The Le Château in my Toronto neighbourhood (Young and Eglinton) is currently in the midst of a closing down sale. This could be due to the extensive refurbishment of the RioCan centre or it could be a sign of lagging business, but never mind the T.O. market, the Canadian-based retailer has just opened the doors of two brand spanking new concept stores in its hometown of Montreal. One at Les Galeries d'Anjou and the other at Le Carrefour Laval.
The sleek redesign features a bright, minimalistic interior highlighted by custom-designed furnishings and an overall, zen-like approach to merchandising the company's designer lifestyle fashions. Backlit accessory walls showcase handbags, while custom footwear displays draw attention to new leather designer collections. It's all very clean and European (Zara?), but the transformation is also part of a long-term, strategic brand evolution to attempt to broaden the appeal of the so-called “urban customer.” I guess that's code for yuppie-with-high-disposable-income.
“Le Château has always been a design-driven fashion leader,” says Franco Rocchi, Senior VP of Sales & Marketing, in a press release. “Today, we recognize that our modern, on-trend looks are sought after by a sophisticated clientele who wants a well-curated shopping experience, and that's exactly what we're giving them with our new concept locations.”
But it’s not simply a matter of new digs for the retailer. It's also refreshing its leather footwear and accessory lines, introducing brands like Corso Como, Franco Sarto and Jessica Simpson alongside private collection labels. This news only comes a couple of years after Le Château founder Herschel Segal injected a much needed $10 million of his own money into the company, but as rival brands from the U.S. creep towards the border, is the retailer doing enough to keep that urban customer happy?
Image via CNW Group/Le Château Inc.