Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Michael Kors coming to Polo Park

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ANOTHER swanky international retailer is making its Winnipeg debut in the city's largest regional mall -- the Polo Park shopping centre.

Michael Kors, a New York-based chain specializing in higher-end "chic casual" apparel and accessories for women and men, is opening its first Manitoba store today on the second level of the Portage Avenue mall.

Mall manager Deborah Green said it's the 42nd retail newcomer to the Winnipeg market Polo Park has snagged in the last five years, and the 18th in the last 24 months. Next on the list is Victoria's Secret, the high-profile U.S. women's lingerie chain that will be opening its first Manitoba store in the mall before Christmas.

"That says a lot not only about Polo Park but about our city that we can support all of these new retailers."

Green said at one time it used to be a challenge to attract big U.S. and offshore retail chains to Winnipeg. They tended to stick to the larger Canadian centres such as Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver.

"But now they love the economy here and they love the city. They see Winnipeg as a very viable market now."

She said the September 2009 arrival of the province's first Apple Store has also been a big help in attracting other big U.S. chains to Polo Park, particularly the higher-end ones that are targeting the same type of shopper -- 25- to 54-year-olds with disposable income.

"As soon as you say you have an Apple Store in your mall, they say, 'OK, where can you fit me in?' "

Michael Kors founder Michael Kors, the spokesman for the chain, was on vacation and unavailable for comment.

Green said it joins a number of other high-end mall tenants like Coach (handbags, wallets and shoes), Sephora (cosmetics), BCBGMAXAZRIA (men's and women's apparel), Harry Rosen & Hugo Boss (men's apparel and accessories), Banana Republic (apparel), Godiva Chocolates and Brown's Shoes.

Michael Kors is an internationally recognized designer of luxury apparel and accessories. His company has stores in cities throughout the world, including New York, Beverly Hills, London, Milan, Paris, Munich, Dubai, Tokyo and Hong Kong. It entered Canada about eight years ago, and has 25 stores here. It has opened four new stores within the last couple of months, with plans to open more.

The product offering in its 2,395-square-foot Polo Park "lifestyle" store includes dresses, tops, jeans, pants, skirts, shorts and outerwear for women, knit tops and shirts, sweaters, jeans, pants, shorts, jackets, underwear and outerwear for men.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 20, 2012 B5

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