Hudson's Bay (retailer)
|Founded||May 2, 1670 |
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Number of locations
|Products||Clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, electronics, and housewares.|
|Owner||NRDC Equity Partners|
|Parent||Hudson's Bay Company|
Hudson's Bay (formerly and still colloquially known as The Bay) is a chain of 90 department stores that operate across parts of Canada. It is the main brand of Hudson's Bay Company (HBC), North America's oldest company. It has its headquarters in the Simpson Tower in Toronto. In French, the chain is known as la Baie d'Hudson (formerly la Baie), short for "Compagnie de la Baie". The chain uses both the English and French versions of the name in some parts of the country.
The stores are full-line department stores, with a focus on fashion apparel, accessories, and home goods. Most price points are mid- to upper-mid, with some high price points in the flagship store on Queen Street in Toronto; however, there is an assortment of everyday low-price merchandise. Hudson's Bay can be compared to U.S. retailers Macy's and Nordstrom. The average store size is 135,000 square feet (12,500 m2).
Flagship downtown stores exist in Canada's largest cities, including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, and Winnipeg, often being multi-storey, historic buildings and carry a much broader range and selection of goods than regular Hudson's Bay stores. The largest of the flagship stores is the Toronto store on Queen Street, at about 1,000,000 square feet (93,000 m2). Toronto has another smaller store along the Mink Mile at Bloor Street East and Yonge Street in the Hudson's Bay Centre.
The origin of the Hudson's Bay Company's department store format can be traced to 1881, when the company opened its first department store in Winnipeg, Manitoba, under its proper name "Hudson's Bay Company". From 1881 up until 1960, all "Hudson's Bay Company" stores were located in Western Canada and the Canadian Arctic.
In 1960, the HBC acquired Morgan's, a Montreal department chain with stores in Ontario and the island of Montreal. That same year, all the Morgan's stores in Ontario were converted to the "Hudson's Bay Company" brand. Four years later in 1964, its stores outside of Quebec were re-branded as "The Bay" (which had long been used as a shortened nickname for the stores); adopting a logo incorporating a stylized "B" that appeared in the header of HBC's royal charter from 1670. Its stores in Quebec maintained the Morgan's name until 1972, when they were re-branded as "La Baie". That same year, Hudson's Bay purchased Ottawa's Freimans department store and moved from the former Morgan's building on Sparks Street to the Freiman building on Rideau Street, closer to competing Ogilvy's and Caplan's.
The Bay further expanded its presence between 1989 and 1991 in Eastern Canada by absorbing the Simpsons department store chain, and 1993 in Western Canada by taking over many former Woodward's outlets. The Toronto Queen Street flagship store was previously a Simpsons department store. In 1991, Hudson's Bay Company stopped selling fur. In 1997 the company reopened their fur salons, including a wider assortment of high-end designer furs. Many exclusive fur designers, including Louis Féraud, Givenchy, Black Diamond Mink, and Grosvenor, were included in the highly successful Hudson's Bay Company Fur Salons.
In Downtown Toronto, the Queen Street store, formerly Simpsons, includes the department 'The Room' on the third floor. It is 21,500-square-foot (2,000 m2) upscale women's salon carrying some of the most prestigious and expensive women's designer labels in Canada. Designers include Emmanuel Ungaro, Halston, Balmain, Gianfranco Ferre, Moschino, Armani Collezioni, Akris Punto, Lida Baday, Andrew Gn, Bellville Sassoon, David Hayes, and others.
On July 16, 2008, it was announced that Hudson's Bay Company (the parent company of the Bay) had been purchased by the US firm NRDC Equity Partners, which owns Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue.
In August 2008, Bonnie Brooks was hired as president and chief executive officer of the Hudson's Bay Company. A significant transformation of the chain has followed.
During its initial public offering in October 2012, HBC announced that it would be re-branding The Bay's stores under the name "Hudson's Bay", marking the chain's first major re-branding since 1964. The new brand, designed by the New York City-based advertising agency Lipman, was officially introduced in March 2013. Reflecting on the company's heritage, the chain's new logo also incorporates an updated rendition of the Hudson's Bay Company coat of arms. HBC did not provide a timeline for the conversion of the exterior signage to the new name on all of its stores.
