Bentley rolls out new store design at its original location

Posted on December 13, 2021 | By Alexander Chafe | 0 Comments

Starting to plan for your next trip? Atlantic Canadians in the market for a new piece of luggage, bag or travel accessory can likely find what they’re looking for at Bentley. But, did you know about this Montreal-based company’s Atlantic Canadian roots? What started as a single store in St. John’s, N.L. has grown to over 160 stores Canada-wide after 34 years.


Original Bentley store at the Avalon Mall in St. John’s, Newfoundland with initial Bentley branding (Photo credit: Avalon Mall)


Atlantic Beginnings

In 1987, Bentley Group launched their first retail location at the Avalon Mall in St. John’s, N.L. Bentley brought something new to the market with their quality leather goods and as the first specialty store to offer luggage and travel-related products. Rather than visiting a large department store, customers could find affordable brand name bags, luggage and travel accessories at Bentley. It quickly became the place to shop for travel bugs on the move.



Products from Bentley’s partnership with French-Canadian singer Céline Dion (Photo credit: Fashion Network)


Company Growth

One year after launching their first store, Bentley added eight more and continued to grow. By 1990, Bentley had 54 stores across Canada, which expanded to 100 in 1993 and 200 in 1999. Fueling their growth, Bentley created affiliated stores such as Voyageur in 1997 and Xcetera in 2004, and made several acquisitions including Aldo’s Access stores and EVEX, a specialist luggage repair shop and boutique.

Bentley stores carry an assortment of brands, including in-house labels like Tracker and Blackbook, plus many popular brand names. In 2017, Bentley partnered with Céline Dion on a collection of fashion-forward women’s bags, wallets and luggage that featured her signature.


Bentley’s Xcetera stores closed during the 2009 company restructure (Photo credit: Montreal Gazette)


Company Restructuring

Bentley Group announced plans to restructure and close 120 underperforming stores of their 550 locations Canada-wide in 2009. Among the struggling stores was their Xcetra brand that sold women’s jewelry and fashion accessories. Ten years later in 2019, the company closed another 88 stores, citing changes in consumer buying habits and the growth of ecommerce as negatively affecting profitability.

The pandemic also created a challenge for the bag and travel accessory brand, since it meant less people were traveling and shopping in-store. But, after some store closures and inventory changes, Bentley is back on its feet. Today, the brand operates 163 stores across Canada. In a recent press release, CEO Walter Lamothe commented: “Over the years, we’ve listened and evolved with our customers. Right now, they’re excited to start traveling again and shop our collection of the best travel items to make their journey a success.”


Bentley’s new store design unveiled at their first-ever location in St. John’s, N.L on November 18, 2021 (Photo credit: Bentley)


New Store Design

Recent changes for Bentley include launching a new store design and a line of eco-conscious vegan bags. Their original location in St. John’s unveiled the refreshed design in November, which will roll out to stores across Canada. The simplistic design showcases less inventory at once, so customers can easily see product offerings. Lamothe traveled to St. John’s for the occasion and commented: “Our customers appreciate a downsized, well-curated collection of products that are stylish, functional and offer longevity of use, the days of big assortments are over.”

If you’re starting to get back on the move, Bentley has your back.

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