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Quebec fashion retailer Simons sets up shop in GTA

Popular Quebec clothing store Simons is officially open for business at Square One, making its debut in an already crowded market. The two-storey, 110,000-square-foot Mississauga store is Simons's first location in Ontario.

Mississauga store is the first location in Ontario for Simons

Quebec fashion retailer Simons open its first store in Ontario at Mississauga's Square One mall 0:25

Popular Quebec clothing store Simons is officially open for business at Square One, making its debut in an already crowded market. 

The two-storey, 110,000-square-foot Mississauga store is Simons's first location in Ontario. 

Simons started out as a small shop selling dry goods in 1840 and gradually grew into one of Quebec's most successful fashion retailers.  

The brand has been branching out across the country in recent years, opening stores in West Vancouver, Edmonton, Gatineau and Montreal. 

Quebec fashion retailer Simons opens its first Ontario location at Mississauga's Square One mall. (Martin Trainor/CBC News)

"It's never been about being big for us," said CEO Peter Simons. "It's about building important stores that we feel are architecturally important and interesting to go to." 

Simons's GTA debut comes at a time when the fashion-retail market is teeming with competitors, with several high-end American retailers, such as Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, setting up shop in the area. The Quebec retailer hopes its Canadian roots will help set it apart.

"It's a risky business to be in if you don't know what you're doing," said John Williams, senior retail advisor and partner of J.C. Williams Group. "This is different from Saks. By the way, I think it's far superior to Saks, so it's showing Canadians what Canadians can really do." 

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie attended the store opening. The Square One location will create more than 200 local jobs.

"Simons shares the same values as the people of Mississauga do, just hardworking people," Crombie said. "They believe in buying local and buying Canadian." 

There are already plans underway to open at least two more locations in the GTA. Simons says it's been eyeing Yorkdale mall as one of its potential future store locations.

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