discreet as to who has access to this apartment."
Mr. Derbyshire went on to say future stores "may be bigger, some smaller," estimating its Bloor Street apartment might run 1,500 square feet.
According to the Globe & Mail, The Apartment will be available on a complimentary basis to Holt Renfrew's "high-value client" — that is, the store's big spenders and longstanding customers. New York City-based retail consultant Robert Burke told the Globe & Mail, "Department stores have realized for quite some time that a small percentage of customers can make up 65 to 70 percent of the luxury business. The department stores have become very focused on marketing and appealing to that high-net-worth spender."
Holt Renfrew's Apartments address Canada's luxury consumers at a time of unparalleled competition. Saks Fifth Avenue will open as many as seven Canadian stores within the next several years, and Nordstrom will open several stores here, as well. Harry Rosen will expand and/or renovate many of its stores within the next couple of years, while smaller independent luxury retailers are also looking to up their game.
How likely is "The Apartment" concept being developed by Holt Renfrew to succeed?