COVID-19 has produced a lot of bad news for Burnabys’ largest mall.
Now he has good news to report.
Metropolis at Metrotown has seen several of its larger tenants such as Microsoft in close-up.
But another tenant has huge plans adding a flagship store. Spanish fashion giant Zara, part of the Inditex Group, is building a massive 40,000 square foot store in Metropolis.
This will make it one of the largest retail stores in Canada.
Zara sells all kinds of items for men, women and children, including clothing, accessories, shoes, swimwear, beauty products and perfumes.
This addition takes place against a backdrop of store closings including Freddy Pant Room, Davids Tea, Pink, Frank and Oak, the list goes on and on.
Meanwhile, retailers who are still standing are making plans for a transformed Christmas shopping season.
In Burnaby, Christmas will indeed arrive early in the form of intensified holiday shopping campaigns with businesses hoping to receive good news during a dismal fiscal year marred by COVID-19.
The strategies are aimed at attracting buyers quickly, stepping up their e-commerce game, and convincing consumers to buy gifts for distant friends and family.
Burnabys Indigo Books & Music Inc. in Metropolis at Metrotown is already rolling out Advent cards and calendars.
The Hudson’s Bay Company launched its collection of Christmas clothing and decorations six weeks earlier.
For Heather Reisman, CEO of Indigo, flexibility and health awareness are a priority.
In the wake of 15 store closings since March, the chain has revamped its customer experience with private shopping hours “for people who may feel particularly compromised,” she said. Members of the loyalty program can visit outside of normal business hours usually before 10 a.m. and after 9 p.m. to navigate at will, without crowds.
The 12 weeks leading up to New Year’s Day typically make up about a third of annual sales, she said.
“It’s not possible to fully compensate for nearly three months of the nearly 200 physical stores that were closed (earlier this year). So our goal is to get as close as possible to last year’s sales, recognizing that this will depend on the customers who allocate their time. “
Shipping and logistics continue to be disrupted as the second wave of the pandemic begins to erupt.
While some companies rely on online offerings and curbside pickup, London Drugs is increasing its physical presence. It plans to build queue shelters in more than half of its 82 stores, including metal roof structures bolted to buildings to protect customers from wind and possible snow.
Michael LeBlanc, senior advisor at the Retail Council of Canada, says consumers can have more spending money after spending less on vacations, commuting, and cappuccinos at lunchtime.
“Our message to Canadians for the holidays is: shop early and shop often. This is not the year to wait. And retailers tell me they’re already seeing signs of buying gifts, ”LeBlanc said.
Seasonal outfits and items will hit shelves at various retailers across the country early as COVID-19 upsets annual increases in shopping on Black Friday and Boxing Day. But unless the pandemic comes back with vengeance, a real possibility of in-person purchases will not go away entirely.
- With files from the Canadian Press
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