Images from Holt Renfrew.
This week across the country, Holt Renfrew invited Canadian's to their H Project shops to spend and speak with Alexandra Weston, Director of Brand Strategy. The shop features product which has a social support component. The shop was beautiful, and the small crowd of bloggers seemed to be happily on their mobile devices sharing their thoughts (although we didn't see any shoppers). The concept reminded us of Hermes' petit h atelier.
Luxury retailer Holt Renfrew has faced increasing competition from The Bay's successful Room, and Nordstrom's imminent entrance to the market next year. However, it is always refreshing to see the retailer introduce new concepts.
After speaking internally about a contemporary offering since Barney's Co-op first began to introduce new locations in the mid-2000's (which they are now closing...), and a couple of pop-up shop experiments later, hr2 is the company's answer. With 2 doors open, the company maintains it is not an outlet and that it carries distinct product from its Holt Renfrew stores - we couldn't help feeling as if we were in an upscale Winners. hr2 certainly is a cleaner experience than Nordstrom's Rack outlets. However, Holt Renfrew still remains behind the US competitor in the e.commerce space - Nordstrom hit $1 billion in sales just last year for the online channel alone. Although the company has begun to test this business for themselves - offering gift cards for purchase online with a Canadian credit card, are they trailing instead of trail-blazing in this global retail environment?