Retailers look at Calgary locations in their expansion plans

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On the morning of Nov. 3 at 10 a.m. sharp, the barred doors to Victoria’s Secret in Southcentre Mall slid open and the crowd hustled inside.

Customers encountered a dark front room filled with luxurious, lacy lingerie. On the walls were black-and-white photos of the famous Victoria’s Secret supermodels. A back room was accented with pink, and scents like the Very Sexy fragrance filled the air.

The opening of Victoria’s Secret in Southcentre follows the opening of the popular lingerie company’s first Calgary store in Chinook Centre five months ago.

Victoria’s Secret is just one of five new stores open in Southcentre Mall this fall. The Disney Store, Sephora and Victoria’s Secret all opened recently, and Express and Henry Singer will open later in November.

Southcentre’s general manager Shawn Hanson said from what he’s been hearing, these stores are what customers want.

Victoria's Secret Southcentre

Victoria’s Secret launched its second Calgary location in Southcentre Mall Nov. 3, one of five new and popular franchises to be added to the shopping centre this fall.

Photo by: Lisa TaylorHanson said the opening of so many new stores is reflective of Calgary’s consumer culture not being too phased by the struggling economy.

“I think a lot of retailers are looking at Canada, and Calgary specifically, as being strong markets for them to expand in,” Hanson said.

Customer Tracy Speight was one of the first to arrive before the Victoria’s Secret opening. She had just purchased a beautiful evening gown to wear to her company’s Christmas gala and came to mall’s newest addition looking to buy a well-fitted bra that wouldn’t show through her gown.

She also agreed that Victoria’s Secret and other stores opening in Southcentre suggest that Calgary’s economy is looking better.

“If big names like this are coming up from the [United] States into Canada, I would say it’s showing that we’re still spending money and things are going well.”

However, Jaimie Cugnet, who has been a fan of Victoria’s Secret for quite some time, said that getting all these new stores doesn’t necessarily reflect that the economy is doing well.

“I think there’s a demand for more variety and for more stores that have become popular in the States,” said Cugnet. “It also seems that women tend to keep shopping during a recession, and Victoria’s Secret is definitely geared towards women.”

Cugnet said what keeps people shopping at this specific store is the way it makes women feel.

“When I wear clothing from Victoria’s Secret, I feel sexy,” Cugnet said. “There’s something about it that makes you feel good, whether it be their lingerie, bathing suits or their Pink sweat-suit line.”

Speight added: “Women are crazy about Victoria’s Secret because they have fantastic, beautiful and high-quality products.”

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