Month: July 2017

29 Jul

Hudson’s Bay to open new namesake store in Montreal

Latest News

Posted by: James Moysey

Hudson’s Bay Co is planning to open its first namesake department store in Canada in at least five years, the company confirmed on Thursday, even as other competitors are shuttering stores in a brutal retail market.

HBC’s planned opening in Montreal comes as it faces pressure from activist shareholder Jonathan Litt, who is pushing for the company to make better use of its marquee properties, worth more than $10-billion, or consider other options.

Litt revealed a 4.3 per cent stake in HBC last month.

The new location comes as other department store chains in North America, as well as some of HBC’s other banners, have struggled. But company executives have said its Hudson’s Bay stores are among its strongest performers.

The new store, which has been in the works for months, will fill a space formerly occupied by Target Corp in Carrefour Angrignon, an 850,000-square-foot shopping center in southwest Montreal, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The mall generates more than C$430 per square foot in sales, according to the company website, and serves a lower– to mid-market clientele, one of the sources said.

The new store is an incremental addition to HBC’s overall retail expansion plans but comes at a time when shareholders are calling for HBC to capitalize on its real estate and even close some stores.

HBC operates 90 Hudson’s Bay stores in Canada, a number that has not changed since at least 2012 according to company filings. Globally, it had 479 stores as of April 29 this year.

In response to the challenging retail environment, HBC has announced plans to cut about 2,000 jobs but not close stores.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that Euler Hermes, a French credit insurance company, has slashed its trade credit insurance for suppliers of HBC’s Kaufhof chain in Europe.

Meanwhile, a historic HBC property in downtown Montreal that was set to become Canada’s largest Saks location when it was slated to open in fall 2018, had yet to apply for a renovation permit, according to the city.

Still, HBC is on track to launch its first international Hudson’s Bay stores in the Netherlands later in the year and open a number of Saks Off 5th locations, spending between $450-million and $550-million in capital investments this year.

Its expansion stands in contrast to other department stores, most recently, Sears Canada, which kicked off a liquidation sale last week as part of a bankruptcy protection plan that included slashing 2,900 jobs and closing 59 locations, or roughly a quarter of its stores.

17 Jul

Montreal’s economy is growing, but still trails Toronto and Vancouver

Latest News

Posted by: James Moysey

13 Jul

Five big banks raise prime lending rates following rate hike from Bank of Canada

Latest News

Posted by: James Moysey

The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, July 12, 2017 1:04PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 12, 2017 3:12PM EDT

TORONTO — Canada’s five biggest banks are boosting their prime lending rates by 25 basis points, following an interest rate hike from the central bank.

Royal Bank of Canada (TSX:RY), the Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO), TD Bank (TSX:TD), Scotiabank (TSX:BNS) and CIBC (TSX:CM) all announced Wednesday they are increasing their prime rates to 2.95 per cent from 2.7 per cent, effective Thursday.

The prime lending rate is the rate that banks use to set interest rates for variable-rate mortgages and other loans.

The moves comes after the Bank of Canada raised its key interest rate for the first time in seven years on Wednesday to 0.75 per cent from 0.5 per cent.

12 Jul

Molson Coors plans to spend up to $500 million to build new Montreal brewery

Latest News

Posted by: James Moysey


MONTREAL — A tract of waterfront land at the edge of Old Montreal will undergo a transformation after Molson Coors announced plans to spend up to $500 million to build a new brewery in the city instead of modernizing its current brewery, North America’s oldest.

The company’s decision, which follows a two-year study, was announced to employees Wednesday.

Molson Coors Canada CEO Fred Landtmeters said the brewer is exploring options to ensure Molson’s heritage is commemorated at its original location, which opened in 1786.

“The Montreal brewery is an emblem and this historic site will be an invaluable legacy for the city,” Landtmeters said in a statement.

The brewer (TSX:TPX.B) has said it plans to maintain a microbrewery and store at the 231-year-old site near Old Montreal along the St. Lawrence River, with the rest being sold for redevelopment under the auspices of the city.

Landtmeters said building the new brewery will be more efficient than updating existing operations.

The location of the new operation hasn’t yet been determined, but it is expected to remain in the Greater Montreal area. The next step will be to develop a business plan for the construction of a new Quebec brewery in about five years, Molson Coors said.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said Molson’s decision to revitalize the historic area fits with other redevelopments such as the nearby Radio-Canada headquarters and foot of the Jacques Cartier Bridge, along with western sections of the old city.

“I think we are in the process of developing something extraordinary for the next 10 to 15 years that will have an impact,” he said.

Company spokesman Francois Lefebvre said it’s too soon to know if any of the 1,000 employees who work at the brewery and a nearby distribution centre will lose their jobs. The new location will include production and distribution at the same site, he added.

Local union president Eric Picotte of the Teamsters welcomed the decision to maintain a long-term brewing presence in Montreal.

But he said the company hasn’t confirmed the new plant’s production strategy, including the amount of beer it will make. Molson Coors said it will continue to produce beer in bottles and cans at the site, but Picotte said a further shift to cans would require fewer employees.

“There are no guarantees,” Picotte said. “That’s what worries us.”

Over the last six years, Molson Coors has shifted more production to cans, which has resulted in the loss of more than 100 employees, he added.

Molson Coors sold its operations in Vancouver last year. The company will continue to produce beer at that site for up to five years while it builds a new facility in Chilliwack, B.C.

The Molson redevelopment could boost tourism activity in Montreal’s port area, much like what’s been done in Toronto’s Distillery District, said David Wachsmuth, assistant professor of urban planning at McGill University.

He expects major property development firms could be interested because waterfront properties don’t become available often, adding that the oldest parts of the brewery that grace the city skyline will likely be preserved but larger warehouse and production areas will probably be demolished.

“I think you’ll see the most distinctive pieces of the site that you’d recognize on a postcard are going to stay in place and around that there’s going to be much more significant denser development happening.”