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Bookstores (Chapters/Indigo/R-B)

It is funny after the Chapters Indigo merger they were supposed to divest themselves of 22-25 superstores. But we never found out which ones these were.
The ones they closed that I can think of in Toronto: Scarborough Town Centre Indigo (now Sportchek), Yonge-Eglinton Chapters (now Future Shop), Empress Walk Indigo (now Staples), and now Bloor Chapters (soon to be Winners).
Will they continue to have both Chapters and Indigo stores...or will we eventually see one or the other? Indigo seems to be the favoured brand, though I think Chapters is much better.
Yeah, Merivale Road is so crazy. First the Future Shop (really old one) was there, and then Best Buy was built. A year later, and they built Future Shop right next to it! The feeling is that they're not necessarily cutting profits, but growing the size of the market. Chapters is definitely the more numerous across the country. When there were about 15 Indigos, there were only 4 or so outside Greater Toronto. Yeah, Merivale Road is so crazy. First the Future Shop (really old one) was there, and then Best Buy was built. A year later, and they built Future Shop right next to it! The feeling is that they're not necessarily cutting profits, but growing the size of the market. Chapters is definitely the more numerous across the country. When there were about 15 Indigos, there were only 4 or so outside Greater Toronto.
There used to be a Chapters and an Indigo in Brampton - the Indigo was closed, but at least the Chapters store is better.

Though I can't stand all the crap in the Chapters/Indigo stores, such as the gifts. Greeting cards I can understand, but I want a book store - there's enough Hallmarks around for the rest of that junk.
Does anyone remember the Hear Music branded in-store shops at Chapters? I know they had one at 110 Bloor, and I believe there was one in Festival Hall or Midtown as well, at least. I really like the music, and think it'd be pretty cool...Hope it gets approved.
Ottawa reviewing Starbucks music bid
Sunday, October 2, 2005 Posted at 1:57 PM EDT
Canadian Press

The federal government is reviewing a proposal by coffee titan Starbucks Corp. to establish a retail music business in Toronto to make sure it's a net benefit to the country.

The Department of Canadian Heritage wants to know whether the new enterprise will offer acceptable levels of Canadian content and employ enough Canadian workers.

The federal cabinet ordered the secretive review under the Investment Canada Act on Sept. 12 to determine the impact on Canadian culture.

Starbucks is proposing an investment under its Hear Music brand, which it acquired in 1999 as two existing music stores in California.

The upscale java firm has been aggressively expanding its Hear Music operations in the United States. Starbucks has a Hear Music coffee house in Santa Monica, Calif., where patrons can mix and match songs to create customized burned CDs.

Two more such outlets are planned for Miami and San Antonio by the end of the year.

Starbucks also runs so-called virtual record stores in Seattle and Austin, Tex., where customers can download entire albums for a fee. The company also sells a small selection of CDs at its regular coffee outlets in Canada and the United States.

A spokeswoman at the Seattle-based firm's headquarters would not provide information about the proposed Toronto business, except to say it's not a Hear Music coffee house.

“We're committed to working with the government officials,†Sanya Gould said of the application to Canadian Heritage.

“And we have filed a response to the government inquiry as required by law. Currently, the response is being reviewed and we expect further discussions to follow the review.

“This is all we have to say on this topic.â€

Starbucks was caught in a controversy in June when it struck a deal with Alanis Morissette to exclusively stock an acoustic re-issue of her 1995 hit Jagged Little Pill for six weeks.

In protest, rival retailer HMV pulled all Morissette stock from its Canadian shelves “consistent with the views of the majority of our customers,†president Humphrey Kadaner said at the time.

Canadian Heritage's review of the Starbucks proposal will include assessing whether it will nurture new Canadian talent, and whether there will be a commitment to “the creation, production, distribution, marketing and preservation of Canadian cultural products in Canada, through traditional and new media,†according to a departmental policy document.

The employment of Canadian workers is also a factor in the decision. The policy applies only to cultural investments that are foreign-controlled.

“When we are dealing with a company involved in the sale of audio recordings, one of the things we do look at is the extent to which they will provide Canadian content,†said department spokeswoman Carla Curran.

