Hudson's Bay (retailer)
|Founded||2 May 1670|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Number of locations
|Alison Coville (president)|
|Products||Clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewellery, beauty products, electronics, and housewares.|
|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 in Canada and the Netherlands. It is the main brand of the 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 d'Hudson". The chain uses both the English and French versions of the name in some parts of Canada.
The stores are full-line department stores, with a focus on high-end fashion apparel, accessories, and home goods. Flagship downtown stores are located in Canada's largest cities, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, Edmonton, and Winnipeg, often being multi-storey, historic buildings. They carry a bigger 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 93,000 square metres (1,000,000 sq ft). 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. In 1965, the "Hudson's Bay Company" branded stores were renamed as "The Bay" (which had long been used as a shortened nickname for the stores); they adopted a logo designed by Lippincott & Margulies, which featured a stylized "B" seen on 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 its fur salons, including a wider assortment of high-end designer furs. Fur salons included many exclusive fur designers, including Louis Féraud, Givenchy, Black Diamond Mink, and Grosvenor.
In August 2008, Bonnie Brooks was hired as president and chief executive officer of the Hudson's Bay Company. As the result of market research, Brooks began to focus on bolstering high-end fashion as a growth segment. These moves included a major revamp of the chain's selection of labels, and a renovation and relaunch of The Room—a luxury women's department at the Queen Street location. During the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, a heritage-oriented campaign was used to promote The Bay and an accompanying line of Olympic-themed apparel, which was considered to be a significant success. In 2010, the Queen Street location saw a 22% increase in year-over-year sales. In 2011, The Bay launched White Space—a new younger-skewing "contemporary" department—at selected locations.
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 1965. 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.
The Room is a luxury boutique found in selected Hudson's Bay locations, which features a curated selection of women's apparel from upscale brands such as Balmain, Emmanuel Ungaro, Halston, Gianfranco Ferre, Giorgio Armani, Moschino, and others. Nicholas Mellamphy is the vice-president and buying director of The Room.
Its namesake at the Yonge & Queen location in Toronto was established in the 1930's as the St. Regis Room, dating back to its time as a Simpsons store. It underwent a major renovation in 2009 by the design firm Yabu Pushelberg, with an increase to 2,000 square metres (21,500 sq ft) in floor space, and expanding its stock from around 12 brands to 70 (including more "moderately-priced" options). The $5.3 million renovation was positioned by Brooks as part of a plan to increase The Bay's focus on high-end fashion; there were also plans to expand The Room as a featured department at other flagship locations.
The Room opened at the downtown Vancouver location in 2011, in the north-east section of the second floor. The 2,100 square metres (23,000 sq ft) department includes many of the designers available in the Toronto Queen Street flagship store, and some not available in the flagship store, including DSquared², Jeremy Liang, and Sid Neigum.
The Room opened in the Downtown Montreal Hudson's Bay store in late 2013. The Toronto version of The Room was relocated to a different part of the store in 2015 to accommodate a new Saks Fifth Avenue location.
West End Shop
The West End Shop is the Men's version of The Room. The Toronto Queen Street and the Vancouver Granville West End Shops recently[when?] underwent an extensive renovation. The current collection contains labels such as Hugo Boss, Ermenegildo Zegna, Armani Collezioni, Ben Sherman, and Strellson.
Hudson's Bay Company Signature Shop
The Bay 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.
Ralph Lauren Boutiques
Boutiques for Ralph Lauren are in 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.
The Toronto Queen Street and Montreal Downtown store has opened ground floor boutiques for Burberry, Coach Leathergoods, and See by Chloé. Vancouver and Montreal ground-floor designer boutiques will follow.
Hudson's Bay has ended its partnership with Saint-Laurent-based Browns Shoes, and closed all Browns locations in its 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 now 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.
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