In the summer of 2013, after the announcement that Les Ailes de la Mode was closing its downtown Montreal store, the owners of Montreal’s Complexe Les Aisles (a mall partially created when the store Les Ailes declared bankruptcy, downsized, and converted the extra space into stores) and Eaton Centre, announced that the two malls would be joined, remodelled, and rebranded. The joining is no big deal: the two malls are adjacent and physical connections already exist. Plans were supposed to be announced 6 months later.
Over two years later, the Les Ailes store is still in a perpetual “vente de fermeture” and no word about the “new” mall.
The first real hint of the future came with today’s Retail-Insider.com: Saks Off-Fifth is opening in the mall. One of seven Off-Fifth sites announced yesterday, the downtown Montreal site. . .
will open in the fall of 2018. The store will likely be one of OFF 5TH’s largest Canadian stores, spanning an impressive 44,840 square feet. In 2016, Montreal Eaton Centre will merge with the space currently known as Complexe Les Ailes to form a single property, welcoming a combined 34 million visitors a year.
I figured that the owners of the malls were waiting for a major tenant announcement before announcing plans. An off-price retailer wasn’t in my sights. I speculated that HBC might locate its Montreal Saks Fifth Avenue store there (which made little sense, because they could easily fit it into the nearby Hudson’s Bay store, just as they are doing in Toronto and industry insiders speculated they would do) or that Simons might relocate there (compared to its new stores, especially the larger and chicer store at Galeries d’Anjou, the Ste-Catherine flagship is starting to look a bit small and dated).
Looking forward to hearing more about the newly merged centres, a move now scheduled for next year.
(HBC also announced that OffFifth will open in the former Holt Renfrew store at Place Ste-Foy in Quebec City.)