“We want to ensure that Canadians can have access to music that's produced by Canadians, that's performed by Canadians, or that's written by Canadians...That's a fairly important factor for us, quite a significant factor.â€

Ms. Curran declined to comment on the Starbucks proposal because of commercial confidentiality. The review process is expected to take at least 45 days.

Currently, domestic music stores in Canada are free of any regulatory requirement to stock or promote home-grown music.

A spokesman for the Canadian Recording Industry Association said his group could not comment on the Starbucks investment without seeing more details.

But president Graham Henderson said the association supports new approaches to retailing music, including the mix-and-match approach being used at Starbucks' Santa Monica outlet.

“The more digital channels we can open to the consumer, the better,†he said from Toronto.
U.S. stores eye Web sales in Canada
Growing online market appeals
J.C. Penney sending catalogues
Nov. 9, 2006. 07:39 AM

American department store giant J.C. Penney is ramping up its marketing efforts in Canada with more catalogue deliveries to promote its Canadian website, according to Canada Post.
Meanwhile, U.S.-based online shoe retailers are reporting sharply higher sales in Canada, the post office also said yesterday.
And a U.S. firm that has been testing the Canadian market with an online site is planning to open its first physical store in Canada, said officials at Borderfree, the post office's cross-border shopping service.
"What we are seeing, partly because of the strength of the Canadian dollar, is very, very strong growth among American retailers online," Borderfree president Patrick Bartlett said in a telephone interview.
While Canadian consumers make more purchases on Canadian websites than on foreign-owned services, according to Statistics Canada, Bartlett said a growing number of U.S. retailers are eyeing the Canadian online market.
The postal service, which helps foreign retailers set up seamless cross-border sites, is actively soliciting new U.S. clients.
Borderfree's message is simple but appealing in the United States where slumping house sales threaten to dampen consumer spending this Christmas. In contrast, Canadian consumers are feeling confident and ready to spend, said Borderfree marketing manager Paulina Sazon.
The post office says American retailers like what they're hearing.
J.C. Penney, which quietly opened its website to Canadians late last year, plans to drop half a million catalogues on Canadian doorsteps this holiday season to promote the business, Sazon said. The department store operator is one of 135 cataloguers now delivering in Canada, she said, up from 35 two years ago. Research has shown catalogues help drive online sales.
Three U.S. shoe retailers that use Borderfree's service,, and, are all reporting sharply higher sales in Canada this year, Bartlett said.
As well, American outfitting firm Cabela's has announced plans to open its first Canadian store, in Montreal, after testing the market electronically, the post office noted. Cosmetics giant Sephora followed a similar formula, starting with an online store and then opening a chain of mall-based stores across Canada.
And it's not just the Borderfree effect, he said. The service provides shoppers with a landed price in Canadian dollars, making it easier to order from U.S. sites.
Other established U.S. retailers, like Lands' End, which has its own Canadian infrastructure, is enjoying stronger Canadian sales this year as well, Bartlett said.
"Clearly, Canadian retailers, like Chapters (Indigo), Future Shop and Sears dominate the space," Bartlett acknowledged, referring to some of the biggest Canadian owned online retail sites in the market.
Indeed, research by Statistics Canada shows consumers prefer to shop Canadian sites. Last year, consumers made 57 per cent of their online purchases at Canadian sites and spent 63 per cent of their online dollars there, the federal agency said.
As well, two Canadian Web operators, Sears Canada and Canadian Tire Corp., score in the top 10 most visited retail sites in Canada, according to ComScore Media Metrix Canada, which tracks online traffic.
However, many other Canadian retailers have yet to open fully interactive sites, especially in the clothing category, Borderfree's Bartlett said. Canadian consumers still buy fewer items online than Americans and have just started adding more than travel, tickets and books to their online shopping lists, he noted.
"We believe one of the critical reasons Canadians don't buy more online is lack of supply," Bartlett said.
Despite this, Canadians are spending more online as time goes by, according to Statistics Canada. In five years, online spending jumped from $1.1 billion in 2000 to $7.9 billion last year, the federal agency reported last week — a 618 per cent increase. Still, online spending represents just over 1 per cent of the $729 billion Canadians spent on all goods and services last year, the agency noted.
>Re: Toronto Retail Thread

