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When I made my stately progress through the store on Sunday afternoon, looking for tight white trews to wear with my striped nautical shirts, I came across a few generic-looking garments with the Holt Renfrew label inside - so maybe your ship has come in.
I'm head over heels in love with the sleek, black, pippypoo-free Porsche Design wallets etc. in Taschen! right now. I hope they have a sale some time soon ...

Taschen! Taschen! All fall down.
Holt Renfew "Greeter"

What happened to that chivalrous greeter who used to stand in front of Holt's opening the door for the ladies while trying to stick his tongue down their throat? He used to start puckering from 20 feet forcing some women I know to use alternate entrances.
What happened to that chivalrous greeter who used to stand in front of Holt's opening the door for the ladies while trying to stick his tongue down their throat? He used to start puckering from 20 feet forcing some women I know to use alternate entrances.

I saw him two days ago.
There was an article in one of the newspapers about him a couple years ago. Made it sound like he had the best job in the world (and, really, he might)
There was also a story about him in a paper about 10 or 12 years ago. It gave our VP of Ops. the idea that all of our staff should be trained to be just like him, it caused us endless grief!
He's very friendly to the gents too, I often get a smile and a nod when I walk by with my dog, and I don't exactly frequent Holt's.
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I can't say I've ever noticed this person, as I sweep imperiously through Holts' front doors on one of my occasional visits. Unless they're particularly comely, neither servants, waiters, commissionaires, sales staff, TTC drivers, nor policemen catch my eye. The winter coats worn by the doormen at the King Eddy do command attention, however.
I can't say I've ever noticed this person, as I sweep imperiously through Holts' front doors on one of my occasional visits. Unless they're particularly comely, neither servants, waiters, commissionaires, sales staff, TTC drivers, nor policemen catch my eye. The winter coats worn by the doormen at the King Eddy do command attention, however.

What about firemen?
That's Tom. He's such a nice guy! I used to live a block from Holt's, and he'd greet me and/or my partner at the time with a handshake and a friendly hello. Even if we were just strolling by... I used to walk past the store on my way home from work ever day.

I'm sure he's not "just after the ladies". He's been there almost 20 years, and I'm sure he's got stories to tell.
Holt Renfrew in New York?

I think Robert Campeau was the last Canadian company to try and take over a New York retail institution and he made a real mess of it. Let's hope the Westons have better luck if this goes through.

Holt Renfrew said mulling bid for Barneys New York

Barneys New York is weighing a debt restructuring or bankruptcy filing that may wrest control from the Dubai government-owned firm that loaded it with debt in a 2007 leveraged buyout, three people briefed on the matter said.

Hedge fund Perry Capital LLC, which helped finance the $942.3-million takeover, has been approached by Holt Renfrew, the Toronto-based department-store chain, about a joint offer for control of the 86-year-old luxury retailer, one of the people said. Holt Renfrew, owned by Canadian billionaire Galen Weston, has stores in cities including Montreal and Vancouver.

Barneys' debt was cut two grades to three levels above default in July by Moody's, which cited its "strained financial condition" amid declining sales and "sizeable" debt from the takeover by Istithmar PJSC, a unit of Dubai World. Sales at luxury retailers Barneys, Saks Inc. and Neiman Marcus Group Inc. have tumbled as customers cut spending during the recession.

"The only way they'd survive is with a partner," said George Whalin, president of Retail Management Consultants in Carlsbad, California. "You've got the biggest and the best in the business in Saks and Neiman struggling mightily, and they're about as good as you can get at it."

Barneys and its owners are still reviewing their options and haven't made a final decision, according to the people. Under one scenario, Istithmar would continue providing equity support to the chain, the people said. One of the people said such additional backing from Istithmar was unlikely. The sovereign fund said in April that it provided "significant" additional capital to help Barneys manage costs.

‘Fully Committed'

"Istithmar remains fully committed to Barneys and supportive of its management team," the firm said in an e- mailed statement. "These are challenging times for retailers, and the company continues to work aggressively to improve its financial position."

Dubai World, a government-owned investment firm that controls Istithmar and a developer of the manmade palm-shaped islands off the coast of the emirate, has been struggling to raise cash following a property slump. Home prices in Dubai have tumbled by about 50% from their peak and may drop another 20% this year, Deutsche Bank AG said in June.

Filene's, Eddie Bauer

Barneys is under pressure to show it can pay financial intermediaries for holiday merchandise from apparel makers, two of the people said. Representatives of Barneys, Holt Renfrew and Perry Capital either declined to comment or weren't available to comment.

Clothing retailers Filene's Basement Inc. and Eddie Bauer Holdings Inc. both have sought protection from creditors in U.S. bankruptcy court this year. Both found buyers willing to keep stores open rather than liquidate them.

Founded by Barney Pressman to sell cut-rate men's suits in 1923, Barneys began building women's lines in the 1970s. The Pressman family lost control in 1998 and the company exited bankruptcy protection in 1999. Jones Apparel Group Inc. bought Barneys for $294.3-million in 2004 and sold it to Istithmar in September 2007.

Barneys, whose stores stock designers such as Marc Jacobs and Christian Louboutin, operates 13 outlets, 19 lower-priced CO-OP stores and 9 department stores in cities including New York, Seattle, Chicago and Beverly Hills, California, according to the retailer's Web site.

Maturing Loans

Barneys has $660-million of loans maturing through 2016, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. This includes $280-million of so-called first-lien bank debt and a $180-million unsecured loan that Perry Capital helped finance, the data show. The chain has yet to replace former chief executive Howard Socol, who announced his resignation in May 2008. Socol, a former chairman of J. Crew Group Inc., had run Barneys since 2001.

