By Craig Patterson
Japanese athletic fashion and footwear brand ASICS will open its Canadian flagship this spring on Toronto’s popular Queen Street West. This follows the opening of a large Manhattan location in December of 2017, as ASICS rolls out flagships globally.
The Toronto store will be located at 364 Queen Street West between locations for MAC Cosmetics and nobis, in a retail space most recently occupied by fashion retailer GUESS, which has been closing some of its Canadian stores. According to marketing materials from brokerage CBRE (PDF), the 364 Queen Street West retail space features two retail levels — a 2,653 square foot ground floor as well as a second level of the same size, providing about 5,300 square feet of retail space.
ASICS joins a clustering of athletic-focused brands along Toronto’s Queen Street West retail strip. Nearby retailers include the likes of Adidas, RYU Apparel, Icebreaker Merino Wool, Lululemon and Reigning Champ, with MEC opening a large location on the street later this year.
ASICS is a Japanese multinational corporation which produces footwear and sports equipment designed for a wide range of sports. The name is an acronym for the Latin phrase anima sana in corpore sano which translates as “a healthy soul in a healthy body”. Its running shoes have been ranked among the top performance footwear in the market.
The company was founded by Kihachiro Onitsuka in 1949 in Kobe. ASICS rose to international prominence over the decades for its unique and innovative designs. A vintage range of ASICS shoes are produced and sold under the Onitsuka Tiger label.
ASICS unveiled its U.S. flagship in December of 2017 at 579 Fifth Avenue (just south of the Rockefeller Center and Saks Fifth Avenue), in a large two-level retail space that houses two brands in the ASICS family – ASICS and ASICSTIGER. The store was described in a press release as being “designed to represent its storied heritage and its mantra and trademark, SOUND MIND, SOUND BODY as well as unveil a new platform for the brand to reach a wider variety of consumers”.
In the same press release, ASICS describes ASICSTIGER as “a lifestyle brand that takes a street-inspired approach to classic footwear and apparel silhouettes. Art, music, fashion and Japanese culture influence the ASICSTIGER vision, often celebrated through exclusive collaborations with renowned designers and artists all over the world.”
The Manhattan store is described as having “natural, warm finishes, features and materials,” resulting in “an environment that immerses customers in a world where both the mind and body are stimulated. This new global retail concept, combining performance and lifestyle product, represents the pinnacle of the new global concept designed by Brinkworth and is reflected across point of sale areas globally”.
It remains to be seen what’s in store for the Toronto flagship when it opens, and we’ll be reporting on the brand’s expansion with some new details on the company in the coming months.
Craig Patterson is the founder and Editor-in-Chief Retail Insider. He’s also a retail and real estate consultant, retail tour guide and public speaker. Follow him on Twitter @RetailInsider, LinkedIn at Craig Patterson, or email him at: [email protected].