Luxe Retailing in Calgary Gains Momentum

In the bubble that is luxury retailing in the Calgary market the City shines with a cluster of luxe brands in the downtown Holt Renfrew store and an emerging high-end pocket of sizzle at the Chinook Centre.

Despite the economic downturn across Alberta fueled by lower oil prices, the pandemic and empty downtown office towers in Calgary, luxury retail in the energy capital of Canada is thriving.  Regardless of the level of sophistication, there is significant wealth here with a need to show it. Not that we are seeing a “luxeplosion” the likes of that are rocking markets across Asia but Calgary is witnessing a modest growth in the luxury retailing segment.  

While the super-elite shoppers in Calgary prefer to travel to shop or buy-on line there is a growing cadre of aspirational luxury shoppers such as female executives toing their LV or Burberry bags and sporting Rolex watches. The market has moved beyond just handbags, designer shoes and jewellery. Calgary luxury retail is catering to all four segments of the luxe market; “Start of money”, “Show off”, “Fit in”, “Way of life” and the “Super elite” shopper who strives for differentiation from the mass luxe consumer.

Chinook Centre peruses luxe with an emerging higher-end tenant mix led by a new Louis Vuitton store amongst others. The retailing stars may align with the Chinook landlord’s vision, patience and deep pockets. Some of the basic elements are in place with the City’s only Tiffany store, a Nordstrom’s store that focuses for the most part on their house brands and a SAKS Fifth Avenue that is still finding its way. The City’s only Rolex boutique is currently situated in the Mason Birks store in downtown Calgary with a second store in the works at chinook centre.