TORONTO — Holt Renfrew is closing down its off-price retail chain hr2 in the coming months, according to a report.

Mario Grauso, the luxury retailer’s president and former head of Loblaw-owned Joe Fresh, confirmed the closures in an interview with Women’s Wear Daily, saying the decision was made in order to focus on Holts’ core business of luxury goods.

Holt Renfrew debuted the hr2 concept stores in 2013, with a location in in suburban Toronto and in Montreal. It preceded the openings of industry rivals Saks Off 5th and Nordstrom Rack in Canada, with all three offering luxury labels at 20 to 60 per cent off the prices of full-line luxury stores.


Holts originally planned to have 10 hr2 stores open by 2015, but the concept seemed to stall as the luxury chain focused on extensive refurbishments at its core luxury emporiums.

Meanwhile, Saks Off 5th and Nordstrom Rack have been a huge growth engine in the past for parent companies HBC and Nordstrom, but overall growth in the segment has slowed recently. Owned by Canada’s Weston family, whose holdings include Loblaw and Selfridges, Holt Renfrew operates seven luxury stores in Toronto, Mississauga, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.

Financial Post