This past weekend my wife and I walked the full-length of the Wellington West and Westboro villages to discover its many shops. My wife was in heaven and has found her new favourite part of the city. She walked away with a Guess blazer from AMH Style, a pretty high-end consignment store.
Although the boutique shopping experience in Ottawa is pretty good, we lack the big brands that would give our city a well-rounded shopping experience. Looking down the road, with projects like the Lansdowne Park redevelopment, Ottawa may in fact become a shoppping destination. But there are reasons to be optimistic today. The Rideau Centre is putting the final touches on Forever 21 which looks pretty awesome. Also, as a result of a transaction with Cadillac Fairview, Fossil just opened a location at the Rideau Centre which thinkretail.ca is calling a flagship location for the Texas-based retailer. They also reported that at 2000 sq. ft. and with over 30 ft. of frontage it's the biggest full-priced Fossil store in Canada. Fossil is also looking at opening more stores in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Halifax and Moncton.
IKEA is also putting the final touches on their new Ottawa store which will also be the biggest in Canada and one of the biggest in North America. The store will also be equipped with an 80-square meter digital sign.
While Ottawa has a long way to go in becoming a major shopping destination, Fossil and IKEA could be pointing towards a trend of Ottawa becoming a hub for flagship stores of major retailers, regionally and nationally. Now that Cadillac-Fairview, owners of the Eaton Centres in Toronto and Montreal, are the sole owner of the Rideau Centre and are planning a well-needed expansion to the mall, we may see Ottawa attracting more flagship stores in the future.