In 1998 they tore down a fine Modernist building, which housed the Salvation Army, to make way for that place.
Indigo pens next chapter
EXPANSION; TV, film, Web site and 'green' focus all in plan
Hollie Shaw, Financial Post
Published: Friday, June 22, 2007
Indigo Books and Music Inc. is in growth mode, building superstores, launching a completely new retail chain with a "green" theme, and going multimedia with an in-store television station, a documentary film and the launch of a social-networking Web site catering to book lovers.
"We have a big, hairy, audacious goal of where we want to see this business go in the next five years," Heather Reisman, chief executive, told shareholders yesterday at the company's annual general meeting.
"The business is in great shape, and we are ready to start innovating and experimenting for growth."

Ms. Reisman said little about the new retail format other than it will "fill what we see as 'white space' in the consumer channel," and hinting at a concept built around environmental sustainability: "Think green."
She did not give a timeline for store openings.
Since acquiring rival Chapters Inc. six years ago, Ms. Reisman has transformed Canada's biggest book chain from a $48-million loss in fiscal 2002 to a $30-million profit in fiscal 2006, an increase of 18% over the prior year.
She has poured in capital, improving disorderly supply chain and warehouse systems, and increased sales through loyalty programs and incorporating more high-margin gift items, stationery, educational toys and games into the stores.
The retailer's shares hit a five-year high of $17.88 last week on the heels of an announced sale of 1.5-million shares by Gerry Schwartz, Ms. Reisman's husband and chief executive of conglomerate Onex Corp.
Together they owned 18.7-million shares and will now own 17.2-million, lowering their stake to 70% from about 76% .
"We didn't want to sell ... our advisors told us that greater liquidity would help the company," said Ms. Reisman, who has said over the past year that the retailer's recovery has attracted investors and that she would need to enlarge the public float.
Ms. Reisman said the chain plans to open at least six large superstores and six smaller stores in the next 12 to 18 months and will expand some stores in Toronto and Montreal. Indigo has 88 big-box stores across Canada and 158 smaller locations under the Coles banner.
Indigo is also trying to forge stronger ties with consumers by launching a discrete social-networking site for book lovers through its Web portal in September and an online photo album site to upload and display digital pictures.
Indigo plans to test launch an "Indigo TV" channel at certain stores, featuring author interviews and book-related programming to be broadcast on monitors throughout the outlets. That same month, Indigo will promote a documentary film it commissioned on literacy in Canada and distribute it through YouTube and other online channels.
David Gray, president of Vancouver-based retail consultancy Sixth Line Solutions, cautioned that there is a "lot of hype" right now about both social networking and the green movement.
"Everyone is rushing to do the next Facebook, and people only have so much time.
"But the fact [that Indigo] is trying a number of different things points to an underlying culture of innovation and that's exciting," he said, particularly for a retailer that is trying to be "a purveyor of culture, even though they are still a very mass-oriented Starbucks of books."
Ms. Reisman said the company will begin building and refurbishing the chain's superstores into a format dubbed "Indigo 2.0."
"The basic format that consumers experience today is 10 to 12 years old," she said.
The news comes as Toronto-based Indigo prepares for the release of the final Harry Potter book next month, which guarantees a sales boom.
Ms. Reisman said staging events such as parties leading up to the release means that the business will not have to mimic the steep discounts that some U.S. retailers will have to employ. The discounts drive up sales but could keep profits low.
It was on the west side of Yonge between Davenport and Frichot at number 920 I think. That's the retail/residential complex that includes both a plaza out front, and some retail coming right our to Yonge. The Renaud-Bray was in the bit that extended right out to Yonge. Is it a women's fitness centre or spa or some such thing in there now?

That vaguely sounds right, but that gym was always part of Ridpaths prior to being a gym, as long as I've been in Toronto.
I think there was an interval btw/Ridpaths and the gym when it was Renaud Bray...
So is Indigo Spirit just a re-branded Coles with more non-book junk?

It always bothered me that at Mount Sinai the old Ladies' Auxiliary Gift Shop was kicked out in favour of Indigo. But the cynic in me (a big part of me) noted that this was not long after the ER was named for Shwartz/Reisman.