Luxury labels look to Calgary, Edmonton for growth

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Despite the economic gloom cast by low oil prices and a faltering Chinese economy, Brian Winston, a Canadian national retail consultant, notes that Edmonton and Calgary are actually poised for growth in their luxury shopping markets.

Winston, who is the head of Toronto-based Winston Collective, notes that West Edmonton Mall’s pursuit of more high-end stores as well as new opportunities for upscale retail in Edmonton’s Ice District and Calgary’s Mount Royal Village are attracting attention from American and European luxury houses.

“There is an increase of square footage that’s going to be available within these cities and it is going to attract what we refer to as affordable lifestyle luxury,” he says. “Those are things that are not as uptight as a Gucci or Louis Vuitton, but more geared to lifestyle or sport style — things that relate to people’s existence as it exists right now.” He cites Bruno Cucinelli, Fabiana Fillipi and Longchamp as these sorts of brands.

Winston’s firm, which works with high-end retailers to expand operations in Canada and the U.S, recently added both Albertan Cities to their list of Canada’s top 10 luxury retailers. West Edmonton Mall was ranked tenth, while Calgary’s the CORE downtown shopping area and Chinook Centre placed sixth and ninth, respectively.

Additionally, Winston suggests that upscale retailers looking to expand into Alberta won’t necessarily be deterred by an oil slump. “Within a bust cycle, there is opportunity to take some time to find the right space and build some acknowledgment that you’ll be in this community.” CJ

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