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Adidas to take space at former Victoria's Secret store in downtown Vancouver

German sportswear giant said to be opening a "concept" store at the corner of Burrard and Robson streets
Shelving units and furniture clutter the former Victoria's Secret location on Wednesday, days after the American lingerie seller quietly closed its store at the corner of Robson and Burrard streets permanently | Chung Chow

German sportswear giant Adidas AG (ETR:ADS) has signed a lease to occupy 35,000 square feet of space at the corner of Robson and Burrard streets in a building that formerly housed a Victoria's Secret store, BIV has learned from two sources.

BIV on Wednesday (Jan. 17) reported that a credible source told the publication that a a large global retailer would take Victoria's Secret's place. That source late afternoon today confirmed to BIV that the tenant is Adidas.

After BIV's story appeared, CTV reported on its Jan. 17, 6 p.m. newscast that “sources” had told it that Adidas would be the tenant at the site that is sometimes called 969 Robson Street and other times called 750 Burrard Street.

Additional confirmation came late this afternoon, when Retail Insider reported that Adidas would open a "massive concept store" at the site

Retail Insider's story said Mario Negris and Martin Moriarty of Marcus & Millichap negotiated Adidas' lease. BIV contacted Moriarty for additional confirmation that Adidas is indeed the future tenant at the site and he confirmed the news.

Landlord Morguard's vice-president of asset management, Darin Comrie earlier today confirmed to BIV that the tenant would be a global retailer. He would not confirm the tenant's name.

"We have been asked to keep their identity anonymous until such time as they make a major announcement on their arrival," Comrie said. "We look forward to continued excitement on the corner of Robson and Burrard."

The idea that Adidas would open a "concept store" in the former Victoria's Secret locaton may have been the case months ago, when the lease was signed. A recent court decision may have changed the thinking.

Adidas opened a Terrex-branded store at 2235 West 4th Avenue on Christmas Eve, 2022, and it considered that store a concept store. The outlet was the company's second permanent Terrex store, after one in Germany. 

That 2022 move followed competitor Arc'Teryx opening a 4,504-square-foot store six doors east of what would become the Terrex store, at 2201 West 4th Avenue – a store that includes a large service centre where customers can bring Arc'Teryx products to be repaired. Arc'Teryx then closed a smaller location at 2033 West 4th Avenue.

BIV in January 2023 asked Adidas Canada's vice-president of retail, Lesley Hawkins, whether the company feared a lawsuit from Arc'Teryx because the two brands' names sound so similar. 

She said she did not fear any court action.

"The Terrex brand has been around since the '80s," Hawkins said. "I understand that there is some similarity in the names, but Terrex has existed for a long time."

Arc'Teryx's parent company, Amer Sports, one month later, sued Adidas Canada Ltd. for trademark infringement related to its Terrex-branded retail stores

A BC Supreme Court judge earlier this month issued a temporary injunction forbidding Adidas Canada from using the name Terrex at its Kitsilano store, until a trademark infringement case goes to trial.

While that court order only applies to the company's Kitsilano store, it would be a daring move for Adidas to plan to open a large Terrex branded store at the corner of Burrard and Robson streets given that a 3,200-square-foot Arc'Teryx store has been at 813 Burrard Street, nearly kitty corner to the proposed new Adidas store, since 2017.

It is unclear when Adidas will open its new store. 

When Victoria's Secret in 2012 started to occupy what was the company's second-largest store in North America, the structure was renovated.

The exterior of the building stayed largely the same, but the inside changed dramatically.

A mezzanine level was replaced with higher ceilings. Another change related to the part of the building that houses CTV and the Globe and Mail.

The entryway lobby to the CTV offices became part of the 15,000-square-foot main level for Victoria's Secret. A 20,000-square-foot floor below stayed intact.

The high ceilings in the lobby entryway to CTV were reduced and the third and fourth floors were extended. CTV at the time consolidated on the fourth and fifth floors while the Globe and Mail at the time leased half of the third floor.

The 1956-built designated heritage building has had past incarnations that include housing the Vancouver Public Library, and then a succession of recorded-music stores: Virgin and HMV. 

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