We went to check out Saks Fifth Avenue at CF Sherway Gardens this afternoon, which opened on Feb 25th. This is the second location of the Saks brand in Canada, after the downtown Bay location, which opened a week ago.
The Sherway Gardens store is located in suburban Toronto (Etobicoke), and is about 143,000 square feet in size. The store occupies three floors, in a space previously occupied by Sears Canada (east end of the mall). The mall seemed busier than usual, even for a Saturday afternoon, and the parking lot was full when we got there in the late afternoon. When we eventually got inside, there were large crowds of people.
We approached the store from inside the mall, and just at the entrance, we came across two metal statues of horses – one fully grown, and one colt, created by local artist John McEwen. They feature his trademark ‘stars’ incorporated into the metalwork, and are quite intricate in their design. The artwork is titled ‘The Miracle’. Between the two sculptures there is a fountain. We saw several people taking selfies in front of the statues.
Entering the Saks store, first impressions: extremely luxurious, with a very American vibe to it – which is a good thing, in my opinion. The store was busy, lots of people milling about, and we saw quite a few people purchasing goods. We first spent time on the main floor, which features shoes, accessories, & perfume, and the selection seemed vast. There are designer highlighted areas with every brand I have ever heard of, and many that I haven’t heard of. Everything from Gucci to Prada, Dolce & Gabbana to Stella McCartney, from Armani to Jimmy Choo.
I am no fashionista, but my girlfriend, who was with me, was impressed. Prices are not cheap, but these are some of the highest-end goods on the planet.
Next we went up to the second floor, which is dedicated to women’s fashions. At the top of the escalator there is an interesting display.
The second floor features another vast selection to choose from, with everything from lingerie to furs. This is not a bargain discount store, but we managed to talk to a couple members of the staff, and they were very friendly and welcoming.
Next, back down the escalator to the lower basement level, for a look at men’s fashions. Lots of high quality stuff here, including everything from business attire to casual, shoes, ties, and so on. The basement level is not quite finished, and although the men’s section is open, they are still finishing a Saks Food Hall, which is planned to open by March 7. On this lower level there were staff serving hors d’oevres, which we sampled, a nice touch!
There is a functioning restaurant on the main floor, Beaumont Kitchen, operated by Oliver & Bonacini, which we somehow managed to miss (too dazzled by those Stella McCartney purses, I guess)!
I think one of the biggest eye openers for most Canadians when they shop in the U.S., is that there always seems to be a much greater variety and selection of merchandise available there. Today at Sherway Gardens we saw a lot of high end merchandise which may have been difficult to find here in Canada prior to the entrance of Saks into the Canadian market. I mentioned some of the well known brands, but there are literally dozens and dozens of lesser known brands with large displays in this store. Overall, I think Saks brings a very upscale addition to CF Sherway Gardens, and we wish them success. They are a class act all the way.
Interesting new video showing the pending construction of the Massey Tower condominium, located on Yonge Street in downtown Toronto….
from today’s press release…..
High-rise condo market shifts to 905
GREATER TORONTO, Aug. 23 /CNW/ – The high-rise condo market in the Greater Toronto Area continues to rise high while the low-rise suburban (905) housing market remains constrained by the acute lack of product available for sale, the Building Industry & Land Development Association revealed today.
While high-rise sales in July slipped a modest 10 per cent from July 2009, sales in the January-July period were up 104 per cent with the 11,327 units sold representing the second highest total (behind only 2007 at an astounding 13,365 units) in the last 11 years.
In what may be the first signal of an emerging trend, nearly half (46 per cent) of high-rise unit sales in July were recorded in the 905 Regions of the GTA. “Toronto has consistently commanded an 80 per cent share of all high-rise sales while 80 per cent of low-rise sales have been in the suburbs. However, that balance is expected to shift as municipalities start to conform with the Greater Golden Horseshoe Growth Plan,” said BILD President and CEO Stephen Dupuis.
With continued strong sales, the high-rise price index rose exactly 10 per cent year over year, and currently sits at $430,782 compared with $391,673 last July.
Meanwhile, on the low-rise side of the equation, sales dropped 65 per cent from last July although they still remain up 8 per cent over 2009 on a January-July basis. As noted, the inventory of low-rise homes available for sale in the GTA remains near all-time lows.
“The shortage of supply of new, low-rise housing product is reflected in the fact that nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of all new home sales in July were high-rise condos compared with the new norm of around 50 per cent,” Dupuis said, adding that the low-rise price index jumped 9.2 per cent year/year, rising from $447,950 to $489,088.
July ’10 Low Rise High Rise Total
% % %
Region 2009 2010 Change 2009 2010 Change 2009 2010 Change
Durham 238 199 -16.4% 2 1 -50.0% 240 200 -16.7%
Halton 321 47 -85.4% 35 21 -40.0% 356 68 -80.9%
Peel 453 140 -69.1% 85 328 285.9% 538 468 -13.0%
Toronto 102 40 -60.8% 1,091 658 -39.7% 1,193 698 -41.5%
York 810 252 -68.9% 145 214 47.6% 955 466 -51.2%
GTA 1,924 678 -64.8% 1,358 1,222 -10.0% 3,282 1,900 -42.1%
July 9,372 10,157 8.4% 5,543 11,327 104.3% 14,915 21,484 44.0%
Source: RealNet Canada Inc.