Flagship store remodelling
Flagship stores are in the process of receiving significant interior upgrades and expanded designer merchandise, including an expansion of The Room and West End Shop designer concepts. Hudson's Bay will significantly renovate and upscale its downtown flagship locations, beginning with its Toronto Queen Street store. In January 2014, it sold the building and the Simpson's Tower for $650 million to Cadillac Fairview, which will incorporate it into the Toronto Eaton Centre. Hudson's Bay will lease the space from Cadillac Fairview, using 600,000 square feet of the space for Hudson's Bay and 150,000 square feet for the Canadian flagship store of Saks Fifth Avenue, which will open in late 2015.
Hudson's Bay Company Signature Shop
The Bay now offers products from the Hudson's Bay Company Collection a dedicated store, including items such as the iconic Point Blanket, coats, bed sheets, bags, t-shirts, lotions, scents, and candles. HBC has also partnered with Canadian companies like Virginia Johnson, Pink Tartan, and Klaxon Howl to create exclusive, limited edition merchandise. Customized canoes and oars are also available. HBC has also teamed up with international companies for limited edition products, such as Steiff (heritage teddy bear, limited run of 2 500), and Best Made Axe Co.
While the Hudson's Bay Company shops appear mainly in flagship stores and its Banff, Alberta location, products from the Hudson's Bay Company Collection (not including limited edition items) are also available at other locations, most notably the Point Blanket.
The four-point stripes have also been trademarked worldwide, and are planned to be sold through international retailers which including Lord & Taylor in the US, and Colette in France, in an attempt to market HBC as a brand.
The Room opened in 1937 as the 'St. Regis Room' in the Simpsons store at Yonge & Queen. In 2009 The Room was completely renovated and expanded to 21,500 square feet (2,000 m2) and was re-designed by design firm Yabu Pushelburg. New upscale designers, many exclusive in Canada, include Alaia, Jason Wu, Proenza Schouler, Sonia Rykiel, Barbara Bui, Erdem, Roland Mouret, and others. Then in the fall of 2011 'The Room' concept opened in Downtown Vancouver at the Granville store.
'The Room' women's department in Vancouver is located in the north-east section of the second floor of the Downtown Vancouver Bay store, and is approximately 23,000 square feet (2,100 m2). It includes many of the designers available in the Toronto Queen Street flagship store, and some not available in the flagship store, including Dsquared and Jeremy Liang.
'The Room' concept is anticipated to open in the Downtown Montreal Hudson's Bay store in late 2013.
West End Shop
After the revival of The Room, there is also a plan to revitalize the high-end menswear section of the Bay. The Toronto Queen Street and the Vancouver Granville West End Shops recently underwent a renovation, containing labels such as Hugo Boss, Armani, Ben Sherman, and Strellson.
Polo Ralph Lauren boutiques
Boutiques for Polo Ralph Lauren were also added to select locations, including Queen Street, Yorkdale, Bayshore Ottawa, Carrefour Laval, Galeries d'Anjou, Vancouver Downtown, Victoria Downtown, Laurier Québec, and Montreal Downtown. Each boutique contains customized decor, and dedicated company specialists.
During the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, the Bay was also the sole retailer for Polo Ralph Lauren US Olympic Team apparel in Canada.
Since its contract with the Canadian Olympic Committee as the official merchandiser for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, HBC has continued selling Olympic apparel in a dedicated section of the Bay stores. They were also sold through Zellers.
The Toronto Queen Street and Montreal Downtown store has opened ground floor boutiques for Coach Leathergoods, Burberry, and See by Chloé. Vancouver and Montreal ground-floor designer boutiques will follow.
Hudson's Bay has ended its partnership with Brown Shoe, and closed all Brown's locations in their stores, to allow the department store to offer a larger selection of shoes, and to partner with the Montreal based Aldo Group. Hudson's Bay is also offering higher-end brands, keeping in line with offerings from The Room and the West End Shop. The partnership with the Aldo Group began in spring 2011 when the revived Pegabo brand of footwear is going to be carried in Hudson's Bay and in Aldo's own FeetFirst and Locale locations.
The website includes online shopping for home fashions and beauty products, and a gift registry.
The Hudson's Bay stores have used three different banners. Prior to 1965, the stores used the full name of the parent company. In 1965, the retailer rebranded as "The Bay" and hired Lippincott & Margulies to design a shorter logo. In 2013, the store revealed a new logo designed by New York agency Lipman, based on the more historic "Hudson's Bay".
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