"The issue for Barneys has been the substantial leverage and weak performance," said David Kuntz, an analyst at Standard & Poor's in New York. "It's very difficult to steer a business through troubled times without a CEO."

Holt Renfrew, which started as a hat shop in Quebec City in 1837, was acquired by Galen Weston in 1986. Weston, 68, is the chairman of publicly held George Weston Ltd., which holds about 62% of Loblaw Cos., Canada's biggest grocery chain.

Bloomberg News
With Nordstrom coming to Canada, it seems like we need a thread for items related to Holt Renfrew chain-wide.
October 29, 2012 - The Globe and Mail
Holt's makes its pitch for cost-conscious shoppers


With new hr2 chain, upscale merchant moves into off-price retail, one of the country's fastest growing apparel segments

Amid stiffer foreign retail competition, luxury purveyor Holt Renfrew & Co. will launch a new chain early next year called hr2 in a bid to broaden its customer base by offering discount designer lines.

On Monday, the country's premier upscale merchant will unveil hr2, borrowing from the playbook of premium U.S. retailers, including Nordstrom Inc., that have benefited from drawing budget-conscious – and often younger – shoppers to their discount chains. Holt's initiative will arrive before Nordstrom opens its first store in Canada in 2014 and, eventually, its lower-end Nordstrom Rack.

Nordstrom carries 49 of its top 50 designer lines, the likes of Hugo Boss and Michael Kors, at its Rack outlets, although in different styles and colours from those in its conventional stores. So-called off-price retailers also stock suppliers' excess inventory, clearance items from their mainstream stores and private label offerings.

"It's a completely new opportunity for us to grow," said Heather Arts, a vice-president at Holt who heads hr2. "There's definitely a void in the market. ... It's really going after another customer."

As it faces a flood of new foreign rivals, Toronto-based Holt is rushing to snatch more sales by branching out into the fast-growing off-price sector. The retailer is betting it can entice aspiring luxury shoppers to head to hr2 for affordable brand-name fashions without bruising its core business or premium image.

"People are very happy to brag that they've been prudent in their shopping, " said Andrew Resnick at retail consultancy Boardroom Metrics, which advised upscale U.S. fashion chain Ann Taylor on setting up shop here this fall. "People don't say any more: 'This is a Hugo Boss suit.' They say: 'This is a Hugo Boss suit that I got for $499" or half price.

Off-price retail is one of the country's fastest growing apparel segments. In the 12 months ended Aug. 31, its sales jumped 10 per cent, representing about 5 per cent of the overall $23.3-billion Canadian clothing market, while total apparel sales didn't budge in that period, according to market researcher NPD Group.

Globally, off-price luxury fashion sales are forecast to soar by 30 per cent to $16.8-billion in 2012, three times faster than sales gains in the overall luxury fashion field, a study this month by consultancy Bain & Co.

"We are seeing the consumer's average week include shopping for both high-end apparel brands as well as lower-priced apparel brands, so a trading up/down effect," said Tracey Jarosz, executive fashion director at NPD.

Attempting to cash in on such shifts, the fast-emerging U.S. premium outlet mall business is bulking up in Canada. U.S. developers recently teamed up with Canadian counterparts to build luxury outlet malls for chains such as Polo Ralph Lauren and Coach to run discount stores.

Privately held Holt, with estimated annual sales of close to $800-million, now intends to bank on the burgeoning trends. Its hr2 will help the retailer, owned by the W. Galen Weston family, which also controls grocer Loblaw Cos. Ltd., reach its $1-billion annual sales target in two years, observers predict.

Holt's hr2 will start with a store in March at the Quartier DIX30 mall in Brossard, Que., and another unidentified one in Ontario. At the same time, U.S. cheap-chic Target Corp. will roll out its first stores in Canada while Winners, owned by U.S.-based TJX Cos., aggressively expands its off-price outlets.

But Ms. Arts, a former Winners executive who joined Holts in May, said the luxury chain has been mulling a concept such as hr2 for a couple of years, before Target and Nordstrom confirmed their plans for Canada. She said hr2 will have a "strong" national presence by the end of 2015, but didn't elaborate. Industry sources said Holts will convert its Last Call clearance outlet in Ontario to hr2.

In the past several years, Nordstrom has put a bigger push on its Rack outlets, which generated almost 20 per cent of its total $10.5-billion (U.S.) sales in 2011. "The productivity of these stores surpasses our full-line stores," president Blake Nordstrom said last month.

Rack stores ring up more than $500 of sales per square foot, compared with about $400 at mainstream Nordstrom stores, estimated Dorothy Lakner, a managing director at Caris & Co. in New York. The retailer spends about one-tenth the money to build a Rack compared with a full-line store in about 25 per cent of the space, she said.

She predicted that Holts, which has nine mainstream stores, eventually could run at least twice that number of off-price outlets. The strongest off-price chains bring fresh merchandise to the floor, rather than clearance items, as Holts does now at Last Call, she said, adding that Holts needs to move quickly to learn about operating the off-price model and catch up with Nordstrom.

Outlet stores have been helped by suppliers that have developed lower-cost lines, especially for the discount chains. Holts already deals with many of the vendors for its mainstream stores. Nordstrom Rack generates operating margins that are higher than those at the full-line stores because of lower costs, even though Rack's gross margins are thinner, Nordstrom executives have said.
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Who thinks the first HR2 in the GTA is NOT the current Last Call at Vaughan Mills, but a new store at the Halton Hills outlet opening next year?