Victoria's Secret hopes to close its flagship store in downtown Vancouver



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Is there really demand in downtown Vancouver for a 35,000 square foot store entirely dedicated to lingerie and women's underwear?

Apparently no. At least not anymore.

Sources tell Daily Hive that Victoria's flagship store at 750 Burrard Street – at the northeast corner of Robson Street's intersection with Burrard Street – is expected to close this year.

It is one of 53 stores – three in Canada and 50 in the United States – that will be closed in North America in 2019, although the company has not provided an accurate list of all the stores that will close at this time. Daily Hive contacted Victoria's Secret to comment but did not hear back in time for publication.

The company announced today that store sales along the chain fell 7% during the quarter, which resulted in a major loss.

The flagship store of Vancouver opened in the summer of 2013 with great fanfare, with the American model and Victoria's Secret "Angel" Lindsay Ellingson presiding over the opening of the store. At the time, the two-tiered store – including the PINK shop in the basement – was heralded as Victoria's second largest location in the world.

Citywide property tax bills, particularly in this highly centralized retail area of ​​Robson Street, have increased in recent years. When combined with weak sales and a very large retail footprint in prime real estate, it may not make sense to operate a store of that scope in this midsize retail market.

The large property tax accounts, based on the increase of the values ​​evaluated by the BC Assessment, are passed directly to the tenants. The most recent assessed value of this particular property was $ 138.6 million, which sets gross taxes at $ 1,515 million by 2018.

The change in ownership could open up opportunities for new retailers, perhaps even UNIQLO. Such centralized space and location meets the requirements of a UNIQLO flagship store.

The four-story building currently housing Victoria's Secret was completed in 1957 and originally opened as the new central branch of the Vancouver Public Library, which was closed in 1995 after the opening of the new Central Post Office on Library Square.

Virgin Megastore took up the low-level space between 1996 and 2005 until being replaced by HMV, which was closed in 2012. This building also briefly housed a Planet Hollywood restaurant from 1997 to 1999.

After the closing of HMV, the ground and ground floors were completely reconfigured for Victoria's Secret and a small retail space that would later be rented by Shoppers Drug Mart.

As for the upper floors, the venue is Bell Media's Vancouver headquarters – the location of CTV Vancouver studios and several local radio stations, including 94.5 Virgin Radio, TSN Radio 1040 and 103.5 QMFM.

The city of Vancouver lists the old library building as a class A historic building.

Further down Robson's track, at least another major retail space is expected to be vacant later this year.

Payless Shoes will be vacating its two-story retail space in the southeast corner of the intersection between Robson Street and Granville Street as part of the company's plan to close all of its stores in North America this year.

Just one block west of Burrard Street on the Robson strip, the 29,000 square foot two-story building that was built for Forever 21 in 2012 reopened last year as a new Indigo store.

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