HBC Meeting: Baker Addresses the Real Estate Strategy

What’s Hudson’s Bay Co.’s plan for maximizing its real estate?
In response to concerns voiced by two shareholders during HBC’s annual meeting in Toronto on Tuesday, Richard Baker, governor and executive chairman, said the “general focus” is finding different ways to convert space into new uses, like what’s being done on two levels of the Hudson’s Bay flagship on Queen Street in Toronto.
“We have a tremendous portfolio around the world with tremendous real estate,” Baker said at the meeting. “In Toronto, as well as other major cities, we are working on deals with a variety of users, whether it’s Topshop, health clubs or in Toronto with WeWork.”
“If you go up to the seventh and eighth floors [of the Toronto flagship] they’re vacated,” Baker said. “We pushed the goods on those floors down in the building, so we will lose no sales and free up 100,000 square feet of prime space in the middle of Toronto.” (Lingerie, kids’ wear and home items were relocated.)
Baker’s comments came during the Q&A session of the meeting, when two shareholders raised questions about HBC’s real estate strategy, including one who contended that HBC wasn’t acting fast enough to capitalize on its real estate and should build

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