Rapidly expanding Montreal-based retailer David’s Tea plans to almost double its current Canadian store count over the next several years. We spoke with the company's President and CEO for details.
Founded in Montreal in 2008 by David and Herschel Segal, David's Tea retails over 150 types of tea, including exclusive blends, limited edition seasonal collections and traditional straight teas, as well as the largest collection of organic teas and infusions in North America. It also offers lattes, iced teas and sparkling iced teas, as well as non-consumable items such as teapots, cups, kettles, infusers and lids. Following the company's initial public offering, common stock began trading on The NASDAQ Global Market on June 5, 2015. Herschel Segal is also the founder of fashion retailer Le Chateau which proved strategic, given that David's Tea opened its first physical store in the Le Chateau retail space on Toronto's trendy Queen Street West.
We spoke with company President and CEO Sylvain Toutant, who explained how David's Tea plans to continue expanding into new Canadian communities, as well as within existing markets. The retailer currently has 138 stores and over the next few years, that number could grow to over 250 Canadian locations. This year alone, David's Tea opened almost 30 stores and according to Mr. Toutant, the company will continue expanding outside of large metropolitan areas into smaller Canadian cities. He explained how David's Tea is particularly seeing strong sales in places like Rimouski, Quebec and Cornerbrook, Newfoundland, prompting it to consider other secondary markets.
David's Tea also operates locations in the United States. It entered the U.S. in 2011 and now operates 28 stores in seven markets. Mr. Toutant says that the company is looking to eventually operate about 320 U.S. locations as it looks to reach about 550 North American stores.
Mr. Toutant explained the importance of omnichannel to David's Tea, which has been a component of the company from the time it opened its first bricks-and-mortar location. The retailer's website went live before its first store opened in Toronto in 2008, and customers continue to use its website to order products and otherwise see what's in store.
We asked Mr. Toutant about David's Tea's iconic teal-blue branding and eye-catching logo. He explained that David's Tea had strong branding from the beginning, which helped it grow quickly into a household name. Having exceptional products is equally important, and David's Tea endeavours to carry high-quality product, 80% of which are consumable.
Speaking to the topic of retail space, Mr. Toutant explained how David's Tea stores are ideally in the 800 to 850 square foot range within shopping centres, while streetfront locations are generally about 1,000 square feet, to accommodate amenities such as restrooms. David's Tea will also consider opening stores in lifestyle centres, outlet centres, and airports. Brokerage Oberfeld Snowcap represents David's Tea's in Canada.