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Iconic upscale men’s wear store to close in Toronto

A contractor hangs a sale sign on the window of Stollerys clothing store on Bloor Street in Toronto on Nov. 27, 2013.

Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

The iconic Stollerys upscale men's wear store, which has been a landmark in Toronto for 114 years years, is closing as it faces rising competition and pressure from developers to sell its coveted Toronto property.

Located at the heart of Toronto's posh Bloor Street shopping strip, Stollerys says on its website that it thanks its "loyal customers" for their patronage over the years and confirms what has been rumored for awhile: "Stollerys store is closing."

David McKenzie, sales manager at the store, said it hasn't set an exact date for the shutdown, but it could be in January or February, after the busy holiday shopping period. He said a developer has bought the building, but didn't provide further details.

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"We still will be here for the foreseeable future," he said. "We still have a lot of stock."

The store, which industry observers have said is tired and in need of an update, has struggled with savvy nearby rivals such as Harry Rosen Inc., the country's dominant men's clothier which is rapidly expanding and upgrading its space, and Holt Renfrew & Co. Holt's upped the ante this week when it opened its first men's-only standalone store after having put a big push on bolstering its men's fashion business over the past couple of years.

About two years ago, industry watchers suggested an Apple computer store was being planned to replace the Stollerys outlet, but "we've all heard rumours," Victor Edwards, a manager at Stollerys, said earlier this week. At the time, he said he and other staff hadn't heard that the Stollerys store was closing.

Even so, he said business "is up and down. Some days are amazingly good and other days, you wonder why you even came in. It's very hard to gauge. Saturday used to be THE shopping day. Now it can be like a Tuesday or Wednesday. It can be an even better day than the weekends."

Mr. McKenzie said business recently "has been better."

Stollerys also grapples with heightened online competition from Harry Rosen and an array of independents which are investing heavily in their e-commerce businesses. Stollerys launched its own online selling site about a year ago, Mr. McKenzie said.

And while Stollerys carries some women's wear, it specializes in men's fashions – a segment that is enjoying sales growth that outpaces that of its female counterpart's business. In the year ended July 31, sales in the $7.6-billion men's wear market grew 2 per cent while they were flat in the $13.4-billion women's clothing segment, according to researcher NPD Canada.

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"It's definitely more of a battle now," Sandy Silva, fashion industry analyst at NPD Group, said earlier this week.

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About the Author
Retailing Reporter

Marina Strauss covers retailing for The Globe and Mail's Report on Business. She follows a wide range of topics in the sector, from the fallout of foreign retailers invading Canada to how a merchant such as the Swedish Ikea gets its mojo. She has probed the rise and fall (and revival efforts) of Loblaw Cos., Hudson's Bay and others. More


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