Fashion Retailer Aritzia to Open Flagship Store on Magnificent Mile in Downtown Chicago

by John Nelson

CHICAGO — Aritzia (TSX: ATZ), a women’s fashion boutique retailer based in Vancouver, plans to open a flagship store on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, bucking a trend of retailers leaving the famous stretch of North Michigan Avenue. The Magnificent Mile spans 13 city blocks in downtown Chicago and houses 460 stores, 275 restaurants and 60 hotels.

The retailer, which sells apparel under brands such as Wilfred, Babaton and TNA, will occupy a 46,000-square-foot space at 555 N. Michigan Ave. in 2023. The location formerly housed Gap’s three-story flagship store before the retailer closed in early 2021.

The new Aritzia store is the largest retail lease deal on Magnificent Mile in nearly a decade and the first flagship agreement since 2019, according to CBRE. Luke Molloy, Danny Jacobson, Steve Ansani and Cliff Vann of CBRE represented the landlord, Ireland-based ECA Capital Ltd., in the transaction.

“Coming out of the pandemic, this is an important deal for the Mag Mile, and Chicago in general,” says Molloy. “Aritzia is one of the most sought-after brands in the world and [it] believes in the future of North Michigan Avenue. What [it has] planned for its new flagship is incredible, and we expect this to be one of many new deals to come as the Magnificent Mile returns to prominence.”

The new store will be Aritzia’s fourth location in the Chicago area. The retailer operates a location on Rush Street, as well as two stores in the suburbs of Oak Brook and Skokie.

“Aritzia secured the best real estate in the market for its largest store in the fleet,” says Molloy.

The company opened six new boutiques and repositioned six existing ones in its 2022 fiscal year, which ended Feb. 27, 2022. The retailer also increased its revenue at its U.S. operations by nearly 132 percent year-over-year.

Aritzia expects to boost revenue by 20 percent in fiscal 2023, according to its quarterly earnings reports released in May. The company also expects to open eight to 10 new boutiques with all but one in the United States, including Forum Shops in Las Vegas and Aventura Mall in Miami that opened in the first quarter of the company’s fiscal 2023 calendar.

Jennifer Wong will serve as the new CEO of Aritzia as the company’s founder and current CEO Brian Hill will move to his new role as executive chair. Hill founded Aritzia in 1984 before leading the growth of the retailer to more than 100 stores in the United States in Canada, as well as more than 6,500 full-time employees, according to Yahoo Finance.

Aritzia is publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The company’s stock price closed on Monday, June 13 at CA$34.78 per share, up slightly from CA$33.40 a year ago.

— John Nelson

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